UK trustees approve modest budget with $1,000 bonus for some employees

Many University of Kentucky faculty and staff would be eligible for a one-time payment of up to $1,000 under a $2.5 billion budget passed by the UK trustees Tuesday.

The $1,000 payment is for eligible faculty and staff earning less than $70,000. Those making up to $75,000 would get at least $200.

UK is also covering the full cost of increases in health-care benefits for most faculty and staff.

UK president Lee Todd had indicated before that he wanted to make a financial gesture — a sort of a mini-economic stimulus package — for faculty and staff at the bottom tiers of the UK pay scale, since most UK employees are not getting raises.

The budget adopted by trustees on Tuesday reflects two sobering realities: a 1.4 percent reduction in state support during the 2010-11 fiscal year and increased costs for utilities, employee benefits and student financial aid.

Overall, UK will have to deal with a $7 million shortfall for fiscal 2010-11.

UK says it is reducing budgets for operating expenses such as supplies and travel and eliminating vacant positions.

But who will get the $1,000 bonus?

For example, board member Ernie Yanarella, who teaches political science, is listed as making $81,250 and would not be eligible for the bonus; board member Robynn Pease, who represents staff, earns $65,000 and would be eligible for the $1,000.

Todd's base salary is listed at just over $304,000; athletic director Mitch Barnhart makes $475,000. Neither would be eligible for the bonus.

Yanarella and Pease are among those retiring from the board, as are alumnus Ann Haney, construction executive Steve Branscum and chairwoman Mira Ball, the first female chair of the UK board.

Billy Joe Miles of Owensboro, former chairman of the board, was named interim board chairman until a new chairman can be voted in at the September meeting.

Todd said after the meeting that as he approaches his 10th anniversary as UK president — he was elevated to the job in January 2001 — questions have arisen about how long he will stay. Says Todd: "I've got to make up my mind pretty soon."

UK isn't just struggling with its budget and future leadership, but with the needs of some of its offshoots; Coldstream Laboratories Inc., which was supposed to be supporting itself by now, was on Tuesday voted an additional investment of up to $6 million by the trustees to be used to fund prior-year losses and for financial support of current operations.

CLI was formed to expand and commercialize pharmaceutical manufacturing, research and development at the Coldstream Research Park; UK has long identified pharmaceutical research as a potential, and profitable, center of excellence for the school. According to the university, CLI was supposed to have a positive cash flow by the first quarter of 2010, but missed that goal.

Len Heller, vice president for the University of Kentucky's office for commercialization and economic development, said that CLI should become profitable within the next year.

In other action, the board approved the appointment of Michael S. Tick as Dean of the College of Fine Arts. Tick, chair of the department of theatre at Louisiana State University, replaces Robert Shay.

The board also approved the appointment of Robert C. Mock Jr. as vice president for student affairs.

Mock, associate vice provost for student affairs at the University of Arkansas, also serves in the Arkansas Army National Guard. He replaces Patricia Terrell.

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