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Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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No raise this year for USF president Genshaft; pay and benefits to remain at $925,000

TAMPA — The University of South Florida System’s long-serving leader will again stand to make about $925,000 in pay and deferred compensation under her proposed contract renewal.

If approved, President Judy Genshaft’s contract will provide for about $505,900 in base pay and a performance-based stipend of up to $300,000, along with about $119,000 in deferred compensation and a state retirement contribution.

In a USF board of trustees committee meeting Tuesday, Trustee Jordan Zimmerman praised Genshaft for her nearly 18 years of leadership.

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"Madam President, you’re a very humble woman, and we truly appreciate that you always go forward with our students’ best interests at heart," Zimmerman said. "We applaud your energy and your efforts, and most importantly, your humbleness, to be able to continue year after year to say, ‘I don’t need an increase, I don’t want an increase, I’m very happy doing what I do.’"

Genshaft’s new contract spans June 2018 through July 2019. The full USF board will vote on it in March, then send it to the state Board of Governors for a final stamp of approval.

Trustees’ continuing endorsement of Genshaft resulted in a windfall last year as she temporarily became the highest-paid public university president in the state upon receiving a retention bonus of $500,000 promised in her last five-year contract.

On top of that, trustees wrote a raise into her 2016-17 contract, bumping up her base pay by 2.5 percent and her performance-based allotment by $25,000 — despite Genshaft never asking for a raise, officials said.

Genshaft sets an ambitious roster of goals for herself each year, and trustees award her a stipend based on how they think she did. This winter, for instance, they gave her high marks in student graduation rates, research, fundraising and other key goals in 2016-17. Of the $275,000 on the line, the board awarded $263,175.

Florida law caps university leaders’ pay at $200,000 from state funds. The rest has to come from other sources, such as foundations.

Trustees plan to keep comparing Genshaft’s pay to that of other university leaders, particularly her preeminent peers at the University of Florida and Florida State.

Trustee Nancy Watkins said that, while board members hope to keep Genshaft for many years, making sure her pay remains competitive will help in attracting a talented successor.

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According to slides at Tuesday’s meeting, UF president Kent Fuchs makes $872,900, plus $310,000 in deferred compensation. FSU’s John Thrasher makes $566,487, plus $200,000 based on performance and about $228,000 in deferred compensation.

Genshaft’s contract will be identical to her last, though minor changes briefly appeared on an early agenda. One change would have made Genshaft give one year’s notice if she resigned, rather than 90 days, and would have let the board and Genshaft "mutually agree to amend the President’s notice in the best interests of the University." Those changes were removed and not discussed Tuesday.

"I just want to say how pleased I am that the board of trustees views the work we do at this university as positive and moving in the right direction," Genshaft said. "It is a privilege to continue leading this phenomenal institution."

Contact Claire McNeill at [email protected] or (727) 893-8321.

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