University salaries under microscope

James McLeod
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950+ earning $100K at MUN

Memorial University is doing a review of compensation for top-level administrators, at a time when university spending and “administrative bloat” are under the microscope.

Gary Kachanoski.

All told, 995 people employed by the university earn more than $100,000, according to documents released by MUN this week.

The information was included in a message sent to many Memorial University staff in response to a spate of access to information requests from people seeking data about how much money MUN employees get paid — including salaries for all employees in marketing and communications, distance education, learning and teaching support, and senior administration.

One of the requests is from The Telegram, as part of a larger project seeking salaries of all employees who earn more than $100,000 across a raft of government departments and agencies.

For quite a while, university president Gary Kachanoski’s remuneration has been a bone of contention for critics of the university — he earns a salary of $469,200.

Kachanoski earns more than University of Toronto president Meric Gertler, who earns a salary of $398,737.41.

For the sake of comparison, Memorial University has a total enrolment of 17,568, whereas the University of Toronto has a total enrolment of 84,556.

At Queen’s University, president Daniel Woolf earns $364,500, with a student body of 22,114.

The Telegram compared Kachanoski’s salary primarily against Ontario universities because in that province, the government posts online the names, positions and salaries of all public-sector employees who earn more than $100,000.

York University president Mamdouh Shoukri is paid in the same ballpark as Kachanoski —$463,105. However, the total enrolment at York is roughly triple that of Memorial University, at 52,800.

Other top Memorial University administrators’ salaries appear closer in line with Ontario counterparts.

For example, provost and vice-president academic Noreen Golfman’s salary of $274,360 is lower than her counterpart’s at York University, Rhonda Lenton, who earns $328,199.94.

Golfman also earns less than her counterpart at the University of Toronto, Cheryl Regehr, who makes $311,999.96.

On the other hand, Golfman’s salary is higher than comparable positions at Brock or Carleton universities in Ontario, both schools with slightly higher total enrolment.

Richard Marceau, vice-president of research for MUN, earned $271,592 when his contract was signed in 2013, “with increases subject to annual review.”

That puts him higher than his Brock University counterpart at $222,000 or Carleton University at $228,228.75.

According to Stephen Dodge, director of human resources at MUN, salaries at the university are subject to negotiation for unionized positions, and for non-unionized situations, they try to keep compensation to median, when comparing to other universities.

For the management and professional staff, MUN did a review in 2011 and tweaked salaries to get closer to the median.

Dodge said no review of the senior administration salaries has been done since 2008.

He said that review is going to happen soon.

“I think it’ll be sooner rather than later, because it’s been eight years and we really are due to have that done,” Dodge said.

Sara Langer, vice-president external for the Grenfell Campus Students’ Union, said administration salaries are a serious concern.

“It is concerning that money is going towards these positions, and is not going towards teaching, researching and student services,” she said.

Langer said with the prospect of post-secondary funding cuts on the horizon, as the government deals with a $2-billion deficit, she hopes the provincial government will take a look at things.

“Students have been saying for a long time now that there is administrative bloat, and the government has basically, in the past, passed the buck off,” she said. “We really need, in this upcoming budget, for the provincial government to intervene and take action on this administrative bloat.”

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: University of Toronto, York University, Brock University Carleton University

Geographic location: Ontario, Queen, York

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Recent comments

  • Erin
    March 21, 2016 - 13:22

    So a vice president makes over $100K more than the premier of the province?

  • joe
    March 21, 2016 - 12:50

    MUN is out of control but salaries are only a small part of the problem,,look at The battery and a never ending expansion policy,someone should decide on the suitable size for this area.The result of blank cheques from the government.

  • MUN needs new leadership
    March 21, 2016 - 09:58

    The exorbitant salaries are even more scandalous when one considers how MUN has dropped to seventh place in its category in the annual Maclean’s university rankings. The place is literally falling apart as basic maintenance has been ignored by the administration for many years. Many 'investments' have failed, such as the Battery Hotel purchase, which remains largely idle, except for a handful of residents. One could go on. But how much more evidence is needed that the place is very poorly operated and needs new leadership? Kachanoski, Golfman and Marceau should do the honourable thing and just admit they have failed, and resign.

  • James
    March 21, 2016 - 09:43

    CBC NL VOCM local newspapers all must have spouses working with government.... When Ostriches bury their heads in the sand like local media has, the Lion is still there... it hasn't disappered.[…]/

    • EDfromRED
      March 21, 2016 - 15:09

      When I attended MUN I once passed by a Board of Regents meeting and a former CBC reporter was one of them. I guess other Media members are avoiding coverage so as to increase their chances of hitting the 'Appointment Lottery"

  • Dana
    March 21, 2016 - 07:13

    This is a poorly researched article. In consideration of total compensation the article does not consider the official residence for the President of the University of Toronto, the $81,000 annual performance bonus for the President of Queen's, or the interest free home loan for the President of York that has $50,000 forgiven for each year that the person stays. I' appalled that this has been published with these information gaps.

