According to the board agenda background summary, Tri-C currently has a three-year contact with Thornton that expires June 30, 2013. During this time, the contract allows the board to review the president’s salary, and to determine whether an increase is appropriate.
“Having reviewed Dr. Thornton’s base salary and her performance for fiscal year 2011, as well as considering the 1 percent salary increase awarded to college faculty and staff for FY 2012, the board has decided to award Dr. Thornton a 1 percent cost of living increase to her base salary,” the board document states.
Thornton’s current base salary is $259,000, and is expected to increase to $261,590 on July 1, 2012, the start of the next fiscal year.
Board of Trustee member Justin Bibb withheld his vote by abstention, while there were seven approvals and zero no-votes. Attempts to reach Bibb for comment were unsuccessful.
CCC Board Chair David Whitehead said each year the board of trustees performs a formal evaluation of Thornton’s work to be sure certain goals are being met. One of the considerations given to the president’s raise was the timing aligned with a 1 percent salary increase for union faculty members – but taking precedence, the board favors Thornton, and it wishes to keep her with Tri-C, he said.
“We did align it with the faculty increase,” Whitehead said. “But, in the bigger scheme of things, we have one of the most outstanding community college presidents in the country, and the trustees’ goal is to keep Dr. Thornton at the college for as long as we can.”
In 2010, Tri-C found agreement with the American Association of University Professors Tri-C chapter, the union representing full-time faculty, and signed a three-year contract with the following salary increases: no salary increase for the first year, a 1 percent increase in the second year, and a 2 percent increase in the third year, according to Robert Jaskulski, president of CCC’s chapter of the AAUP.
In comparison, the consumer price index, the rate at which the cost of living is calculated, rose 3.8 percent from August 2010, to August 2011, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. By the time Tri-C unionized faculty contracts are up for renegotiation in 2013, they will have seen a 3 percent increase in salary in the last three years, while the cost of living could have risen 10 percent.
Bronson Peshlakai reporting.
Metro Campus Associate Editor