It's hard to believe the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees would be so clueless as to approve a 51-percent salary increase for its outgoing president.
With tunnel vision aimed at beefing up the salary for the new job search, the board would have to ignore the train wrecks such a move would create:
■ Faculty and staff, with no raises for years, would become even more disgruntled — not the best recruiting environment.
■ The university already faces a $7 million shortfall for the current fiscal year.
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■ Tuition has increased from $3,446 in 2000-01 to $8,123 in 2009-10.
■ Raising the salary from $304,000 to $511,046 would also require, by law, an increase in the $400,000 salary for the head of the Council on Postsecondary Education.
The most reasonable salary adjustment would ensure the state's flagship university offers a higher base salary than Western Kentucky University's $325,020 and University of Louisville's $314,037. That could be accomplished with a modest increase.
This objection is not about current president Lee T. Todd Jr., who has moved the university ahead in so many areas.
Let him have his annual $50,000 bonus for good performance and his promised $461,046 retention bonus for staying until he turns 65 next year.
Crucial now is that the board show real leadership; that faculty, staff, students and taxpayers feel confident it will use its business acumen to guide the university — not just a president — through tough economic times.