Board pulls string on chutes

by Liz Carter

Daily Cougar Senior Staff

Because golden parachutes seemed to be falling out of the sky in record numbers for the University of Houston in 1995, the Board of Regents approved a policy Thursday to set guidelines on this type of administrative leave.

Last year, UH handed out more than $800,000 in buy-outs and paid leaves to top administrators who were purged from the UH System. The policy that the board approved Thursday targets executive management employees such as the chancellor, vice chancellor, president, vice presidents and deans.

With the approval of the policy by the board, guidelines were established that will apply to the chancellor/president and many dean positions to be filled next year.

The board created the policy in a formulaic fashion to determine the length of leaves taken by tenured faculty who step down from administrative positions.

Traditionally at UH, when a dean or a president steps down from the position, he or she takes a leave of absence before returning to the classroom in order to update lecture notes and other teaching materials.

With the new policy, the duration of a leave will be limited according to the length of time the individual has served in the administrative position and was therefore removed from normal academic responsibilities.

The policy also determines the salary of the individual after returning to his or her regular faculty position based on responsibility, marketplace value, qualifications and salaries of comparable positions at similar institutions.

When Elyse Lanier questioned the policy's effectiveness, Board of Regents Chairwoman Beth Morian said, "These are guidelines, rather than something set in stone. Each time someone comes to the school, they will have a specific contract outlining the guidelines."

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