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Kentucky Community College Faculty, Staff Ask President Emeritus to Decline Pay

Alix Mattingly/WFPL News

Upset that retired Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Michael McCall is taking a $324,000 consulting fee when the system has been running in the red, its professors and staff members are asking him to decline the money.

McCall retired Jan. 15 after running the statewide system more than 16 years. Well before that, though, the KCTCS Board of Regents granted him a contract paying him his last base salary to serve one year as president emeritus. McCall would serve as an adviser to his successor, Jay Box, and help build leadership-development programs.

But the system’s Kentucky Faculty/Staff Alliance, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers union, called the deal “fiscally irresponsible.” The system finished each of McCall’s last three years with a financial deficit, and union leaders stress that tuition has been raised and teacher raises have been small.

“Further, it (the McCall deal) is an unwarranted drain on resources when many KCTCS colleges have had to cut budgets, programs and personnel in recent years,” states the union’s resolution.

The resolution was to be sent to Box. It also asks that the Board of Regents “encourage” McCall to decline an emeritus paycheck.

A KCTCS spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Friday.

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting asked many of the public colleges in Kentucky if they pay their former presidents for emeritus duty. None of those do, including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University.

The resolution:

“The Kentucky Community and Technical College System Board of Regents granted Dr. Michael McCall a year’s salary beyond his retirement to aid his successor in making a smooth transition. The Board of Regents hired Dr. Jay Box who has been Chancellor of KCTCS for over five years to become the next President of KCTCS. Given Dr. Box’s experience under Dr. McCall’s direction, it is doubtful that Dr. McCall will have many duties. Granting Dr. McCall a $324,000 sinecure at a time when the KCTCS system is seeing significant enrollment decreases and budget cuts is fiscally irresponsible. Moreover, it is demoralizing for the faculty and staff, who in the last decade have gotten, in essence, salary decreases, since small, infrequent raises have not come close to covering increases in the cost of living. Further, it is an unwarranted drain on resources when many KCTCS colleges have had to cut budgets, programs and personnel in recent years.

“Therefore, we the members of the Kentucky Faculty/Staff Alliance – AFT 1360 request that Dr. McCall decline a salary in 2015 and that the KCTCS Board of Regents encourage this action.”

Reporter James McNair can be reached at jmcnair@kycir.org and (502) 815-6543.

This story was reported by Louisville Public Media's Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

James McNair is a veteran investigative reporter who specializes in business and finance issues.