POV | U of L compensation raises questions (4/28/15) - WDRB 41 Louisville News

POV | U of L compensation raises questions (4/28/15)

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WDRB President and General Manager Bill Lamb WDRB President and General Manager Bill Lamb
By Bill Lamb
President and General Manager
WDRB / WMYO-TV

A week ago, Chris Otts of WDRB.com had a story that has blown the roof off of the University of Louisville. He wrote of millions of dollars in deferred compensation being given to three people, including President James Ramsey, by the U of L Foundation. And there are no records showing if and when the Board of Trustees approved all this.

I don't know whether this conduct violates criminal statutes, but as my father used to say, "Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's right." It's likely just more incredibly bad governance with the appearance of self-dealing. Students, staff, faculty and alumni have been disturbed by these revelations, particularly since they only came to light through WDRB's investigative journalism.

Best practices in corporate governance, especially for the trustees as fiduciaries of a public university, would demand retention of an independent law firm from outside Kentucky to conduct a thorough investigation.

It's highly unusual for millions in deferred compensation to be paid indiscriminately to three state employees. An independent investigation would determine if any laws have been violated, whether the deferred compensation was proper and, if not, whether it should be returned. It would also propose best practices for Foundation compensation for the University's president and random employees he or she favors for gratuitous extra pay.

At a minimum, all such awards should require prior discussion and approval by the University's Board of Trustees. Otherwise, the board cannot ensure managerial accountability, since the board doesn't control management pay, and cannot ensure transparency in its governance of the University.

If you have an opinion on this, would you please share it with us?

I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my Point of View.

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