Governor Terry Branstad is sending a message to the board that governs the state’s three public universities about salaries for its executive staff.
“I would caution that the Regents need to be very cognizant of the budget limitations that we have within state government,” Branstad says, “and we’ve got to live within our means.”
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported in July that the executive director of the Board of Regents has a base salary of $154,000, but last year was paid more than twice that much because of bonuses and deferred compensation. The governor says there is “no doubt” that “by far” the highest-paid people in state government are employed by the state universities.
“People that work in the University of Iowa Hospitals, the faculty and all of that and, I guess, some in the board office as well, but that’s a small portion of it,” Branstad says. “…Their salaries are set by the Board of Regents, not by the governor’s office.”
Board of Regents plans call for Iowa, Iowa State and UNI to send $435,000 more to the board office in the coming year to cover executive staff salaries.
“I understand at the university level their desire to have salaries that are competitive so that they don’t lose some of their best people,” Branstad says. “But I think we’ve got to be very careful in terms of the level of spending and the universities need to recognize they’re part of state government as well, even though they’re separately governed, and they need to try to keep the costs as reasonable as possible.”
The nine-member Board of Regents makes salary decisions for top university administrators as well as the staff who work in the board’s executive office suite. The presidents of the three universities then manage the salaries for the other employees on the campuses in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City.