  • The Executive Director
    March 21, 2016 - 06:55

    Some administrators are glorified secretaries that earn huge salaries. It's called empire building. How many people work in the President's Office?? How many work in Communications?? Glorified secretaries that earn six figure salaries! Staggering.

  • Overtaxed
    March 20, 2016 - 18:50

    things are so bloated at MUN that they have a department for resume writing and job search skills. universities are for higher learning not helping people write a resume, google and the feds can do that.

  • Interested Resident
    March 20, 2016 - 17:15

    I love the way public institutions / local governments are being scrutinized lately. It's about time. Salaries are at ridiculously high rates, buoyed by the temporary high salaries of oil workers. It is time for the public to say enough is enough. The Government (yes that includes you MUN and City of St. John's and City of Mount Pearl) cannot sustain such extreme salaries in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Overtaxed
    March 20, 2016 - 13:54

    They have a dept of career development and experiential learning? WTH is that? University is for degree acquisition not career development.

    • Are you serious
      March 21, 2016 - 11:21

      Really?! You must be kidding? You don't really expect the 20,000 plus students at university to all go into academia when they graduate? Especially those in the professional schools who are expected to go out and work in the private sector. I work for a private sector employer and I can tell you that there is a serious need for students to gain the skills that non-academic departments, such as this one, are offering.

    • Overtaxed
      March 21, 2016 - 14:33

      No I am not kidding that MUN is not the place for students to learn how to write a resume. You must be joking that public money should be spent on this.

  • "Cut to the Quick"
    March 20, 2016 - 09:38

    @ Gavin Murphy, please save these diatribes to brainwash students. Your comments are self serving and venomous. That said I have a vision of Noreen Golfman spouting off for the NDP in the nineties, I thought she just faded to baking classes , so learning she is grabbing 250+ is Hilarious! Man thats Funny, nice to see telegram turning over stones to show us the snakes. Thanks Guys Keep up the Good Work, I am off to sign up for one of that guy Gavin Murphys Lectures, LMAO.

    • Gavin Murphy
      March 21, 2016 - 20:26

      @ Cut to the Quick, I posted my comment based on what I believe are the facts concerning the situation regarding the pay of management and the pay of lectures. I see the system holistically and to fully diagnose the situation there one must examine both sides, not just one. My comments may have come off as a diatribe to you, but I simply chose to speak my truth, not to be self-serving and venomous as you say, but rather because remaining silent does nothing to enhance discussion and debate. P.S. It is "Gavin Murphy's lectures". That one was for free. Regards, GM

  • Dave Callahan
    March 20, 2016 - 09:29

    This is one of the worst cases of "pigs at the trough" and gross abuse of privilege ever . $450,000.00 for what ,is he splitting atoms ? even if he is not worth that . No wonder we can't pay our bills oink friggin oink

  • Bill Michielsen
    March 20, 2016 - 08:17

    So these administrators decide to close the pool in Grenfell Campus at Corner Brook which needs only a few hundred thousand dollars to bring it back to top notch condition and serves hundreds of people in the area. Great Idea they can pay a couple more unneeded bureaucrats for a year or two instead of doing the right thing and fixing this pool ......they need to get their priorities right or Government needs to do it for them .

  • Gavin Murphy
    March 19, 2016 - 21:30

    I just read your article published today, Saturday March 19th, about the exorbitant, disproportionate, and egregious pay for Memorial University's top brass and how this allocation of money in no way translates to the immediate services that students receive. I have been a lecturer with Memorial University for nearly ten years and I want to give you my support for this investigation as well as voice my concern for the pay of the lecturers who comprise a significant portion of the workforce there and who are actually on the front lines of delivering the services that students receive. This significant portion, the lecturers, receive approximately $19,600 a year for full time work. That is approximately 6,000$ under the poverty line. As it is contractual work, signed for four months periods, there are no benefits. The upper brass from their cushy chairs employ labyrinthine logic and rhetoric to argue that lecturers can indeed get to the poverty line if they work in the summer. This, however, is virtually impossible because the student population is so significantly reduced during summer months that for all intents and purposes working at MUN to claw their way to the poverty line is not an actual possibility. They, MUN bourgeoise, know this. But, more to the point, in regards to students receiving the goods or the product they pay for, one has to wonder the quality of that product and service when the upper brass sit around a shrimp ring and discuss policy from gilded chairs and the lecturers, the ones on the front line who are delivering the product, the knowledge the students pay for, and who are there day to day shaping the minds of the future generations, guiding them through life, advising on career choices, these people, the real face of the product of MUN, the English profs, the physics lab profs etc, these individuals are starving, cold, underfunded, insecure from a lack of a secure future, and, in many cases, are working 2 or 3 other jobs to make due. How can they provide the best possible service under these conditions? Where do they find the time to deliver their best and what the paying student deserves? They try. Believe me, they do. But it is difficult. Passion is what brought the lecturers there and in many cases is what keeps them there. But passion burns out when not fed and who's going to be there for the students then? Is it the VP or some other high roller who is going to roll up their sleeves and teach Platonic theory to first years at salary far below the poverty line. I have my doubts. I think your investigation is tied to this story and to get the full picture you should also investigate this situation. Regards, GM

