Education

Heads of University of Northern Iowa, Boad of Regents see compensation bump

University of Iowa President Harreld sees no pay change

Northern Iowa presidential candidate Mark Nook speaks to students, professors  and staff at the Presentation and Open Forum in Maucker Union Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Northern Iowa presidential candidate Mark Nook speaks to students, professors and staff at the Presentation and Open Forum in Maucker Union Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

CEDAR FALLS — University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook and Board of Regents Executive Director Mark Braun likely could see compensation bumps in the next two years following a performance review this week with their regent bosses.

Nook — hired in 2016 to succeed Bill Ruud — landed a two-year deferred compensation plan beginning July 1, with an initial contribution of $50,000 and annual contributions of $75,000.

He could net a $200,000 payout in 2020 under the agreement, which marks the first deferred compensation plan Nook has received since his hire, when the board set his base pay at $357,110.

The Board of Regents on Thursday similarly approved a two-year deferred compensation plan for Braun, beginning July 1 with annual contributions of $75,000. That deal could net Braun a $150,000 payout in 2020 — adding to his somewhat complicated compensation matrix aimed at skirting a state-imposed salary cap of $154,300 for the job.

Braun, who was earning a base salary of $240,000 as the board’s chief operating officer before his appointment to executive director in October, received a $185,000 incentive upon hire to be paid out over the first 18 months of his three-year contract.

That brought him to $195,364 in eight months through the end of the current budget year June 30 and to $246,800 for the full 2019 budget year. In addition to the new deferred compensation package, Braun on Thursday received a performance incentive of $35,000 to be paid out next summer.

The increases come as the Board of Regents and its public universities struggle to absorb decreases in state appropriations while juggling the need to retain top people — from faculty to staff to administrators.

The universities have resorted to tuition increases, pay freezes, delayed deferred maintenance and — at the University of Iowa — elimination of some scholarship programs and a five-month moratorium on new campus construction.

When Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen was hired in October, she received a somewhat unique five-year contract — at least for this Board of Regents — in that it includes built-in raises. Her base pay of $525,000 in the first year will increase to $550,000 in the second year and $590,000 in the third year — bringing her on par with UI President Bruce Harreld.

Wintersteen received a deferred compensation package upon hire worth $475,000, which also was unique in that it pays out after three years, before the end of her contract.

UI President Harreld hasn’t received any pay raises since his hire in September 2015 at an annual salary of $590,000, with a deferred compensation package worth $1 million to be paid out in 2020. After past performance evaluations, board leadership disclosed Harreld had requested no raise.

Board spokesman Josh Lehman told The Gazette on Thursday he doesn’t know details about Harreld’s conversations with the board during this week’s evaluations.

But board President Pro Tem Patty Cownie praised all three university presidents during Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting.  

“We have three wonderful presidents who we think are doing an excellent job,” Cownie said. “They are able to exchange ideas with each other. They are able to spend time together and make it productive for the universities and for their relationships, and we are very pleased and proud of them for being able to be such good companions and represent their universities as well as they do.”

Board evaluations of its presidents’ performance are done in private, at the requests of the presidents. Regents also evaluate Steve Gettel, superintendent of the state’s special schools.

He saw his pay increase to $189,000 last summer and received another 2-percent salary increase Thursday. He received a $15,000 incentive payout for 2016, a $15,500 payout in 2017, and a $15,000 performance incentive for 2018 on Thursday.

The board established a $20,000 performance incentive for him to be paid out following next year’s evaluation.  l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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