Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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Rogers sweetens the pot to keep Carpenter

University system Chancellor Jim Rogers is hoping a new, four-year contract with an additional $50,000 annual salary boost will persuade Richard Carpenter to stay as president of the Community College of Southern Nevada.

If approved by regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, Carpenter's new contract would include a longevity bonus for each year he stays , Rogers said Friday.

Carpenter is being pursued for the chancellor position at the North Harris Montgomery Community College District, a five-college district in the Houston area, and is negotiating with both systems to decide whether he will stay or go.

Carpenter, recovering from shoulder surgery this week, has not returned requests for comment.

Carpenter initially rejected North Harris' original offer of $320,000 - $40,000 more than he makes now in Nevada with all perks included - and is waiting for a counter offer from Texas that he indicated previously would need to include more than financial considerations.

North Harris trustees have scheduled meetings for Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss their offer to Carpenter.

Meanwhile, CCSN Foundation trustees and the Nevada Board of Regents are reviewing Rogers' planned compensation package in meetings next week.

On Friday CCSN Foundation executive trustees voted unanimously to boost their current $50,000 supplement to Carpenter by a maximum of $25,000 a year. Trustees agreed to match whatever pay raise regents approve, which Rogers hopes will be $25,000.

Carpenter "has not asked for this raise and has not had any part of it, but you have to know he is being pursued by other colleges," trustee Al Whalen said in advocating the increase. With several ongoing projects and a fundraising campaign about to be launched, the college cannot afford to change leadership, Whalen said.

The full CCSN Foundation must still approve the supplement in a public meeting Wednesday, and then the full Board of Regents will consider the issue in a special meeting Friday.

Interviews with 12 of the 13 regents this week showed a consensus that Carpenter had done an outstanding job and that they hoped to keep him. The majority, however, had questions about the compensation package, including whether increasing his salary would lead to further raises for other presidents.

"We're a world of scarce resources so it is always a tough call," Regent Chairman Bret Whipple said. "I do not want Rogers and Carpenter to come to an understanding and then (we) pull the rug out from under them."

Carpenter seems destined to become one of the highest-paid community college presidents in the country, whether he accepts the Nevada pay raise or takes the job in Texas.

Community college presidents make an average of $160,000 nationwide, according to a 2007 American Association of Community Colleges study. Presidents at larger community colleges or multi campus colleges such as CCSN make about $200,000, according to a October 2005 Chronicle of Higher Education survey, the most recent data available.

According to that survey, Carpenter ran the seventh - largest community college in the country and had the eighth - highest base salary at $213,000. When all perks were considered, Carpenter's salary at the time was equal to that of North Harris' retiring chancellor, and that was before the CCSN Foundation started supplementing his salary by $50,000 a year.

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