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College leaders take a pay cut

MIDDLEBURY — In an effort to save money during the public health crisis, which continues to negatively affect its finances, Middlebury College announced late last week that it has reduced the salaries of President Laurie Patton and the members of her Senior Leadership Group (SLG), effective immediately.
“The goal here, among other cost-saving measures … is to put Middlebury in the strongest position to handle the unknowns and to help bring spending in line with our reduced revenue streams,” wrote Patton and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration David Provost in the April 23 announcement, which is posted on the college website. “This is about doing all that we can right now to reduce the harshest potential impacts of the financial pressures on Middlebury while keeping wage continuity as our highest priority.”
Patton has reduced her salary by 20% and the SLG will be reducing theirs by 10% to 15%, according to the announcement. The reductions will remain in place indefinitely and be re-evaluated on a month-by-month basis.
At a college forum on the pay of Middlebury College administrators in April 2018, Patton said her salary was $575,000, according to the Middlebury Campus newspaper. At the same forum she noted that taking into account the charitable deductions on her tax return “I actually make about three-fifths of that.”
The salary reduction was one of several cost-cutting measures the college announced last week, which included salary and hiring freezes, and budget reductions.
Middlebury has committed to “wage continuity” through the end of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, but officials have hinted that the college could be coming up on tough times.
“There is little doubt that we will need to make hard choices in the weeks and months ahead, and that these will require sacrifices across the institution,” they wrote.
After figuring in the latest numbers, Patton and Provost estimated that the coronavirus pandemic will result in a $13 million deficit for the current fiscal year. 
For FY2021 the most optimistic assessment at this time shows a $30 million shortfall.
Officials are modeling a number of different scenarios for how to proceed in the fall and will release more information about that in the near future, they said.
“In this situation we have no guarantees, but we do have Middlebury grit and hope on our side.”
Reach Christopher Ross at christopherr@addisonindependent.com.

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