in Houston, Texas
26 UT System administrators, campus presidents may be in line for corporate-style incentive pay
Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012, 03:14PM CST
By Curt Olson
clocktower

One year after approving a strategy to improve accountability and productivity in the University of Texas System, regents could authorize a corporate-style incentive pay plan for 26 UT System administrators and campus presidents.

After all, if higher education must operate like a business, pay them accordingly, right?

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa recommends that regents approve an incentive pay plan for the 15 campus presidents and 11 UT System administrators, giving them higher pay based on surpassing goals tied to saving money, research dollars, fundraising and graduation rates, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The plan is designed to gradually increase the percentage of their pay derived from performance goals. There’s no cap on that percentage.

While the UT System wouldn’t be the first university system in the nation to create such a pay plan, the proposal comes after reports this spring that Texas already has some of the highest-paid higher education leaders in the nation.

For the salary and total compensation of all higher ed administrators in Texas, read this report from the Legislative Budget Board.

Critics of higher education have targeted administrative bloat, the lack of productivity of tenured faculty, the record debt of about $1 trillion for college graduates nationally, and poor results in college student learning.

Would the bonus system do anything to address those criticisms? By one testing measure, UT Austin students do no better than their peers at other institutions by demonstrating no marked improvement between freshman and senior years, the Washington Post reported. Perhaps the 15 UT System campus presidents should have some measure of accountability for these results, as well as when learning outcomes improve.

Americans grew accustomed to well-paid corporate executives when times were good. If they make the company profitable, give them incentive pay.

However, Americans have witnessed some real head scratchers involving performance pay when companies received bailouts. One of the more famous ones in recent years was the controversy over bonuses paid to American International Group executives after the company crashed and received a taxpayer bailout.

So it might be worthwhile to put safeguards in this UT executive performance-pay plan if events don’t go as planned.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitterand Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feed in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, NewsVine and tumblr.

Photo of UT's Main Building by flickr user ThisIsNotApril, used via a Creative Commons license.

Houston ISD considers cash rewards to employees who give early warning that they're quitting
Thursday, Feb 03, 2011, 02:22PM CST
By Lynn Walsh
Capitol

Employees who notify the Houston school district early of their intent to leave their jobs may see cash rewards of up to $2,500 under a new proposal.

The proposal, according to the Houston Independent School District, would allow the district to identify vacant positions and make staffing changes earlier, which would help the school system plan next year’s budget.

HISD trustees were presented Thursday with the plan, which includes cash incentives based on how many years an employees has worked with the district -- the more years of service, the higher the incentive.

The suggested cut-off date for notifying the district would be March 1, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. Grier also suggested that the proposed program have a spending cap of $2.5 million.

HISD Trustee Harvin Moore said he did not think there should be a cap put on the program and asked Grier why the district would set one.

“That is fine with me,” Grier said. “I was just trying to be frugal.”

HISD’s human resources chief Ann Best said the intent is not to force employees out. “We are not trying to change behavior,” Best said. “We are just looking for early notification if they are leaving.”

Under the proposal, employees with less than four years of service at HISD would receive $500. Those with 5-10 years would receive $1,000; 11-15 years, $1,500; 16-20 years, $2,000; and those who have been with the district for 21-plus years would receive $2,500.

Details like the possibility of a spending cap and the notification cut-off date were not finalized Thursday, but would be worked out before the trustees took a final vote on the plan.

The HISD administration also said it is proposing that the time period when teachers are allowed to transfer to other positions in the district be moved earlier in the year to help the district identify vacancies and help with staffing changes earlier in the budget process. The proposed early transfer period would be moved to March 28-April 23.
 
Do you think HISD employees should get an incentive for notifying the district early of their plans to leave their jobs? Texas Watchdog wants to hear what you think. Contact Lynn Walsh, Lynn@TexasWatchdog.org, 713-228-2850 or join in on the conversation on Twitter @Lwalsh or @TexasWatchdog.

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Like this story? Then steal it. This report by Texas Watchdog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. That means bloggers, citizen-journalists, and journalists may republish the story on their sites with attribution and a link to Texas Watchdog. If you do re-use the story, we'd love to hear about it. E-mail news@texaswatchdog.org.

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