Highest paid at CMU: Administrators, faculty and staff in top 50 list add up to $11 million


When his team is successful, Head Football Coach John Bonamego has the contract that could make him the highest paid employee at Central Michigan University.

Much of his compensation depends on his team winning games, however.

Central Michigan Life requested a current list of salaries for the top 50 highest paid employees at CMU. The list includes administrators, faculty and staff members. Each year in January, the Office of Finance and Administrative Services produces a list of every CMU employee’s salary. The list used in this article was updated in October.

Bonamego has been CMU’s head football coach since 2015, and received a 5-year contract extension in January. His base salary was increased from $350,000 in 2017 to $430,000 in 2018. He also receives $175,000 for media and promotional appearances, which include radio, television and personal appearances, according to his contract. With bonuses, his 2018 compensation is $656,000, making him the highest-paid employee. He also gets bonuses if the football team earns a victory in certain conferences or at bowl games, ranging from $10,000 to $75,000.

Bonamego is the third highest-paid coach in the Mid-American Conference.

Men’s basketball coach Keno Davis and women’s basketball coach Sue Guevara are ranked sixth and seventh respectively. Davis was hired in 2012, and his contract was renewed for five more years in 2015. Guevara was hired in 2007; her contract was renewed this spring. Today, Guevara is the women’s basketball program’s winningest coach, with a 206-148 record.

Davis earns a base salary of $319,923, while Guevara earns $290,000. With media and promotional appearances, Davis gets $100,000 for media appearances, according to a 2015 press release from CMU Athletics. Under her old contract, Guevara received $40,000 for media appearances, and her new contract promises $50,000. She also received a number of benefits for her historic season when the Chippewas made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament, which put her total compensation for the 2017-18 season at $405,000. 

A majority of people on the list are administrators.

Vice President of Health Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine George Kikano comes after Bonamego, however, because the list goes by base salary, Kikano is ranked at number one. According to an article from CM Life in February 2016, Kikano made $500,000. Today, he makes $650,000.

According to Kikano’s contract, his salary was raised to $650,000 on July 1, 2018 because CMED received full accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) on June 18. Along with the increase in pay, Kikano received a $55,000 bonus because of the accredidation.

Kikano is scheduled to receive a $65,000 retention bonus on June 30, 2019. Until 2023, he will receive $65,000 each year for completing specific goals outlined in his contract. These goals include creating policies, developing CMU Health services, collaboration between CMED and other colleges at CMU, and research.

President Emeritus George E. Ross is ranked as the second highest-paid employee at CMU. According to the current salary list, Ross is making $461,250. According to Lori Hella, associate vice president for human resources, Ross will receive his annual salary of $461,250 from Aug.1, 2018 until July 31, 2019. This salary is the same as what he made in 2017. He is still receiving health care benefits from CMU, as well as contributions to a 403(b) plan, which is a retirement plan.

“Ross is transitioning to CMU faculty ranks,” Hella said. “He also is available to assist with CMU’s capital campaign and to provide advice and consultation.”

President Robert O. Davies ranks fourth, with a salary of $415,000. According to his contract, CMU pays for Davies’ housing, automobile and travel expenses. His salary may be increased but not decreased by the CMU Board of Trustees each year.

Every member of the President’s Cabinet made the list except Mary Jane Flanagan, executive assistant to the President. 

The rest of his cabinet includes: 

· Provost Michael Gealt is ranked eighth with a salary of $287,163. Gealt served as interim president for 32 days from July 30 to Aug. 31. Hella said Gealt’s salary increased by $3,409 per pay period during the month of August.

· Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Barrie Wilkes (12) makes $248,004.

· Vice President of Advancement Bob Martin (13), makes $240,465. 

· Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Steven Johnson makes $228,003, putting him at 16 on the list. 

· Vice President and General Counsel Manuel Rupe is ranked 23rd. He receives $213,200. 

· Toby Roth, interim vice president of government and external relations, is ranked at 35 with a salary of $179,375. 

· Associate Vice President of University Communications Sherry Knight (41) makes $170,417.

· Vice President and inaugural Chief Diversity Officer A. T. Miller (42) makes $170,150.

All nine deans made the list. 

· Kikano is at the top, followed by Karl Smart (18), interim dean of the College of Business Administration, who makes $225,000. 

· David Ash, vice president of research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies is ranked 20th with a salary of $219,350. 

· Dean of the College of Health Professions Tom Masterson (21), makes $216,419.

· Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Richard Rothaus (24), who started in August, receives $210,000.

· Dean of the College of Arts and Media Janet Hethorn (25), makes $209,100. 

· Interim Dean of the College of Education and Human Services Elizabeth Kirby is ranked 28th, and makes $190,000. 

· Jane Davison (33), acting dean of the College of Science and Engineering makes $179,497. 

· Dean of Libraries Kathy Irwin concludes the list. She is ranked 50th with a salary of $164,000.

Charles Crespy, who served as dean of the College of Business Administration until his retirement Sept. 30, was making $285,005. 

Former Dean of the College of Education and Human Services Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson was making $193,800 when she left CMU in June to serve as president of Clarion University.

Ian Davison’s salary has changed several times in the past few years, since he has taken on two different temporary positions. Davison served as the dean of the College of Science and Engineering until August 2017, when he was appointed by Ross and Gealt to serve as the senior vice provost for the Academic Reorganization Initiative. This summer, he assumed a new role as interim senior vice provost for Academic Affairs. 

As Dean of CSE, Davison made $213,282, according to Hella. As the leader of the academic reorganization, he received $250,000. In is newest role, Davison is making $256,250. Hella said this is a temporary role and salary. Eventually, Davison will go back to serving as Dean of CSE. Until then, Jane Davison will serve as acting dean.

Fifteen faculty members are included on the list. Nine are College of Medicine faculty. These faculty members include Sethu Reddy (10), chair of the medical discipline in CMED, who makes $280,000, and Steven Vance (5), the associate dean of clinical education, who makes $331,000. Other medical faculty members on the list include James Hillard (17), Judy Blebea (26), Robert Petersen (32), Sarah Yonder (36), Noshir Amaria (40), Donald Kohtz (43), and Jyotsna Pandey (44).

Most faculty members on the list are in the College of Health Professions or the College of Business Administration. Accounting faculty member Thomas Weirich is the highest-paid faculty member at CMU. Weirich is not a department chair or in an administrative role, yet he is ranked 22nd on the list with a salary of $213,667. Hella said Weirich has been a faculty member at CMU for 45 years. His salary is higher than that of five deans and four cabinet members. The next faculty member on the list is Health Administration faculty member James Johnson (27), who makes $199,332. Health Administration faculty member Bernard Kerr (31) makes $181,074 as the director of the Master of Health Administration Program. Other faculty members on the list include Terry Beehr (38), Michael Pisani (39), S.N. Jayaram Murthy (45), Concha Allen (46), Steven Harrast (47) and Ahmad Hakemi (48).

According to the 2018-19 operating budget, faculty and staff salaries add up to $179 million. Salaries make up 37 percent of total expenditures, $478 million. 

Salaries and benefits in the College of Science and Engineering cost the most at $31.6 million, followed by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences with $28.9 million and the College of Business Administration at $23.5 million.

The salaries of the top 50 highest-paid employees add up to $11 million, or six percent of all faculty and staff salaries. CMU employs 2,600 faculty and staff members.

CMU's approach to compensation is outline in CMU's compensation philosophy policy for faculty and the additional compensation policy for staff and senior officers.