Incoming Wichita State president will make $330,000 in salary

05/25/2012 5:00 AM

08/05/2014 8:27 PM

John Bardo will earn $330,000 to run Wichita State University in his first year as president, according to the hiring letter sent to him by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Of that amount, $53,769 will come from private money provided by the Wichita State University Foundation.

The total is $50,000 more than the $280,000 he earned as base salary in his previous job as chancellor of Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, N.C. The university has an enrollment of about 9,500 students compared with WSU’s 15,100.

Don Beggs, outgoing WSU president, made $282,150 in base salary this past year, according to the Board of Regents, which supplied these numbers in response to a Kansas Open Records Act request.

Bardo, reached by phone in North Carolina, said he and his wife, Deborah, “are still in the throwing-out phase” of moving preparations.

Bardo, 63, retired from the chancellor’s job July 1, 2011, after 16 years, and took a year’s leave for research. Bardo said he was paid his full $280,000 during the past year even though he was no longer chancellor because of a university policy designed to help administrators transition back to the faculty if they wished to do so. Bardo said he wanted to do that until the WSU job opened up.

Joni Worthington, vice president for communications for the University of North Carolina, said the reason Bardo was able to collect his full salary for a year, though he won’t be returning to the faculty as originally planned, is because he fell under the specifications of an old policy, which UNC has since revised.

Under current policy, she said, an administrator hired after January 2010 would not be able to draw his full administrator salary for a full year, if he left the university — which is part of the UNC system, — instead of returning to the faculty.

Bardo did nothing wrong, she said. But she also said some people at UNC considered the old policy, under which he is being paid, to be “too generous,” which is why it was revised in 2005 and then again in 2010.

Bardo said his research during the past year, building on years of previous work, will be useful when he comes to Wichita. He’s an expert on the relationships between economies, higher education, and quality of life.

He said he’ll draw upon that work as he tries to enhance what he called WSU’s already strong relationships with the local community and industry.

“There’s no question I’m going to use that research at WSU to try to help the community,” Bardo said. “I’ve got research and analysis from all 50 states, and information about what seems to make states competitive, and what seems to make them uncompetitive.”

He hopes to complete a book on his research, while doing a good job as president, and will hire a co-author if necessary for completion of his research.

“What I will focus on with that work is how to make the university as viable to the state of Kansas as possible.”

His plan until recently was to stay in North Carolina, complete a book on his research, and go back to teaching, he said; but the Wichita State job opened. His last day on the Western Carolina salary will be July 1, which also is his start date as WSU president, Bardo said.

Besides the base and supplemental salary, Bardo’s other compensation will include, according to his hiring letter: a place to live, at the WSU president’s house, at 1820 N. Hillside at the corner of the campus; a Foundation fund for use at his discretion for business-related expenses; a vehicle; payment of dues, memberships and other expenses he might incur as president; travel money, and hospitality expenses. He also gets moving expenses.

His base salary puts him third in compensation among the other six state university leaders in Kansas, according to documents supplied by the Board of Regents for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The University of Kansas leader makes a base salary of $432,650; Kansas State, $375,025; Emporia State, $240,000; Fort Hays State, $255,2000, and Pittsburg State, $248,378.

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