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Auburn trustees OK $100,000 pay raise for president

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Trustees approved a $100,000 pay raise in boosting Auburn University President Ed Richardson’s salary to $500,000.

The board of trustees has raised Richardson’s pay three times since he took the job in 2004. His initial contract paid him $265,000. The pay grew to $325,000 in 2005, to $400,000 last year and now $500,000.

Trustee Charles McCrary of Birmingham, who is leading the search for the next AU president, said the president’s pay likely will be raised again when the board makes its selection.

“It’s not as high yet as it needs to be, based on my opinion and based on what I see going on in the market,” he said.

University of Alabama System Chancellor Malcolm Portera’s salary is $500,000. University of Alabama President Robert Witt and University of Alabama at Birmingham President Carol Z. Garrison make almost $488,000 a year, and both can make up to $85,000 more in deferred pay based on performance.

The Chronicle of Higher Education lists 42 presidents and administrators of public colleges and universities earning at least $500,000, according to The Birmingham News.

The median pay of leaders of public research universities and public college systems last year was almost $375,000, 4.1 percent higher than the median of $360,000 two years ago, according to the Chronicle’s survey.

Richardson was low-key in his response to the raise, telling trustees “thank you.”

Trustee Samuel Ginn, who recommended the increase, asked Richardson, “Is that all we get?”

Richardson smiled as the room erupted in laugher.

On another matter, the trustees may have some designs by June for a new Auburn basketball arena, but have taken no official action on replacing the aging Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. The board has taken steps to acquire a cost analysis and design schematics for a new, but smaller athletic venue.

Richardson believes a large investment in a facility for a revenue sport would not hinder the non-revenue sports. Cost estimates have ranged up to $80 million.

Richardson adviser John Mouton told the board’s Property and Facilities Committee on Thursday that a new arena could fit in a portion of the space between Roosevelt Drive, Wire Road and Donahue Drive that the full board approved last fall as the site for a new campus housing project.

At its Jan. 17 meeting, the committee agreed to hire 360 Architects of Kansas City, Mo., and Davis Architects of Birmingham to develop design schematics by the June board meeting.

Some projects currently before the committee, including the campus housing and basketball arena, are considered expedited, meaning the committee has the same power as the full board to approve steps in the process when they meet rather than waiting for the next full board meeting.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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