UM President Kennedy in line for bonus in 2012

Posted April 01, 2009, at 8:38 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Executive bonuses have been big news lately, and although it’s not on the level of millions of dollars for insurance executives, University of Maine President Robert Kennedy is eligible for a lump sum bonus payment in 2012.

Kennedy’s contract has an addendum which went into effect Jan. 1, 2007, which provides for a $174,057 bonus should he be in his position five years later and is subject to review by the UMaine System chancellor.

Kennedy, who made $230,405 in 2007-08, declined to comment when asked during a budget workshop Monday morning if he would consider giving back his bonus to save jobs. It is expected that UMaine will have to eliminate up to 100 positions in the upcoming fiscal year in order to close an $8.8 million shortfall.

Kennedy’s immediate response Monday was that to address the issue during the workshop would be inappropriate. He also declined to answer the question Wednesday in a brief statement.

“I understand the interest in my compensation as we deal with the university’s difficult budget issues,” he said in a statement provided by UMaine spokesman Joe Carr. “This situation calls for personal sacrifice by all of us, and I certainly plan to continue to make concessions and to do my part. While compensation is a matter of public record, I feel that my personal decisions are another matter, and I don’t plan to discuss them publicly.”

The bonus money will come from the private University of Maine Foundation and not taxpayer or tuition funds, Carr said.

Termed in the contract addendum as deferred compensation, the bonus is “designed to encourage President Kennedy to stay at the University of Maine and to reward accomplishment of performance goals.” The chancellor will evaluate Kennedy’s accomplishments at the time the bonus is due.

Kennedy will receive no payments under the arrangement until 2012 unless he leaves the position earlier due to termination without cause, death or disability. Should he vacate the position due to those reasons, prorated amounts of the compensation will be made, according to the addendum.The University of Maine Foundation has the discretion to determine if it will not fund the compensation due to market, economic or financial conditions, according to the addendum. The UMaine System could fund the salary at its discretion, but is under no obligation to do so. If neither the foundation nor the system funds the compensation, the president waives all right to any payment.

Kennedy’s total compensation last year, including salary, state-provided car and house, club dues and $20,000 in retirement pay, was the second-lowest of all the presidents of public flagship state universities in the nation, according to a survey in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Only University of Montana at Missoula president George M. Dennison made less ($212,710) than Kennedy in 2007-08.

Kennedy, who took over as UM president in 2005, last had a salary increase in July 2008. His next increase is due at the earliest in July 2010.

By June 30, 2009, the president will have worked five days without pay as part of a systemwide budget-trimming effort. System spokesman John Diamond said recently 37 employees throughout the system, including the seven campus presidents, had worked some days without pay.

Carr said Kennedy is the first active president to be inducted into the Stillwater Society, which recognizes donors who have given at least $25,000 to the university. Kennedy and his wife, UMaine biochemistry professor Mary Rumpho Kennedy, were honored in 2007.

Kennedy has overseen private fundraising of more than $100 million since he took over as president, Carr added.

jbloch@bangordailynews.net

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