President M. Roy Wilson received a pay raise in a contract approved by the Board of Governors with a 5–3 vote Dec. 7.
The contract is effective immediately and replaces Wilson’s prior contract, which was signed Aug. 1, 2015 and was set to expire in 2020.
Under his new contract, Wilson receives a $603,343 annual base salary — about a $100,000 increase from his previous contract.
Wilson’s base salary will increase by 3 percent annually, according to the contract. He is also eligible for a $25,000 annual performance bonus.
Moreover, Wilson’s retention incentive payment increased under his new contract.
Wilson is to receive a lump sum payment of $100,000 July 31, 2020 and a $150,000 lump sum payment July 31, 2023, according to the contract. His old contract awarded him a $50,000 lump sum payment and a $100,000 lump sum payment.
Wayne State will also increase its annual contribution to Wilson’s 415(m) account. The university will pay $150,000 to his account a year. Wilson’s previous contract called for a $100,000 annual contribution to his 415(m).
Multiple BOG members voiced their concerns regarding the Wilson administration’s lack of transparency and the fact that the board was presented the contract three days before its Dec. 7 meeting.
BOG Chair Sandra Hughes O’Brien said the contract extension was not included in the BOG’s agenda and said there was no mention of the extension at the agenda review meeting two weeks prior.
“Three days ago, I had received a draft (of Wilson’s contract extension) and I have not yet participated in negotiating these terms,” said O’Brien, who voted against the extension. “I have numerous questions regarding our failure to include pertinent provisions that need to be considered in order to protect the university.”
O’Brien added that it is “mind-boggling” that a cabinet member can’t live off of $200,000.
“I worry that some of these administrators and consultants are so out of touch with the reality on the ground that they fail to recognize that most Detroit households make $10,000 annually and don’t drive Mercedes and Teslas,” she said.
Michael Busuito said he didn’t approve of the contract extension because of the short time frame the BOG was, and he said making the decision immediately is not fair to incoming BOG members Bryan Barnhill and Anil Kumar because they would have no say in the matter.
“We have a year to review this, so I don’t see a need to rush this (decision),” Busuito said.
BOG member Kim Trent said Wilson deserves the contract extension because he has done well in his position. She voted for his contract extension.
“To me, this vote is about the answer to a very basic question: Has President Wilson performed the duties of his position in such a way he deserves an opportunity to continue at WSU?” she said.
Cover photo by Jonathan Deschaine. BOG Beat Reporter Susana Hernandez contributed to this report.
Omar Abdel-Baqui is managing editor of The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.