Connecticut Auditor’s Report Questions New UM System President’s Handling of Former Employee’s Pay
A report on the University of Connecticut’s 2014 and 2015 fiscal years from the Connecticut state auditor’s office suggests that an employment agreement signed by the newly announced University of Missouri System President Mun Choi may have led to “excessive compensation” for at least one employee.
In addition to voicing concerns over separation payments and vacation time handling, the report, which was released less than two months ago, says that after former University of Connecticut Vice Provost of Libraries Brinley Franklin was asked to step down from his position in preparation for retirement, he continued to receive his old salary of $202,829 per year.
Connecticut State Auditor John Geragosian, who worked with others to compile the report, told KBIA the group’s main concern was that Franklin’s pay might not be commensurate with the volume of work he was supposed to perform.
“We couldn’t identify a tangible work product,” Geragosian said. “If it was participating in a search for a successor, he was not on the search committee. If it was creating some sort of new plan, they couldn’t produce it for us, and that was the issue.”
As evidence, the auditor’s office cites a 2012 employment agreement penned by Choi, which said Franklin’s new position would consist of “advisory and consultative duties” which would be “primarily conducted off-site.”
Franklin, who retired in July of 2014, has not responded to requests for comment. However, a representative for the University of Connecticut disputed the report’s claims, saying Franklin worked on multiple projects, and his expertise was a key resource for the libraries during his transition out of office.
The report’s concerns over Franklin’s pay come in a time of heightened attention to human resources and financial issues at the University of Connecticut. Employment costs have continued to increase at the school, while controversial private budgeting became a key issue for Connecticut legislators in 2015. Earlier this year, after state auditors expressed concern that non-disparagement clauses might have a chilling effect on potential university whistleblowers, Connecticut’s legislators passed a bill barring them from the school’s employee separation agreements. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy vetoed the bill.
Issues of separation pay and administrator compensation continue to be contentious across the country, including at the University of Missouri. In January 2015, MU offered 28 high-level administrators early retirement buyouts of up to $200,000. Then, last April, former MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, who stepped down from his position in November 2015, garnered criticism for continuing to receive a $459,000 salary in the 2016 fiscal year.