2009 Furlough Town Hall and Followup

Update 4/2/2020: People have been asking about the voluntary furlough program from 2009. Here is the video of that Town Hall, with my post from back then below.

Update 5/11/2009: Nearly a month later, this furlough program seems to have vanished. A few hundred people signed up – many pressured into it by the senior administrators. Provost Bean has stopped answering email, and the administration website hasn’t posted any updates since the meeting. Meanwhile, those few faculty who, I’m sorry – got tricked into this – are still giving up their pay, and no one knows or will explain why.

On 4/14/2009 UO had a town hall meeting at which President Frohnmayer asked UO faculty to take voluntary pay cuts.

I am astonished he could do this with a straight face. He got a $150,000 raise last year, and his total compensation is now over $700,000. Plus he gets another $50,000 from Umpqua Bank, for going to their board meetings (on UO time.) His furlough will cost him maybe $10,000. He’ll still be $140,000 ahead of last year!

Here is the uomatters.com handout from that meeting. I have a lot of additional info on these issues, and will post it next week.

Tough times call for shared sacrifices. Shared sacrifices require shared information. Here is some information interested faculty been able to get on administrative expenses at UO.

Q: President Frohnmayer often says low faculty pay is “his highest priority.” How have President Frohnmayer’s recent compensation increases compared to pay raises for UO faculty?

A: See the chart. By the standard Chronicle of Higher Ed compensation measure President Frohnmayer has done very well. UO faculty have barely kept up with inflation.

Q: UO faculty pay is 83% of our peers. What’s President Frohnmayer’s?

A: In 2007 OUS paid a consultant $45,000 to answer this. His report said Frohnmayer got about $80,000 more than median compensation for president’s of peer institutions. The OUS board then gave Frohnmayer another $150,000.

Q: How much salary will Frohnmayer give up with his 6 day Furlough?

A: We don’t know. He hasn’t said if he will pro-rate his Foundation add-on, stipends, and $150,000 deferred comp. So, from about $6,000 to $12,000.

Q: I’ve heard salaries for other UO administrators are way below peers. Is this true?

A: You have been misinformed. Most UO senior administrative salaries match the Chronicle averages so closely that it is clear that UO policy is to pay administrators 100% of peers. Our General Counsel is paid $184,710, the average is $183,100. UO’s AA Director gets $99,814 vs. $99,908. Our VP for Students gets $181,125 vs. $180,262. Some exceptions are OIED VP Charles Martinez who gets $187,614 compared to the $130,050 average, (FTE basis – he also gets about $150,000 from another job) and UO’s Provost who gets $320,700 vs. $420,000 (but he gets to keep his salary if he goes back to the B-School) and our VP for Finance who gets $212,493 vs. $191,981. (Comparisons are to the mean for doctoral institutions and include the stipends mentioned below.)

Q: In October I got an email from the Provost announcing “… the University will be awarding a 4% raise for all eligible officers of instruction or research …, and a 3.5% raise for all eligible officers of administration … effective November 1, 2008.” Is it true that faculty got a bigger raise than OA’s in 2008?

A: No. This November raise was on top of another raise in July – which was only for OA’s.

Q: How big was that July raise?

A: The Provost will not tell us, and since the administration has pulled the old salary books out of the library we can’t figure it out. UO did offer to sell us the old books for $350 – only after we petitioned the Attorney General.
(see reverse)

Q: Many administrators receive “administrative stipends” on top of salary. For example, the OIED VP gets a $23,306 annual stipend. What are these stipends?

A: They are add-ons to salary, are paid and taken as salary.

Q: What’s the justification for these stipends?

A: We don’t know. The UO handbook says faculty can be paid stipends for taking on extra administrative work – e.g. FPC, FAC, DAC. This seldom if ever happens, and instead the money is going to administrators. It appears this started as an end run around the 2000 salary freeze and is now out of control. The state auditors have said this was technically legal.

Q: I heard retiring UO administrators are taking advantage of the “600 hours” program which was intended for retiring teaching faculty. Is this true?

A: Yes, UO is now paying more than $500,000 a year to a small group of administrators who have signed 5 year “golden parachute” contracts with President Frohnmayer, paying them half their salaries and giving regular raises in return for poorly specified administrative duties – including attending away games and proctoring athletes’ exams.

Q: Will more administrators be allowed to take advantage of this program this year? Will President Frohnmayer use it himself?

A: We don’t know. Ask him.

Q: Last year I taught a class of 30 students in a room with 20 desks. As I walked to class I noticed a lot of construction going on in Johnson Hall. What was that about?

A: UO spent more than $2 million last year renovating and remodeling Johnson Hall. This included new AC and new luxury wood paneled office suites.

Q: How much is UO spending on the Bend and Portland programs. Where does the money come from?

A: We don’t know. The Provost tells us we are making money on both, but he won’t provide detailed accounts. Some money comes through the UO Foundation, which will not tell us if the money (say for that infamous $1 million sign) comes from an earmarked gift, or from general fund donations that could have been used for other things.

