Faculty at the two largest campuses in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System have passed resolutions asking former President Michael McCall to return more than $300,000 he will receive as "emeritus" system president.
The faculty councils at Bluegrass Community and Technical College and at Jefferson Community and Technical College voted to approve the resolutions, which largely contain the same language asking McCall to forego his retirement income.
McCall stepped down in January and has been replaced by the system's number two official, Chancellor Jay Box.
Several years ago, the KCTCS Board of Regents amended McCall's contract to include a salary of $324,000 for one year after he retired in return for certain duties as "president emeritus." KCTCS officials recently announced that McCall's duties include developing the McCall Leadership Academy for system employees.
"Granting Dr. McCall a $324,000 sinecure at a time when the KCTCS system is seeing significant enrollment decreases and budget cuts is fiscally irresponsible," the JCTC resolution says. "Moreover, it is demoralizing for the faculty and staff, who in the last decade have gotten, in essence, salary decreases, since small, infrequent raises have not come close to covering increases in the cost of living. Further, it is an unwarranted drain on resources when many KCTCS colleges have had to cut budgets, programs and personnel in recent years."
At BCTC, faculty council president Val Zeps said he thought the council voted for the resolution because the whole system was under extreme financial pressure.
"It just seems to be a bit insulting to all the people who are working so hard to basically glean this money off the system when it doesn't seem the amount of effort needed for the task given warrants that giveaway," he said.
Since his retirement on Jan. 16, McCall has moved to South Carolina. He did not respond to email requests for comment.
P.G. Peeples, Board of Regents chairman, said the issue was between the faculty and McCall, so he declined to comment further.
In his last year as president, McCall made about $328,325 a year in base pay, plus numerous bonuses, and he received a $90,000-a-year housing allowance and $43,000 a year for a car. At times he was the highest-paid community college system president in the country.
McCall is credited with forging a new community and technical system starting in 1998.
Today, KCTCS faces financial challenges amid state funding cuts. Total enrollment has fallen to 92,000 from a high of 108,000 students in 2011. The number of credentials awarded has stayed steady at about 28,000 for the past two years.
KCTCS has lost $38 million in state funding since 2008.
David Cooper, an English professor at BCTC, said the emeritus position seemed to be useless because Box has worked next to McCall for years and doesn't really need his leadership help.
"We're not doing well financially, and it doesn't seem to make any sense to pay him for a whole year to do nothing," he said.
It's not clear what effect the resolutions might have, Cooper said, but they will let the administration and the Board of Regents know that faculty are unhappy about the agreement.
"This is a golden parachute at the taxpayer's expense," he said.
One legislator also appears to be interested in administrative pay at KCTCS.
State Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro, has filed a bill that would require KCTCS to publish a list of its 100 highest paid employees and contractors. House Bill 478 has not been considered by a committee.