Bemidji prez gets full year's bonus despite mid-year retirement

The Bemidji Pioneer has criticized the hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses to top MnSCU officials, saying they’re just a way to dodge the freeze in their base pay.

It brings up the curious case of Bemidji State University President Jon Quistgaard, who it says received a $15,000 bonus on top of his $291,191 compensation package in 2009.

President Quistgaard retired midway through 2010, yet received the maximum bonus. President Quistgaard finished out his career at BSU as an innovative educator who oversaw many positive changes during his tenure, but a public employee salary of more than $300,000 during a recession and tight budgetary times seems a bit excessive — especially in Bemidji. And performance pay directed at providing incentive to do better seems wasted on someone who has retired.

You can read the full editorial here.

Update/clarification: Bemidji State spokesman Andy Bartlett wrote in that the Pioneer editorial had misunderstood the timing of the bonus:

Just to clarify, these bonuses were awarded for fiscal year 2010 — which covered the entire 2009-2010 academic year. The bonus given to the former BSU President was for the fiscal year, not a calendar year; thus the statement that the bonus was awarded for half a year is incorrect.