Q: Where can I get more information?

A: If this were Oregon State, you could go to https://bfpsystems.oregonstate.edu/webreporting/ where any interested person can look at all university expenditures without charge. The University of Oregon not only refuses to do this, VP for Finance Francis Dyke has recently begun to remove what little public information is available at the UO site http://baowww.uoregon.edu/FinMgt/finmgtCOA.htm
This is probably illegal under the states public records laws, we have petitioned the Attorney General to tell her to stop it, and the legislature has a bill (House Bill 2500) which would require all state agencies to follow the Oregon State model by the end of the year.

Bend Profits?

7/6/2009: Provost Bean keeps changing his story on whether or not UO is losing money on Bend – most people say about $1million a year, he claims it’s in the black – so one of the UO Matters team filed a public records request for the data he used as background for his various statements. UO’s PR guy Doug Park has now replied, offering to sell the documents to us for $45.63. Should we pay, or petition the Attorney General for a fee-waiver on the grounds that it’s illegal to make false statements when asking for charitable donations – as was done during the furlough meeting? Suggestions welcome!


We’ve been wondering what happened to the voluntary Fourlough program. After a lot of publicity and the hyped town hall meeting, the web site was never updated with new information or the promised FAQ. We finally received the email below on 5/20 from Provost Bean. In it he makes no attempt to encourage people to enroll or to donate money, and he does not re-iterate any of the claims he made at the 4/14 meeting, such as: UO’s administrative expense ratio is 38% of peers, Bend is making money, and the Portland programs are not a drain on Eugene. We’ve asked him about all these claims, and he has been unable/unwilling the document any of them.

The following message is from Senior Vice President and Provost Jim Bean –


The voluntary salary reduction program is still moving forward, and I thought this a good time for an update. As of May 14, 435 faculty and staff had contributed nearly $462,000 to help with the budget rescission this year. FTE reductions attracted 271 individuals contributing $327,000 and outright gifts attracted another 164 for $135,000. Of the 2,581 eligible staff, 17% participated. Among officers of instruction and research the participation rate was 9%, while among officers of administration it was slightly above 27%.

I sincerely thank all of you who chose to be part of the solution. The $462,000 contributed helped defray the $8.6M rescission (take-back) of state funds this year. For those of you in schools and colleges, your gifts reduced the take-back from your unit’s budget.

Regards, Jim

underpaid administrators


At yesterday’s UO Senate meeting Provost Bean spent a long time talking about “misinformation spread by blogs.” We are happy to hear he’s been reading UO Matters, and we welcome his response to our comments on his speech:

  1. He refused to repudiate his Furlough meeting claim that UO’s Admin expense ratio was 38% of peers. Odd, because an hour before the meeting one of your Editors was talking with OUS Legal Counsel and Board Secretary Ryan Hagemann, who said that despite extensive searching OUS could find no evidence to support this, other than the document referred to here, which he agreed – in fact insisted – was not relevant. Mr. Hagemann then said that he would be encouraging Provost Bean to stop making claims of this sort unless he could back them up with data. Why was Mr. Hagemann so firm on this point? Perhaps because he knows that in Oregon it is a crime to misrepresent administrative expenses when you are soliciting charitable donations – as Provost Bean did (legal disclaimer: appears to have done from the video) at the furlough meeting. The ball is in your court Jim – got any more anecdotes for us?
  2. He claimed that Frohnmayer was paid just slightly more than his peers. But Bean – who has a PhD in Operations Research – departs from the standard Chronicle.com definition by not reporting the $206,000 Frohnmayer receives in 401K and retirement pay.
  3. Similarly with his comparisons of administrative salaries. He is claiming UO is the equivalent to the median AAU public university. Provost Bean, have you looked at that list of universities? Budgets, enrollments, Med schools, … You are comparing VP for Finance and Research jobs at Berkeley, Michigan, Wisconsin, UVA with UO? The VP’s at those schools deal with budgets that are what – 3 to 5 times UO’s. While the source for Bean’s comparisons (CUPA) includes this budget information, Bean dropped it from his tables. Provost Bean also left out his own $25,700 “stipend” – which he takes as additional salary.
  4. Provost Bean claimed that the faculty salaries we have posted included salaries for medical school faculty. It does not. However, his comparison group of administrators does include those with responsibility for medical schools.
  5. In short, the salary comparisons we have posted here are more reliable than Bean’s with respect to both the set of comparators and the accuracy of the UO salaries.
  6. Interestingly, Bean didn’t try to justify Diversity VP Charles Martinez’s salary or explain his second job at OSLC. See below, more here, and still more to come.
  7. Frances Dyke’s $170K helper VP. We get it: you are a gentleman. (When spending other people’s money.) But you are paid to make tough calls for the good of the university. Time to earn your pay and make this one.
  8. Bean’s claims on Bend have morphed from “we are slightly in the black” when asking the faculty for furlough contributions to “we’ve lost millions but we will almost break even next year – if no one notices we are keeping everything possible including Moseley’s salary off the books.” Uh, but he’s the Director, Jim. And what about Leahy and Seitz? You are going to lose your last shreds of credibility over this Jim. Everyone including the CAS Dean knows you haven’t been telling the truth about Bend and still aren’t. Sunk costs are sunk – so don’t use them to justify digging a deeper hole. You are paid enough to do hard things, this one is easy.

