Jeff Harrison (Florida), Charity for the Haves and Administrative Stipends:
My university, in a jaw-drooping exercise of hubris, just up and unilaterally terminated payment of part of compensation already due employees. This compensation was in the form of a pay out for unused sick leave. (As an aside (note the parentheses) there should not be sick leave payouts. It is the ultimate class-based benefit. Why? Guess which folks in the University are least likely to use sick leave? You've got it—elitist professors and high level administrators who are then able to cash in for upwards of 100K while staff people account for every hour.)
Ok, the plan was crazy and designed so the haves get even more. Still, it was part of the compensation package, it vested after 10 years ...
If you retired by June 30th you got the pay out (or is that "pay off") and a small handful of people took the dough who were likely to retire anyway. But some just were not quite ready to retire. They wanted the dough but they also wanted to keep their humongous salaries for a little longer.
What do to with the obvious deserving-of-more-more-more people? You've got it. Extra paid leave or special new duties as senior envoy/assistant for the purpose of . . . . . Well that is kind of the catch. The new higher salary is for doing what they were doing or were expected to do. Yes, it is another situation in which professors who are working at full capacity all of a sudden aren't at full capacity when there is some money on the line. As in, "sure I have time to teach an extra course," or "sure, I can be special envoy to revise the environmental law program." Come on! Hit me with one of those "administrative stipends."
Of course we know that haves always get more especially when the givers are also haves. So, how do the haves cut side deals to make up for the lost sick leave pay out? Use your imagination but do not doubt for a second that it occurs.
I reached out to Florida Dean Laura Rosenbury, and she provided these comments, which I am posting with her permission:
Thank you for alerting me to Jeff’s post. I am happy to provide more context. The University of Florida, as a whole, had a program whereby eligible employees would receive payment for up to 200 hours of unused sick leave upon retirement. The University decided, several years ago, to end that program on June 30, 2016. At the College of Law, five full-time faculty members retired as of June 30, 2016, and four of those five were eligible for the sick leave pay-out. In addition, five full-time staff members retired as of June 30, 2016, and all five of them were eligible for the sick leave pay-out. I do not know how the expiring sick leave pay-out program affected the retirement decisions of the eligible faculty and staff members, but I assume it played some role.
Of particular relevance to the tax community, Mike Friel was one of the five faculty members who retired as of June 30, 2016 (but he will be continuing in an adjunct capacity). In addition, one other member of the tax faculty has entered into an agreement to retire as of June 30, 2017. (I do not currently have permission to share any identifying details.) As part of that retirement agreement, the faculty member will be paid an administrative stipend, and Jeff has let me know that he opposes that stipend. As of now, no other faculty member has requested to retire as of June 30, 2017.
One final point: none of the payments approached $100k and the administrative stipend does not approach $100k. In other words, all of the payments were under $100k. Indeed, they were all under $80k and most were much less than that.