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October 25, 2014

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Nevada Wonk

Dina Titus retires from UNLV with $162,000 buyout

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Dina Titus

Retirement so far is working out great for former U.S. Rep. Dina Titus.

She recently accepted a lucrative buyout from UNLV, where she has taught for decades, a move that leaves her time and money to travel, relax and explore her next step. Her top choice: a return to politics.

Titus will receive a $162,000 lump sum for giving up her tenured political science professor’s job at the end of this month. She is one of 48 professors who accepted 150 percent of their annual salary to retire. (Titus’ husband, history professor Thomas Wright, also took the buyout. He will receive a $212,000 payout.)

Titus will still teach — she already is lined up to teach a nuclear politics course at UNLV this fall — and she is all but guaranteed a professor emeritus title. The honorary position already has been approved by the political science department; the university just has to finalize it, she said.

On top of the buyout money, Titus will receive about $3,000 for teaching the nuclear politics class, and she will continue to advise doctoral students but will receive no salary for that role. Without a full-time job, she’ll have more time to work on a book she’s writing, explore opportunities as an international political consultant and plan her next campaign.

“I’m certainly looking into it,” Titus said when asked about a future bid. “We’re watching the numbers and redistricting. I’ll probably make a decision in the fall.”

Titus, a Democrat, lost House reelection in November after being narrowly defeated by Republican Joe Heck. While she is vague about specifics, she has made no secret of her desire to once again run for public office. Most suspect she will try for Nevada’s new 4th Congressional District.

Titus’ return to university life after being on leave while serving in Congress was bumpy. Weeks after the semester began, the UNLV College Republicans launched a vicious campaign against her, criticizing her course load and campus radio show and accusing her of using university resources to further her political career. The College Republicans repeatedly claimed she earned $100,000 for teaching only one class and accused her of using the university to maintain her visibility while she pondered another race.

In fact, Titus earned $107,855 annually for teaching one course, hosting a radio show and collaborating with the Black Mountain Institute. (She took home half that -- $53,958 -- for teaching the spring semester.) She said her radio show focused on literature, history, social welfare and other non-political topics.

Titus on Thursday denied that the criticism forced her out but seemed to concede that it played a role in her decision.

“A lot of things came together at the right time,” Titus said. “I’ve been there 34 years and they were good years all around, but it’s time to redirect my energy.”

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  1. How do you retire and still get paid to teach? I feel duped!

  2. I'm no right-winger, but the disgust at this is appropriate. It is symbolic of waste in higher education, while K-12 educators get pilloried for receiving pay only 1/3 as much.
    I guarantee that there is an oversupply of qualified candidates to teach political science, and that plenty would happily do so for much less than $107K for one course at a time. Realistically, former state senator or not, was Dina Titus really that special of a classroom presence? Time to get ALL UNLV professors' salaries in line with contemporary realities. Her husband was earning, what? $140K per year? Higher education, especially in poly-sci and the social sciences, is over-impacted and without job prospects, other than... you guessed it -- teaching. We don't need to be paying northwards of $100K for these part-time public employees. There are plenty more where they came from. Professors at un-outstanding UNLV are NOT hot properties.

  3. I think that it is good that she has "left" the university, at least as a full tenured professor. Does she get any other benefits (such as a pension and if so, how much)? I think that when Titus runs for political office again, this matter of her carrying a very light load for a full time salary will be revisited. With the present bad economy our state, abnormalities such as Titus's, a person who hoped to actually represent the people of our state, should not exist.

  4. What a waste of money....She IS the poster child for government waste, fraud and abuse !!

  5. Dina Titus should get her retirement. She was a valuable asset to the teaching community. Unfortunately for most Las Vegans that post here, Professors, teachers are treated with disdain. CEO's their the valuable ones!

    Anybody that can rig the system in their favor to the detriment of everybody else is A O K with the posters here. In the twisted world of Mr. Fink and his ilk, people who dedicate themselves to education should get the One Finger Salute.

    This is the GOP of today! Working people deserve poor wages and more poverty. Thank You for showing your true colors, Jerry!

    The modern GOP hates all Democrats and thinks that they are Un-American. We have a free democracy! Until we have a total fascist state(the GOP's Dream Dystopia),
    I have the right to tell you that people who dedicate their lives to education should be rewarded with a retirement package.

    You haters are dead wrong and full of lies that are told to you by the Right Wing media propaganda. You are the stupid ones who can't think for your selves.

  6. Mobashir - Titus and the other professors who took the buyout will receive benefits, depending on their length of service.

