NCSU leader gets 14.6 percent raise, one-time bonus and retirement plan

jstancill@newsobserver.comJanuary 11, 2013 

Randy Woodson is getting the premium treatment to stay on as chancellor at N.C. State University.

Woodson, who was reportedly a front-runner for the University of Florida presidency recently, received a $63,000 raise Friday. His annual salary rose to $495,000 after a closed door vote by the UNC Board of Governors.

He will also receive a one-time “retention payment” of $112,630 in non-state funds by March 31, to be paid by N.C. State University. The source of those funds is yet to be determined, UNC system spokeswoman Joni Worthington said in an email.

Finally, the UNC system board authorized the university to create a retirement savings plan for annual contributions equal to 10 percent of his salary – nearly $50,000 –starting this year. The deferred compensation is contingent on the availability of non-state funds at NCSU and on Woodson remaining chancellor at NCSU through Dec. 31, 2015.

The University of Florida this week abruptly suspended its search when longtime president Bernie Machen agreed to postpone his retirement. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Woodson had been widely considered to be a front-runner among about 70 that were nominated.

‘Jobs all over’

On Thursday, Woodson said there were a lot of universities looking for presidents and that he talks to people all the time. “There are jobs all over this country,” he said.

Woodson said he never applied for the Florida job and was not a candidate – at least formally. He repeatedly said he was “thrilled to be at N.C. State.”

The information on Friday’s action was not initially released. Just after the meeting, Board of Governors Chairman Peter Hans declined to talk about the compensation plan, saying it was a personnel matter.

The university later released the information at the request of The News & Observer.

Hans did say that competitive compensation was an important issue for UNC leaders.

“Good chancellors pay for themselves,” he said. “The ones that aren’t as good cost a whole lot more. We’ve got to be able to recruit and retain our best leaders.”

In recent years, the UNC system has not allowed campuses to pay their chancellors supplements from private funds.

In the past, there had been concern that some campuses did not have the ability to raise money for bonuses and deferred compensation.

Across the nation, salary supplements have led to situations in which university presidents were beholden to alumni foundations and campus boosters.

‘Extraordinarily successful’

Worthington said the package was put together to retain Woodson, who “has been extraordinarily successful at NC State and has been pursued by other institutions.”

She said the $495,000 salary was “slightly above the established minimum” of the salary range of peer universities nationally, which is $492,800 to $616,000.

The decision was made on the recommendation of President Tom Ross and a Board of Governors committee, Worthington said, “with the strong endorsement of the NC State Board of Trustees.”

Woodson’s new salary makes him the highest paid chancellor of a public university in North Carolina.

The higher salary and privately funded supplements for Woodson are likely to set off a push for similar raises and benefits for other chancellors. UNC-Chapel Hill leaders, now searching for a successor to Holden Thorp, will undoubtedly argue for a comparable compensation package. Thorp, who is leaving at the end of the academic year, makes $432,600.

Woodson’s raise pushes his pay closer to that of Ross, whose salary is $525,000.

Stancill: 919-829-4559

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