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.
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.”