    For instance, those with at least five years of service are eligible to continue health benefits as a retiree as long as they draw some sort of retirement income from the University retirement plan.

    For full details of the buyout, visit http://hr.unlv.edu/pdf/TFVSIP_FAQ.pdf.

  7. wtk2 - My reporting was accurate. The story specifically states that Titus earned $107,855 annually and that she performed other duties besides teaching one class, such as doing research with the Black Mountain Institute and hosting a radio show.

    However, I have since added a line to clarify that she took home half that amount, or $53,958, for the Spring semester.

    I would also point out that TItus' buyout was based on her annual salary ($107,855), not the actual salary she earned in 2011 ($53,958).

  8. I just hope she gets back into politics.

    In CD3, I sure as hell miss her. I voted for her, but she came up just a little bit short because it was an off Presidential election year with low voter turnout. And the Republican Party mouth machine drive was operating in hyper overdrive...promising many things but coming through with little.

    She genuinely cared for the people here. Especially the Veterans.

    Not like this brain dead Republican that replaced her (Heck). In the short time he's been upon his imperial throne, he has proven he cares only about himself and nobody else.

    I mean, c'mon! My stupid Congressman goes on record and calls Social Security "a pyramid scheme?" And has no earthly clue what to replace it with except to just go ahead and trash an institution that has been in place that is proven to work? Then he comes out with some pamphlet (because he's afraid to meet his constituents face-to-face) that says he misspoke, but the pamphlet goes on to trash Social Security. Then, right after that, he shows up on a local Nevada right wing hate radio show and agrees with a caller that Social Security is indeed "a pyramid scheme." Which is it? Or are you just doing a fish impression and flip flopping all over the place?

    Just the other night, I got yet another robotical call asking for me to participate in some stupid question/answer period with Congressman Heck; wherein I ask some question that filters through phone lines and my Congressman chooses whether he wishes to entertain it and answer it or not. And the robotical voice assured me Heck cares and most importantly that this is a toll free call.

    To make a long story short, I hung up on this crap in mid phone call before the spiel about I get a free 10-piece Ronco dinner set for participating. This is actually the FOURTH robotical call I've had with my Congressman. Because everyone in my area knows he is afraid of everyone in Eastern Las Vegas.

    I'm gonna call him Robo Heck from now on. Sounds serious Terminator sci fi crap, but it's appropriate. Robo Heck.

    I can't wait to vote him out.

    He's as useless as both Paris Hilton and Snooky participating in a Harvard political debate...

  9. Regardless of how one may feel about Prof. Titus' politics, how many Universities in the nation have a former US congresswoman as one of their faculty members? She had a lifetime of experience that would have aided her students and colleagues immensely. This is a great loss for UNLV.

  10. At least Ms. Dina Titus had the guts to have town hall meetings in Eastern Las Vegas and meet her constituents face-to-face.

    Congressman Robo Heck believes in the power of the telephone only. And God forbid if he actually has to look a constituent in the eye and answer questions! The way the idiot acts is that he feels that we serve him, not the other way around.

    Yes, I agree he won. It was by 1,900 votes. And yes, I should have personally went out and pounded the pavement to ensure Dina Titus served another term. But that's not an excuse for why we should all be short shrifted by who was in fact elected into power. It's also not an excuse for him to do whatever the hell he wants whenever he wants only for himself. Congressman Robo Heck is an opportunist.

    To prove my point, in a little over 165 days, there have been just about 70 bills go through this 112th Congress. Out of those bills, not ONE deals with fixing the unemployment rate, trying to do anything to put this economy on a road to any type of success and not one single bill has any damn thing to do with creating any type of job at all. As a matter of fact, they have taken away jobs more than create them.

    And then here he comes along and says a tried and true institution of America is "a pyramid scheme?" The man is addled.

    This is going to be the legacy of Congressman Robo Heck. He is a part of this rodeo we call a Congress right now. He seems perfectly content in destroying America, ripping apart the middle class to voluntarily contribute to corporate welfare. The only accomplishment Congressman Robo Heck has done so far is swear total fealty to party politics, and party politics only. America can go to hell in a handbasket for all he cares. He's got his. You ain't got yours? Tough. Just another run-of-the-mill selfish bastard of a politician to represent Nevada.

    He don't represent me.

    Nor does he represent CD3.

    He don't even represent Nevada.

    He represents Speaker Boehner.

  11. Dina Titus never met a tax that was high enough. I'm glad she is gone.