Payroll

By Kimberly Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Never divulge how much you make. It's one of those etiquette rules that shouldn't be broken.

When talking to a future employer or a co-worker acknowledging a salary can lead to missed opportunities and hurt feelings.

But at a land grant institution such as the University of Arizona, salaries are public record. Looking at the budget approved in March for the current fiscal year speaks volumes about the university.

From one of the highest paid full-time employees, Director of Athletics Jim Livengood, who earns $262,650, to $14,648 earned by many custodians, the salaries disclose interesting divergences in wages.

For instance, Journalism Department Head Jim Patten's yearly salary of a little more than $64,000 is drastically lower than Accounting Department Head Dan Dhaliwal's, who at $145,000 a year, is one of the highest paid department heads at the university.

Salaries are set by the college of University Personnel Association (CUPA) who look at market salaries across the country, says assistant to the president Sharon Kha.

"It is a peer-based system," she says. "So the head of neural surgery probably has a different market salary than the head of the poetry department."

Another variable considered when deciding wages, Kha says, is a person's education.

"Journalism is one of the only departments where you can teach with a masters degree," she says. "If you had to invest more time and money in your education to get a position you demand more money."

But Joel Valdez, senior vice president for business affairs, says using market value to determine salaries may not be the best way, especially for "classified staff" the university's non-appointed personnel.

"We here at the UA cannot seem to get out of the habit of using average salaries to make the pay plan," Valdez says. "What I don't understand is we go from a grade 10 salary, for classified staff, to a grade 41. What happened in between? All I'm saying is that it is dumb to establish pay plans in that way."

Valdez says a similar comparison of averages is made for professional positions.

"How they set compensation for academic professionals is to compare 20 other universities and see what they pay for the same position," Valdez says. "If a person makes $90,000 at Rutgers University, why should they make that much here? We're not hiring from that area; we're hiring from Arizona, and the living expenses and conditions are totally different here."

The question, Valdez says: is how can the UA compete as a Research One university if it isn't willing to pay comparable salaries?

Valdez stressed the importance of understanding that not all salary money is state-funded. He used as an example Jack Copeland, who as the associate director of the university heart center and professor of surgery earns $554,710 a year, none of which comes from state funds.

Although he sees some problems in the university pay plan, Valdez says the UA is living within its means.

"I think from my own personal opinion that we run pretty lean," Valdez says. "We're definitely not fat and sassy."

The total 1995-1996 fiscal budget is almost $800 million. This figure includes all of the approximate $250 million gained through grants, $40 million worth of gifts and $200 million in research money.

The state granted the university an estimated expenditure authority of $288,354,100. This means Gov. J. Fife Symington wrote a check for $225 million and gave the UA credit for the rest which will be collected from other sources.

These sources include more than $58 million in student tuition and miscellaneous fees, approximately $3 million in federal funding, and $1 million dollars in other revenues.

The UA Athletic Department has an estimated budget of $18.9 million dollars this fiscal year . (This figure may fluctuate based mainly on season ticket sales.)

More than $900,000 of this budget goes to paying ten football coaches, including Head Coach Dick Tomey's $341,000.

With its 150 full-time employees, the athletic department generated more than $21 million last year through ticket sales, television contracts, corporate sponsor, donations and the NCAA.

Sue Cyran, assistant athletic director for financial services, says that although the department's budget is large, it pays for itself through auxiliary funds.

The department receives $1.4 million from the state which means it is 94 percent self-funded.

"The public just doesn't realize how big this department is or what it takes to run such a specialized department," Cyran says. "It definitely does pay for itself."

Margie Barber, assistant controller for financial services-accounting, says auxiliary funds are supposed to be used for the whole student body.

"Auxiliary funds for all universities are a type of accounting entity," Barber says. "It simply means that it generates revenue. The point is that it is supposed to recover 100 percent of its cost."

Barber adds that a small part of the athletic department actually funds the rest of it.

"About 80 percent of what the athletic department does is non revenue-producing," Barber says. "Many people believe its whole function is to have a football team, but in reality it is to provide for the university students with athletic programs for their use."

The Athletic Department also houses one of the highest paid UA employees, basketball Coach Lute Olson.