But we should all celebrate this:

Nathan Tublitz’s UO Senate motion for a bit of financial transparency passed on an unanimous voice vote with a few minor amendments. The argument was over when a Senator said to Frohnmayer: “You are asking us to give up our pay to help out UO. We deserve to know how you are spending our money.” Somehow that didn’t sink in with Frances, who kept on talking. During the debate VP for InfoTech Don Harris said it would cost $26K to implement, vs. the $10K OSU paid. He also said that UO was upgrading to BANNER 8.0. Perhaps this upgrade already includes basic web reporting features? If anyone has any inside knowledge of this or on why cost is so much higher at UO, please go here and pass it on. Why does Frohnmayer insist on fighting transparency to the bitter end?

The meeting also had the Diversity Progress report by VP Charles Martinez. Charles’s speech was straight up bureaucratic double-speak. As has become traditional, Charles brought a large contingent of Diversity Committee people with him for protection, announced their presence and had them stand before speaking, and took so long to say nothing that there was no time for questions about that nothingness. But at least this year he took time off from his OSLC job to show up for the meeting, and we appreciate that gesture – so thanks Charles, you are doing a heckuva job. Notably, he did not mention the UMRP once. We will have more on why later. The other rumor is that his office will be reorganized and Charles will be replaced in fall, because of his questionable second job – though the press release will read something like “Mission Accomplished”. We expect (hope?) that President Lariviere will insist on an open hiring process – it’s a little embarrassing having a Diversity VP who was hired without an Affirmative Action compliant search!

5/13/2009 AM:

The UO Senate meets in 115 Lawrence today at 3. The agenda includes Charles Martinez’s Diversity report and Nathan Tublitz’s motion for financial transparency. We hear that Frohnmayer has told the Johnson Hall dwellers that they are to support this iff:

  1. It is not implemented until sometime after he steps down as President on 7/1/2009.
  2. It is not retroactive to payments made while he was President.
  3. It does not cover expenditures from UO Foundation funds.

Now why would those particular things be so important?

The Daily Emerald’s 3 part series of retirement interviews with Frohmayer continues. Today‘s topic is athletics and donor influence. He moves from yesterday’s “UO is a hot brand” and “the state never gives us enough money” memes to “athletics brings in money for academics”. His claims that athletics has improved the academic side aren’t absurd, but they are all based on selected anecdotes, and the reporter doesn’t question them. The story ends with this quote from Dave: “That’s what the essence of academic freedom is.But the ODE website is apparently not accepting comments on the interview!

Yesterday there were no questions about why the hot brand is all about athletics instead of academics, and why Frohnmayer has spent the money we do get from the state on himself and his administrators and their pet projects instead of on improving UO’s academic ranking.

Nearly a month after the hyped 4/14 Town Hall meeting – Frohnmayer was so proud of this he posted it on youtube – the voluntary furlough program seems to have all but vanished. A few hundred people signed up – mostly junior administrators pressured into it by their bosses, who left the filled out forms in their subordinates mailboxes. But many faculty were told by their Deans and Heads that it was all politics, and to ignore it. Provost Bean has stopped answering emails about it, and the administration website hasn’t posted any updates since the meeting. Meanwhile, the junior admins and the few faculty who, I’m sorry – got tricked into this by Frohnmayer and Bean – are still giving up their pay, and no one will explain why. If you know any thing recent email us at [email protected] or post an anonymous comment here.

Furlough Bottom Line:

The question on the table is should you take the furlough? The senior administrators who are pushing the furlough earn 100% of their peers and recently spent $2.4 million remodeling their own offices. Our president who just got a $150,000 raise, has signed up his retiring VP’s for golden parachute retirements, and is trying to finagle OUS into giving him the same. They haven’t told you the truth about UO’s admin expenses, about Bend losses, etc. So, no, I don’t think you should. It’s pretty clear where your money will end up.

People are concerned about the classified staff they work with. Here’s how to help them out. Get together with other department faculty. Decide how much extra money the department wants to give staff. Divide that total up among the faculty, asking more from those with higher incomes. Then ask for donations. Tell people your goal, their share, and announce that if you do not meet the goal you will give the money back to the donors. This makes every person’s donation “pivotal” and substantially increases the incentive for each faculty to give. These donations are not tax deductible, but at least you will know who is getting the money!

UO does lots of good work, and we all know a lot of those programs are badly underfunded. So, you can also go to UO Foundation website and earmark a donation for those programs you particularly care about.