Sunday, August 26, 2012

New UO president gets choice of mansions

At a time when student tuition is skyrocketing and faculty salaries do not keep pace with market, isn't it time to re-evaluate this Presidential PERK at all the Universities?

Read it at Register Guard
Published: August 11, 2012 12:00AM, Midnight, Aug. 11
At the end of his first full week on the job, University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson spoke in general terms about his new home and job from the front steps of Johnson Hall, the university’s 97-year-old administrative building.
He said the Eugene weather is wonderful, the campus is like an arboretum, the presidential residence is lovely and UO alumni are doing well in the Olympics.
“What a great week to be a Duck,” he said at a press conference Friday.
Gottfredson said he’s still moving his belongings up from the University of California, Irvine, where he worked for a dozen years before he was hired, seven weeks ago, to be the top Duck.
“My wife, Karol, and I are here, and some of our clothes. We’re moving up everything else in the fullness of time,” the new president told a pair of television reporters, a pair of newspaper reporters and a radio reporter.
Gottfredson’s contract with the Oregon University System allows him to negotiate which of the two state-owned residences in Eugene he wants to inhabit, McMorran House or Treetops.
McMorran House, at 2315 McMorran Ave., is the 1924 Tudor-style abode where recent presidents Richard Lariviere and Dave Frohnmayer lived. The 9,800-square-foot property features a sun room, a large stone deck and extensive gardens.
Treetops, at 2237 Spring Blvd., is an 8,111-square-foot, 1911 mansion in the Fairmount neighborhood. The merchant that donated Treetops to the university system in 1938 specified that either the state system’s chancellor or the UO president has to live in the house.
But Chancellor George Pernsteiner owns a home in Portland and is available to live at Treetops only part time. Consequently, it costs the state upwards of $50,000 annually to keep up a part time residence.
The Gottfredsons, at this point, are moving into McMorran House. “We’re delighted to be in McMorran House,” Michael Gottfredson said. “It’s a wonderful place.”
But the concept of the UO president living at Treetops, which would free Pernsteiner to live wherever he chose without violating the covenant, has not gone by the wayside.
“We’re having some conversations about that,” Gottfredson said.
McMorran House underwent a $450,000 renovation, which included ripping up older, light-colored carpeting and exposing the original hard wood floors.
Gottfredson’s salary is $36,667 a month, according to his contract with OUS. He’ll get an additional $91,670 in deferred compensation for the nine-month school year. His car allowance is $1,200 a month.
Karol Gottfredson was the coordinator of the Intern Teacher Credential Program at Irvine, but she has not so far taken a job in Lane County.
“She’s not working for pay outside the home,” Gottfredson said.
In addition to his presidency, Gottfredson will seek tenure in the UO sociology department, where he can remain when he leaves the UO presidency, at either his base salary as president or that of the highest paid member of the instructional faculty, whichever is greater, according to his contact.
At Irvine, where he was provost, he also was a professor of criminology, law and society in the School of Social Ecology.
Gottfredson said he’ll spend the rest of the summer exploring the campus, meeting with deans and faculty and learning the issues.
Big-time UO donors, such as Nike founder Phil Knight, for instance, want to see the university shake off the shackles of the state system of higher education and establish a new, independent board to govern the university.
“I want to have lots of consultations about that,” Gottfredson said. “I’m working on it. Absolutely. Of course.”
Gottfredson said he is “very concerned” about keeping a lid on tuition, but he didn’t have time to explain how he would go about it.
“Really what we stand for is access to the citizens of the state,” he said, later adding, “We’re very concerned about the cost of attendance. Very concerned. Access, and affordability, is one of our key issues.”
In the future, Gottfredson said, his presidential press conferences will be more substantive — and not like White House press briefings, where reporters are reduced to hollering their urgent questions at the president.
“I look forward to meeting with all of you on a regular basis, and you won’t need to shout your questions,” Gottfredson told the assembly. “I may shout a few answers, but you won’t need to shout questions.”

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