TALLAHASSEE — State university system chancellor Frank Brogan could see his salary cut by more than a third under a Senate plan to eliminate the foundation of the Board of Governors.
The foundation supplements Brogan's $225,000 state salary with $132,000 in cash plus nearly $101,200 toward housing, vehicle, life insurance and disability insurance policies.
Sen. J.D. Alexander, the Lake Wales Republican who oversees the Senate's budget, said it's nothing personal. He said he only recently became aware that Brogan gets a good chunk of his salary from the Board of Governors foundation.
As chancellor, Brogan serves as chief executive officer for the Board of Governor's office.
Alexander said his concerns center on the fact that the board's foundation gets contributions from universities' private foundations, which he says muddies the waters. In the fall, the 11 universities' foundations contributed a total of $250,000 to the board's foundation.
"I am greatly concerned when (a state employee) is being paid out of a foundation that asks other direct support foundations" for money, he said. "It should be clear where the money's coming from."
With $5.7 million in assets, the board's foundation doles out more than $671,400 in scholarships a year in addition to supplementing the chancellor's salary. The Senate's plan would redistribute the money to the original private donors. The House has no plan to get rid of the foundation.
Alexander also raised concerns about the size of Brogan's salary given he has only 45 employees.
But nearly two years into the job, Brogan's $357,000 salary already ranks last among chancellors at the nation's 10 largest university systems, according to a survey provided by his office. Texas' chancellor makes $750,000.
With nearly 303,000 students, Florida ranks No. 2 in enrollment, just behind California.
Universities have long supplemented their presidents' compensation packages with foundation payments, particularly after the Legislature in 2003 capped the amount of state funds paid to presidents at $225,000 a year.
Most of University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft's base pay of $470,000, for instance, comes from the foundation.
Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, chairwoman of the higher education budget panel, said she and other leaders saw a distinction.
"It's all right for them," she said. "University foundations are raising money constantly and for students particularly."
The board released only a written statement:
"The Board of Governors signed a six-year contract with the current Chancellor in fall of 2009. An enormous new volume of changes may be ahead for the students, faculty, and staff who are working hard in the State University System — so right now, and for the duration of Session, the Board prefers to stay focused on advocating to anyone and everyone the clear return on investment in the state's universities."
The Senate plan also would cut the Board of Governors' budget by 30 percent. The Florida office's staff of 45 is by far the smallest among the top 10 states. California's office, by contrast, has a staff of 1,405.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at email@example.com or (850) 933-1321.