    • Fred
      March 20, 2016 - 17:27

      Go to school. Get an education and better yourself. Then you can get one of the plum jobs!

  • zoe
    March 19, 2016 - 21:02

    have we got our own mafia upper mgnt.going on here??between this and city salaries...whos the fool???then all gov't wants to eliminate jobs by attrition..sure where do you think those noted salaries are going??i'd say there rocking chair is in place..HELLO!!!!

  • Ron
    March 19, 2016 - 19:20

    This is one instruction that needs to take a machete to the fat within. There would not be a great loss if the cost to operate this university was cut by 30 to 40 percent. The presidents salary is at least twice what it should be as this person is more of a figurehead than anything else. His lack of prowess in making important decisions was very apparent when we had the incident involving the student who had a hearing impairment and he did absolutely nothing. As far as I know the issue is still not settled and it will eventually fade away until another crisis comes along. It is crazy to be paying these types of salaries to people with minimal qualifications who are filling many mundane positions. This is especially true in the case of the president. Time to eliminate the fat from Mun. What else does the president get along with almost half a million in salary. Any cars , servants , services ( snow Clearing etc. ) , paid vacations or a house to live in included in his list of perks. This is a terrible injustice to all taxpayers in the province who support the waste at this university.

  • Carol
    March 19, 2016 - 15:05

    The majority of people at MUN making over $100,000 are FACULTY! The administration is not bloated. A couple of top level positions may be making too much, but the majority of the staff at MUN are making below provincial averages. Don't be too quick to judge. Once the full report is released you'll all see where the money is really going.

    • Figgy Duff
      March 20, 2016 - 16:57

      Carol, In case you don't know, everyone at MUN who isn't a student, is considered FACULTY. How do you get 1000 of them making more than $100,000? That is one for every seventeen students. Why would you need one more employee? Isn't a FACULTY member capable of taking care of seventeen students?

    • Steve
      March 20, 2016 - 17:16

      This is correct Carol, and I think the Telegram has really misled readers of the online edition because in the print edition it clearly states that 85% of those making over $100 grand are faculty. Clearly, whose who have read the online article have now drawn the erroneous conclusion that it is a situation of "administrative bloat". Telegram, you've got to fix this with clarification in follow up stories.

    • Steve
      March 21, 2016 - 08:09

      Figgy Duff - you're wrong. Faculty means professors and other teaching staff. According to the print edition, these people make up 85% of the people making over $100 grand. The other 15% are Administration. People like the Registrar and those who are in charge of building and equipment maintenance, communications, maintaining computer networks, etc. It takes a lot of people behind the scenes to make sure that a university functions on a day to day basis. Some of those people are highly qualified senior staff who are responsible for large budgets, and you can't get people with those qualifications if you don't offer competitive pay.

  • Malcom
    March 19, 2016 - 14:33

    @Rob Yes Ms. Congeniality. The lady Rick Mercer referred to as Margaret Wente without the wit. MUN jacked up student fees and tuition because Golfman said 'the last thing' she wanted to do was cut staff. "You can't have a half assed university with half assed staff" said Golfman. The only thing worse than a half-ass is a whole ass. And one that earns $275K to boot!

  • George
    March 19, 2016 - 14:18

    You have no one to blame bit yourself. Tuition is very cheap at MUN. How you managed to accumulate 80 grand to get a useless degree is beyond comprehension. Maybe you should've had a part time job to offset some cost.

  • Figgy Duff
    March 19, 2016 - 13:11

    I have nothing to do with Memorial University. However it does seem like a high Teacher Student ratio even if you only compare "$100,000. plus" you get 17 students per teacher. Lord only knows how many more they have. And $469,000. for school dean in St.John's is ridiculous.

  • Ncognito
    March 19, 2016 - 12:51

    Some of the highest salaries but one of the lowest ranked international universities in Canada. Why do we stand by and tolerate this? Don't our kids, our wallets and our dignity deserve better than this?

  • My Student Debt- 80K
    March 19, 2016 - 12:34

    Nice Article, but I am frustrated when you compare MUN to the U of T and York University, there is no comparison, not in the same league. MUN is a Bach of Arts Factory, Cost me 80 K and I got a job at Kent Lumber, Compare MUN to Nova Scotia schools although even those are better!

