By Walter C. Jones
ATLANTA — Four college presidents got pay raises Wednesday, a fifth got a permanent job, and the retiring president of the University of Georgia got a $2.7 million parting gift.
The action came after closed-door discussions by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. The board renewed the contracts of the presidents of all 35 public colleges and universities except for three.
Not reappointed was William Bloodworth, who leaves as president of Augusta State University at the end of the year to resume his career as a professor. Martha Nesbitt leaves as president of Gainesville State College to retire and wasn’t reappointed. Both schools were slated to merge with other universities next year after each president announced plans to step down.
The board also didn’t reappoint Anthony Tricoli as president of Georgia Perimeter College because he resigned earlier in the week after auditors turned up a $16 million shortfall there. Instead, it moved the interim president of Georgia Highlands College, Rob Watts, to serve as interim in Tricoli’s place.
At the same time, it gave another interim president the full-time job. Cheryl Dozier gets the permanent gig at Savannah State University after serving as interim since April 2011. Chancellor Hank Huckaby will negotiate salary with her.
“Her work as interim has been impressive, and it is the right decision to allow her the opportunity to provide permanent leadership for the university,” he said.
The biggest payday went to Michael Adams, the president of the University of Georgia. The board granted him $600,000 in deferred compensation on top of what he’s already gotten. Plus, he’ll receive five years at his current salary after he retires next year.
“Students who attend UGA today enjoy an outstanding academic environment, state-of-the-art facilities and resources, and some of the best faculty in the nation, thanks to his leadership,” Board chairman Ben Tarbutton said.
The board didn’t act to create a search committee or plan his transition at Wednesday’s meeting.
Two presidents got raises because the alumni controlling their school foundations asked to reward them. Bud Peterson, the president of Georgia Tech, will get $167,000 added yearly to his deferred compensation account, and Dan Papp of Kennesaw State University gets $50,000 yearly split between salary and deferred compensation.
Two other presidents got raises to bring theirs in line with newer hires. Gary McGaha at Atlanta Metropolitan State College and David Bridges of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will now be paid $198,000 yearly.
Also getting a boost to $198,000 is James Sanders, the director of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, a research facility included in the University System.