How two DFLers want to cut MnSCU exec salaries, other costs

Folks have crabbed for a while about the bureaucracy and executive salaries at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, and now two DFL state representatives want to slash those salaries, make other cuts and see how MnSCU could become more efficient.

As originally pointed out by the Winona Daily News, the bill by Gene Pelowski of Winona and Jeanne Poppe of Austin would keep the salaries of top executives — the chancellor, vice-chancellors and college presidents — no higher than the governor’s. The bill would also limit bonuses.

(For the chancellor, at least, that’s a slash of about two-thirds, considering his base salary of $360,000.)

The bill wants the state to evaluate how efficiently MnSCU is run, look for ways to cut costs and explore ideas such as:

  • breaking up MnSCU into a two administrative systems — one for two-year colleges and other for four-year institutions;
  • forming “multicampus” institutions;
  • eliminating duplicate services and programs, and basing delivery of shared services at the regional level; and
  • having district or subdistrict accreditation of institutions.

In a press release, Pelowski stated:

The state can only afford for the MnSCU system to have one level of administration, not two. Excessive administrative costs weigh heavily on the MnSCU budget.

It also wants to phase out system funding for “centers of excellence,” and leave it up to campuses to decide whether to fund the centers as part of their overall budget. Founded in 2005, the centers offer programs, research and K-12 outreach in health care, manufacturing and engineering, and information security. They’re located at four state universities and 18 community and technical colleges.

Also, any new “transformational initiatives” that the MnSCU board undertakes must be funded through the central office and shared services unit — through operation and maintenance money.

What I’m a little fuzzy on is this:

  1. If these are cost-saving ideas, why do Pelowski and Poppe want to break up MnSCU into two systems? Wouldn’t that create more bureaucracy?
  2. Pelowski suggests MnSCU should be run more like the University of Minnesota system:

    The University of Minnesota system and Twin Cities campus are overseen by a single President. The MnSCU system is overseen by a single chancellor, while each campus has a president.<!–

    But isn’t each U of M campus also overseen by a campus chancellor?

Something to get some clarification on.

Anyway, here’s the bill and here’s the press release.