Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mixed Messages out of the Corner Office

Here at Scaling the Hill 2010, we rarely see eye to eye with Governor Patrick. But we have to give him credit for calling on University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson to take one for the team and forego his $72,000 salary increase (see our January 20th posting, 'Wilson Hits The Jackpot').

Despite rising tuition costs and cutbacks throughout the state’s higher education system, Wilson’s compensation package now totals $546,000 a year. In addition to a $425,000 salary, Wilson also receives a $45,000 housing allowance, $25,000 in deferred compensation, a $51,000 retirement annuity and the use of a car. His $72,000 pay raise is more money than most Massachusetts residents make in a year.

While we’re happy the Governor has finally come out against Wilson’s 15 percent pay raise, we’re wondering why he still hasn’t done anything to block UMass-Dartmouth’s acquisition of the Southern New England School of Law, an unaccredited (!) school which is slated to become the state’s first public law school in September of 2010.

As exorbitant as Wilson’s pay raise is, it pales in comparison to what the law school is going to cost the taxpayers of the Commonwealth: more than $50 million over the next five years, according to the Pioneer Institute, based on projected annual subsidies of $8 million to $11 million. Talk about a waste of taxpayers’ money! If the Governor is really serious about reform, he can prove it by putting the brakes on this higher education boondoggle before it proceeds any further.