At $522,723 a year, Olson earns more than three times as much as UA President Manuel Pacheco, whose salary is $159,694.

Director of Athletics Jim Livengood was quick to point out that the money Olson makes through commercials and endorsements goes directly into the athletic department.

"He makes much more for the university than he gets paid," Livengood says. "We all tend to be thought of in terms of market value. When Lute's salary went to that level it was because the university thought it was that important to keep him here because of what other people were willing to pay him. It is absolutely all about market value."

Even Livengood, who says he does not make any more money that his predecessor Cedric Dempsey, does not understand why some athletic positions pay more than academic ones.

"It's a very hard question to answer because when it gets down to it it's hard to rationalize why some people make more than others," Livengood says. "It's hard to understand what drives it, but the salaries here are not unusual."

One criticism of any large institution is that there are too many people in administrative positions earning too much. Prompted by concerns from the Arizona Legislature, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee was given the task last year of coming up with exact figures on administrative costs operational support for the institution, including expenditures for general administrative services, executive direction and planning, legal and fiscal operations, public relations and student services.

In the same study, it was found that the UA's administrative costs fiscal in fiscal year 1991 were about 10 percent higher than the average of 16 peer institutions.

John Wilson, director of Decision and Planning Support, says it is hard to make a comparable study between UA's peer universities because they differ in size and research programs.

"You can take an average of anything," Wilson says. "If you take an average weight of a room full of people and it comes out to be 130 pounds it does not necessarily mean someone who weighs 160 pounds is overweight."

The Office of Institutional Research reports that 312 university employees fall under CUPA's guidelines as executive, administrative and managerial.

Kha says administrative numbers are frequently misunderstood because every study defines administrators differently.

A position statement from the president's office says the ratio of administrators to total employees has decreased from one administrator for every 29 employees in 1983 to one for every 35 employees in 1993. And since 1991 senior level administrators have been reduced from 23 to 20, and university-level administrators have dropped form 46 to 38.

Carol Bernstein, an associate professor for microbiology and president of the Arizona chapter of the American Association for University Professors, conducted a study which reported that administrative positions at the university have increased 58 percent from 1979 to 1994 while faculty only increased by 4 percent. Bernstein based her findings on the number of administrators listed as "Administrative Officers" in the official UA catalog.

According to a report by the research office for CUPA administrative salaries were increased by 3 percent as of July 1, 1994 and again by 2 percent in April of 1995. The increase, however, was not retroactive. Valdez says the next raise people will be eligible for is in January 1996.

For its report the CUPA requested figures for 87 administrative salaries. Of those 21 reported a salary of more than $100,000.

The same position statement on administrative salary increases says that although the UA is among the top 15 percent of all public universities, 11 of the 19 executive level administrators were compensated in the bottom 25 percent of peer institutions during 1993-1994.

It also found that ten of 13 UA deans were farther below the 50th percentile than their own faculty.

Henry Koffler, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and former UA president, has received criticism in the past that his salary, $104,723, is related solely to his former position as an administrator. Kha defended Koffler's salary and says he is involved in other activities at the UA that warrant this amount.

"Dr. Koffler's salary does not take into account his former presidency," Kha says. "He has many beneficial projects that he is heading. He's also a tenured faculty member and with his years of service here and the fact that he is tenured, he is paid market value for what he does."

Frances Walker, also a professor of biochemistry, earns $79,026 a year.

Bernstein questions the fairness of Koffler's salary and says she believes his wage has a lot to do with his status as president emeritus.

"Koffler's research record is very weak," Bernstein says. "He has had very few citations to his work and has not had anything published since 1958. He's simply not a very distinguished professor in biochemistry."

Administrators' salaries may be a dominant concern with the budget but faculty's salaries run a close second.

A 1993 study by Bernstein, published in the Advocate newspaper, showed that faculty compensation (salary and benefits) had fallen 14.7 percent below the averages for their peer groups of universities.

"Market value for a professor can be looked at by what peer institutions pay," Bernstein says. "(UA professors) are being paid 15 percent below market value. These are the faculty that are working the front lines and they are the ones responsible for the high quality of education at the UA. How can you justify raising administrative salaries and not the faculty's?"

This article originally appeared in the Arizona Summer Wildcat Aug. 9, 1995.

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