Campus Reform | UMass admins earn large salaries despite financial woes

UMass admins earn large salaries despite financial woes

An additional 397 employees are expected to be laid off this upcoming fall.

High-positioned administrators at the University of Massachusetts continue earning large salaries while three in every ten employees face salary reductions or lay offs.

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University of Massachusetts recently released its operating budgets and financial forecasts for 2021.

The fiscal year 2021 expenses are predicted to be $3.3 billion, which is 5 percent - or $171 million - below the previous year’s expense budget due to the financial impact of the coronavirus. The university will save $254 million overall with its expense solutions, including $163 million which will be saved through implementing workforce changes. 

Despite these expense solutions, there will still remain a deficit of $1.6 million for undergraduate campuses.

Approximately three in every ten employees will face the possibility of being furloughed, laid off, or impacted otherwise. So far, the university has saved more than $10 million by laying off 134 employees, with nearly another $44 million in savings with 397 additional layoffs.

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The university will also reduce the number of full-time employees by 6 percent, but when the university takes into account additional layoffs that may occur when enacting financial solutions, the reduction of staffing could be as high as 8 percent.

UMass-Amherst, specifically, faces workforce cuts of up to $33 million. The school's 150 vacant workforce positions will not be filled, and its senior management will see 10 percent salary reductions. 

Despite these financial constraints putting the jobs of many educators at risk, The Boston Globe reported that UMass employees were among the highest-paid on the Massachusetts state payroll. Chancellor and Senior Vice President of Health Sciences Michael Collins was the highest-paid Massachusetts state worker with a total compensation package totaling $1.096 million per year.

Executive Deputy Chancellor, Provost, and Medical School Dean Terence Flotte made $1.076 million - the second-highest state employee salary.

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All but six of Massachusetts' 100 highest-paid state employees in 2019 worked for the University of Massachusetts. Five worked for the State Police and one worked for the Medical Examiner's Office. The lowest salary on the list of highest paid University of Massachusetts employees in 2019 was that of University of Massachusetts Medical School Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion Deborah Plummer, who made $297.586.13.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, for comparison, made $184,233.73 in 2019.

It's unclear whether any of the highest-paid employees were laid off or furloughed, although it appears likely that they may have experienced salary reductions. According to the university's report, the president's office was impacted by seven layoffs, eliminating 14 vacant positions, and furloughs for those making more than $100,000 per year. Additionally, employees in the president's office were required to use all of their vacation to eliminate the burden of paying employees for unused vacation time.

UMass did not respond to Campus Reform's request for comment. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KestecherLacey