NEW ORLEANS — The Southern University Board of Supervisors quickly approved a $270,000 pay package for incoming Chancellor James Llorens on Friday before he takes over the job next week.
But the Southern Board did have issues with the salary and six-month sabbatical negotiated with out-going Chancellor Kofi Lomotey, who still is a tenured professor. His background is in urban education.
Needing nine votes to approve Lomotey’s deal, the Southern Board voted 9-4 to approve Lomotey’s new $120,000 salary and sabbatical. He previously had a $295,000 pay package.
Southern Board member Tony Clayton, of Port Allen, questioned whether Lomotey should receive $10,000 a month or more while he is away on sabbatical.
Clayton also argued Lomotey should have a $90,000 salary on par with the college’s average when pay for deans is included.
“He’s not going to take $60,000 (for six months), go home and do nothing,” said board member Chip Forstall, of New Orleans, who chairs the personnel committee.
Forstall said Lomotey has committed to working with Llorens through the transition process. Lomotey also will be writing an academic book and preparing lecture materials for his return to the classroom.
Southern Faculty Senate President Sudhir Trivedi said Lomotey should not automatically get an earned sabbatical and a high salary at a time when Southern faculty are taking 10 percent pay cuts in summer school teaching.
Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said the deal is a step forward from previous top administrators who retained more of their executive pay when they returned to the classroom.
As for Llorens’ deal, he will have a $250,000 base salary and a $20,000 housing allowance in a three-year contract with an optional fourth year.
Llorens, 64, was Southern’s graduate studies dean when he lost out on the chancellor job in 2008 to Lomotey. Llorens then retired from Southern and became assistant chief administrative officer for Mayor-President Kip Holden.
Lomotey later resigned under pressure after clashing with the faculty and the Southern Board, and Llorens again sought to lead Southern’s main campus.
“I expect the transition to go well,” Llorens said Friday, noting that he has been spending some time on campus meeting with Lomotey’s staff and getting reacquainted.
Llorens said he has begun studying Southern’s budget, which is continuing to decline because of enrollment losses and the state’s higher education performance funding formula.
“That’s the first order of business to address, the budget issue,” Llorens said. “There’ll be some very serious adjustments to be made.”
Llorens’ new contract was unanimously approved by the Southern Board.
Those board members voting for Lomotey’s deal were Chip Forstall, Darren Mire, Patrick Bell, Murphy Bell, Patrick Jefferson, Myron Lawson, Pat Magee, Randal Gaines and Samuel Tolbert.
Those opposed were Calvin Braxton, Tony Clayton, Walter Dumas and Willie Hendricks.