    • hey
      March 19, 2016 - 22:09

      Working at Kents with a $80thousand debt? Didn't you realize what kind of degree you were doing? Do something else and get a real job.

  • Samuel J.
    March 19, 2016 - 12:21

    How reminiscent of the days when Lord Taylor of Harlow deigned to grace us with his presence. The astronomical salary and expenses were enough to shock the sensibilities of struggling local folk back in the sixties but the piece de resistance was the decision to tear down a heritage home on the shores of Long Pond to make room for an ugly expensive bungalow for the baron. Reading this story I'm reminded of a piece of advice from an old friend of mine who taught philosophy at Dal. He said if you stay in school long enough you'll never have to work for a living. I should have listened.

  • angry student
    March 19, 2016 - 09:52

    MUN making cuts to students access to leading scientific journals while 1000 people make over 100k a year doing nothing

  • Steve
    March 19, 2016 - 09:30

    This is interesting, particularly in reference to the President, however the brief reference near the end of the piece to the fact that 85% of the salaries over $100 grand are for faculty is crucial. I would suggest that this be studied in more detail, and I'm betting that the salaries for faculty are at or below the Canadian average. As with most of the other salary stories, the bottom line is that if you want to attract good candidates you have to pay a competitive wage. Why we couldn't find a MUN President for less than what he's getting I'm not sure. And it's not about finding someone "willing to do it for less" as one of the other comments says. This is not mucking out stables, it's being responsible for a massive institution and you need highly qualified people to apply for the job of President.

    • Steve
      March 19, 2016 - 18:11

      Actually the 85% was in the print edition. It's missing from the online story, and without it the piece loses a lot of important context.

  • kerri
    March 19, 2016 - 09:24

    the top three salaries are very high and deserve attention, but I'm interested in how many of the 950+ are professors vs administrators? I've heard a lot about MUN's bloated administration & I'd like to know how bloated it really is

  • Blame Danny
    March 19, 2016 - 09:03

    Remember when MUN almost had Eddy Campbell as president, then Danny and Joan Burke interfered? Wouldn't surprise me if Kachinowoski was able to negotiate for more since no one else wanted to come somewhere that the government pulled the strings. Also, I'd like to see a table of the salaries, enrolment and research income of all Canadian university presidents to see where MUN really stacks up. Cherry picking a few that are more and a few that are less doesn't really tell the full story.

  • Rob
    March 19, 2016 - 08:52

    The time has come to Cut, Cut, Cut! Everybody must play a part and be included in the boom now bust economy and giant debt in this province. Deep into 100miion+ in salary, positions which largely over see an operation that runs itself. Nobody can tell me that an instant 25million can't be saved a year at memorial. The jobs cut are people who are highly educated and easily employable around the country, northamerica or world. It's simply their contribution to helping this province get back on track. Ms.Golfman for years would take a stand like mine when on CBC televisions Here&Now where she held a weekly segment. Now that the shoe seems to be fitting would she voluntarily wear it?

  • keep quiet and pay your taxes
    March 19, 2016 - 08:50

    the province is almost bankrupt. we have to borrow $1.4 Billion to just help pay our bills this year. still we pay people as if we were living in a middle east oil rick kingdom. it's not only MUN we can talk about here, check into salary and benifits for all Nalcor and contracted workers.

  • Grandpa Pike
    March 19, 2016 - 08:40

    What puzzles me is why the salary comparisons are only with Ontario Universities. Wouldn't a comparison of salaries with Atlantic Canada universities make more sense? Are we saying that we cannot find qualified people to fill these roles without paying them more than they can earn in Ontario--that no-one would come to, or stay, in this backwater if we didn't pay them more?

  • Me
    March 19, 2016 - 08:00

    This should be interesting. It looks even worse that city hall. $469,200 for what? Nobody willing to do it for less???

    • Tommy
      March 19, 2016 - 11:44

      Actually, MUN is quite different than the City.. At least the managers and supervisors at MUN have an education. There are people in supervisory and Mgt positions at the City who have no degree at all and are making in excess of $100K/yr.... Further there are non-Management administrative people at the City making $47/hr, which is considerably more than many MUN managers. A SQL Reporting Analyst at the City makes $47/hr. This is a relatively low-level I.T. job getting paid more than most MUN managers, managing multiple staff and projects and who are also highly educated... Most other places a SQl Analyst would be making anywhere from $25-32/hr (on a good day). ... So if you want to start scrutinizing salaries, start with City of St. John's, which pays its employees on a pare that rivals cities like NYC, Chicago, and LA.... Places that have millions of people and billions in infrastructure... Meanwhile, they can't even keep the damn roads here free of potholes, or the lines painted on streets... And St. Johns barely has 100,00 people and you can throw a rock across it. Please give me a break!!!!