Board of Regents sets salary for interim president

The Board of Regents for Higher Education on Thursday agreed to pay Philip Austin, its new interim president, the same $340,000 base salary as his predecessor, but without the controversial pay raises.

Austin, a former University of Connecticut president, was chosen to replace Robert Kennedy, who resigned as board president Oct. 12 after disclosures that he gave 21 secret, unauthorized salary raises to his staff totaling more than $250,000.

He also was found to have spent 8½ weeks working “remotely” at a summer home in Minnesota under a provision of his contract that specified six weeks of “professional leave.”

Subsequent reports by The Hartford Courant found Kennedy received at least $100,000 more than his reported $340,000 salary, including a bonus and “unvouchered” expense accounts. Austin has since returned $25,000 but remains eligible for an additional $20,000 in “deferred compensation.”

A former University of Maine president, Kennedy was hand-picked last year by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to run the newly formed Board of Regents. Malloy’s then-chief of staff Timothy Bannon negotiated the contract.

The board oversees the state’s 12 community colleges, four state universities and Charter Oak State College. UConn operates separately with its own trustees board.

j.reindl@theday.com

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