Board of Trustees raise base salary for President Ross
Special meeting results in new base salary, retention payment
Praised for his leadership and the achievements of Central Michigan University under his leadership, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to raise President George Ross' base salary to $430,000, effective Jan. 1.
“Whether you look at the 27 percent enrollment gain this fall, the increasing caliber of our students, or CMU’s robust and expanding academic strengths, President Ross and his leadership team are having historic impact,” Board Chair William Kanine said in a press release. “Truly great leaders are rare. When an organization finds a great leader, it must compensate that leader for his or her true value.”
The salary adjustment is an increase of 15.8 percent. The trustees also unanimously approved an annual retention payment of $30,000, made each June 30 starting in 2015.
His former salary of $371,280 placed Ross as the second lowest-paid president in the Mid-American Conference. Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University, earns $340,000 per year.
His new salary will place him sixth among the 13 MAC schools, behind the presidents of Kent State, the University of Akron, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Ball State.
Trustees said at their Dec. 9 meeting that Ross' evaluations would be delayed by a week to discuss a more appropriate way to evaluate and compensate him. Kanine said after the meeting that trustees needed the extra time to “modernize” his contract, which he described as finding a way to match Ross’ contract and salary to his accomplishments over the last five years.
Director of Public Relations Steve Smith said the board compared Ross' salary to peer institutions and other universities in the conference.
President of Ohio University Roderick J. McDavis' $465,000 salary makes him the highest paid president in the MAC. Western Michigan University President John Dunn makes $382,776 per year, and is also responsible for the only other medical school in the conference.
Kanine said Ross' status as one of four finalists for president of the University of Nebraska, which has four campuses, 50,000 students and a $2.4 billion budget, carried weight on their decision.
“The University of Nebraska has discovered our secret — that George Ross is a great, proven leader," Kanine said. "While we can’t match their budget, with this compensation package and the opportunity to finish shaping what CMU will be for the next century, we believe we stand a good chance of convincing the president and Mrs. Ross to stay,” Kanine said.
Nebraska President James Milliken was paid $431,276 before leaving the position in May 2014. Interim president James Linder is paid an annual salary of $350,000, according to the university's 2014-15 operating budget.