October 10, 2012
The Honorable Beth Bye, Co-Chair
The Honorable Roberta Willis, Co-Chair
Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Sen. Bye and Rep. Willis,
We write to you out of concern for the students and families who comprise our state’s higher education community. As co-chairs of the Higher Education Committee you are keenly aware of the controversial awarding of an estimated $300,000 in administrative pay raises approved by Board of Regents President, Dr. Robert A. Kennedy. While we are pleased to learn that the raises have been rescinded, we still have serious concerns over the fact that they were awarded in the first place.
As ranking members on the committee we share your concerns that the goals of the higher education consolidation are not being met. The merger of the state university system with the community college system was supposed to open the doors to students earning their degree, while saving money through reorganization and preventing previous problems with executive compensation. While we are pleased that an estimated $5.5 million in savings has been achieved since the law went into effect, it is troubling that the legislative intent of the law is not being followed.
Savings were achieved to help pay for faculty and academic purposes. According to the law, any compensation changes whether positive or negative are to be placed before the full board. This did not happen. Dr. Kennedy awarded raises without consulting the board.
It is clear through our discussions and news reports that you also share our outrage at the awarding of such lavish raises at a time when the state is struggling to balance its budget, most state employees are subject to a wage freeze, and tuition rates at Connecticut colleges and universities continue to rise. The Board of Regents recently called for an increase in tuition of 3.1% for our community college students and an increase of 3.8% for our state university students. This demonstrates an lack of sensitivity and concern for our students, faculty and parents of our higher educational system during these very difficult economic times.
It is also disturbing to read published reports that Dr. Kennedy has been awarding these raises going back to December of last year.
We join you in calling for a meeting on this matter and if not resolved satisfactorily a legislative inquiry. It is extremely important that the legislative intent of this law is followed which was clarified on the floor of the senate this past session and is spelled out again for all involved. Please know that we will assist you in this effort.
Senator Toni Boucher
Representative Tim LeGeyt