Budget trouble at Eastern Washington University hasn’t stopped the president from handing out handsome raises to top staff.
The university’s senior administrators now earn more cash than their counterparts at the state’s other regional universities.
The pay disparity grew when EWU President Mark Drummond awarded big increases to top staffers in 1994 and 1995.
Drummond makes $130,400 plus cash allowances. Six other administrators earn more than $90,000.
Some of the raises occurred during a state-ordered salary freeze, which Drummond said didn’t apply because the increases followed promotions and reassignments at the top level.
Drummond said the staff is worth the money, in part because they have fewer middle managers to help them now than four years ago, so Eastern spends less on administration overall.
“I think our staff is every bit as good as the University of Washington,” said Drummond.
EWU’s top pay not only outpaces the state’s other regional universities, it exceeds the national average for public four-year institutions.
Drummond said the higher salaries are intended to keep top talent in Cheney.
“You don’t want to insult the public by paying ridiculous salaries,” Drummond said. “On the other hand, you don’t want to pay people so poorly they leave after four years.”
Some faculty members criticize Drummond for peeling off extra money for administrative salaries while academic programs suffer from budget cuts.
In 1994-95 alone, the university took a $1 million cut in state money.
“I think one of the main effects is on morale,” said chemistry Professor Jeff Corkill, former head of the university’s faculty organization.
Some of the deepest staff cuts came in the maintenance department, where fewer workers fix pipes and mow lawns now.
Faculty and other staff members have gotten small salary increases, or none at all some years.
Eastern’s faculty has the lowest average salary of the three regional universities. Teaching pay at EWU averages $42,300 compared with $43,100 at Central Washington and $48,000 at Western Washington universities.
At the same time, several Eastern officials make more than Spokane City Manager Roger Crum, who is getting criticized for seeking a 2.75 percent raise this spring to $95,700.
The median household income in Spokane is $22,000 a year.
Drummond’s salary is $130,400, but car and housing allowances boost his compensation package to $168,400.
The base salary is $110,400. There’s an annual incentive payment of $20,000. He gets $30,000 a year for maintaining his private home for university functions.
The EWU Foundation adds another $8,000 to pay for Drummond’s Isuzu Trooper.
He also gets state insurance and retirement benefits.
His current compensation package is 29 percent higher than the $129,000 he got in 1992.
The national average for presidents at public four-year institutions was $115,000 last year.
At Central Washington University, President Ivory Nelson earns $116,700, plus a $12,000 annual annuity. He lives in the president’s home and drives a car provided by the state motor pool.
At Western Washington University, President Karen Morse earns $119,600 and is eligible for a $20,000 annual bonus if she stays another three years. She also gets a house and car.
Salaries of other top administrators show EWU is a more rewarding place to work financially.
Jane Johnson, vice president of university advancement, earns $96,478. Her counterpart at CWU makes $71,151. The vice president of external affairs at Western makes $84,025.
Johnson’s salary went from $83,513 in 1992 to $93,833 in 1994, an increase of 12 percent, because she was asked to oversee student services as part of her job.
Last summer, the student services duties were assigned to someone else, and Johnson took on additional work in raising scholarship money.
Her current salary is about $16,000 higher than the national average.
Mike Stewart, vice president for business and finance, earned $74,700 in 1994. He is now paid $90,500, an increase of 21 percent. His duties have been expanded from the vice provost of budget and planning to vice president.
The title brought with it responsibility for campus police, all university buildings, the athletics complex, bookstore, housing and dining.
At CWU, the vice president for business and financial affairs makes $85,304. At Western, the position pays $83,580.
Nationally, a chief financial officer on the average earns $89,600.
James Hoffman, provost and vice president for academic affairs at EWU, last year got a raise from $99,100 to $108,100, a 9 percent increase.
The CWU provost makes $89,388, and Western’s provost makes $106,080. The national average is $98,300.
Some deans have enjoyed substantial pay raises. Raymond Soltero, dean of science, math and technology, earns $92,116, an increase of $10,000, or 12 percent over a year ago.
The dean of arts and sciences at Western makes $94,500, while the dean of sciences at Central earns $74,942.
The national average for a dean of science is $82,200.
Western has 10,700 students, compared with about 8,500 each at Central and Eastern.
Eastern apparently is part of a national trend of accelerating executive salaries.
A report in the 1996 Almanac of Higher Education, which is published by the National Education Association, said top university salaries increased 15 percent more than salaries paid to lower administrators between 1982 and 1992.
Since 1992, Eastern has cut some 78 non-teaching jobs, including a dozen middle managers, as part of statewide budget cuts.
Along with the cuts, the state ordered a 2-year salary freeze in 1993 for anyone making $45,000 or more.
During the freeze, Drummond justified raises to top administrators by reorganizing the administrative structure and adding new job duties to their titles. Assignments were later reshuffled.
Now, the top echelon at EWU looks surprisingly similar to Central and Western.
Drummond argued there’s a difference in the bottom line.
Since 1992, Eastern has saved $400,000 on non-teaching payroll, while non-teaching budgets increased at Western and Central.
“My point is we have less middle management,” Drummond said. “I’m looking at total administrative cost.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Big pay on campus