Trustees vote to extend Machen's contract a year
Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
A committee of University of Florida trustees voted Thursday to extend President Bernie Machen's contract through the end of 2013.
The agreement, if approved Friday by the full board, would extend Machen's contract for a year beyond the current deal. Trustee Marshall Criser III said the extension allows Machen to remain president through the end of the Florida Tomorrow fundraising campaign.
"This allows us to maintain consistent leadership during a critical period," Criser said.
The vote was part of an afternoon of committee meetings that also included trustees passing benefits cuts tied to a 3 percent raise for university employees, but delaying the raise and cuts for faculty.
In addition, a committee approved a collaboration between UF and Full Sail University. The full board votes Friday on both measures.
The contract changes would let Machen and the board chair mutually end the deal at any time in 2013 without cost to the university. It also allows for a 90-day transition period in which Machen would be available for consultation.
Machen said he's prepared to stay until the end of 2013, but could leave earlier in the year depending on the results of the search for his successor.
The contract amendment wouldn't change his pay, which includes $416,000 in base salary, a $75,000 annual contribution to his retirement and hundreds of thousands of dollars in retention bonuses.
Machen said staying for another year was an "easy decision" made in consultation with his wife, Chris.
"This is our home. We're going to make this our home forever, I hope," he said.
The extension allows UF to have a familiar face working with the Legislature for another session or two and helping with the Florida Tomorrow campaign, he said.
The campaign aimed to raise $1.5 billion by fall 2012, but is already near its goal and officials are discussing increasing it.
Machen said the campaign has had "incredible momentum" in recent months, at a time when other campaigns are declining.
"We would not like to have a lame president trying to close the deals trying to finish out Florida Tomorrow," Machen said.
In other business, trustees approved eliminating payouts for unused sick leave made to departing university employees. They voted to give Machen authority to delay the cuts and a corresponding 3 percent raise for faculty, depending on economic conditions and the resolution of a court case challenging a state requirement that prompted the raise.
The raise is meant to offset a state law requiring workers in the Florida Retirement System to make a 3 percent retirement contribution starting July 1, 2011.
A lawsuit challenging the requirement, filed by teacher and other public employee unions, is pending in circuit court in Leon County.
The benefit cuts take effect immediately for staff, who had a 3 percent raise approved in September along with a five-week limit on payouts for unused vacation hours.
Trustees also approved a collaboration between UF and Full Sail University in media and entertainment business and technology. UF Provost Joe Glover said the agreement would allow students to move more easily between programs at the two universities.
Full Sail is a for-profit university based in Winter Park that specializes in audio, film and other media production.
"These are areas in which the University of Florida does not have extensive programs and we certainly don't have the extensive facilities that Full Sail University has," Glover said.
Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or email@example.com. For more stories on the University of Florida, visit www.thecampussun.com.
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