South Carolina State University trustees have come up with a salary package for the university’s incoming president, but they aren’t releasing the details yet.
Trustees did reveal that package includes a supplemental income offer of about $131,000 from the S.C. State University Advancement Foundation, its fund-raising arm.
Board Chairman Walter L. Tobin said there was not just one donor, but several “friends of the university” who have offered a contribution to Elzey’s salary.
Tobin declined to provide details or the names of the donors, noting the donors and their immediate family members have not had any business transaction with the university within the past three years. Under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act, this protects their names from public disclosure.
Trustees voted Friday to send a letter to the S.C. Budget and Control Board’s Agency Head Salary Commission asking it to approve the university’s salary package for its new president, Thomas J. Elzey. He is to begin work June 15.
Only trustee Anthony Grant voted against sending the letter to the commission.
Tobin declined to release the letter or details about the proposed salary.
The commission has “to approve that and we have asked the foundation for their support,” Tobin said. “When that is finalized, it will be made public to all parties.”
The commission establishes and maintains salary ranges for several state agencies.
South Carolina Press Association Executive Director Bill Rogers said the letter is a public document that was approved by a duly appointed public body.
“Any document produced and any document in their possession is a public document,” he said. “The public has a right to see that. There is no exemption to that.”
Initial reports are that Elzey will be paid more than $250,000 a year. Tobin has said the salary is competitive with presidents of other institutions.
Last week, the board selected Elzey, The Citadel’s executive vice president for Finance, Administration and Operations, on a 6-5 vote.
Prior to Friday’s vote, Grant reiterated his concerns about the hiring of attorney Charles Boykin as part of the search process. He has said Boykin was hired at an April 12 meeting that was not properly announced and had no agenda.
“I don’t have anything against Mr. Boykin,” Grant said. “I just don’t like the process.”
S.C. State attorney Peters Wilborn said he agrees that the process was not handled properly, but on Friday recommended the board move forward and use Boykin’s services so it can have another opinion on the terms of employment for the incoming president.
“The arrangement proposed by six members of the board decided on April 12 fits in nicely with the existing arrangement and I hope it can work,” Wilborn said.
Grant expressed concerns that Wilborn was trying to “clean up” what was done wrongly and that the university does not have the money to hire another attorney.
Wilborn said Boykin’s services will be under the umbrella of his budget with him taking a cut.
“I believe he is bringing a service to us certainly within our budget,” he said.
The board eventually voted to hire Boykin, who is assisting in setting the president’s salary.
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