Trustees To Vote On McDavis’ Pay Raises In January After Board’s Action Questioned

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The Ohio University Board of Trustees will hold a public vote at its January board meeting to approve raises for OU President Roderick McDavis and his wife, Deborah, after some have accused the board of illegally approving a 1 percent raise for the couple behind closed doors at its Nov. 1 meeting.

In August, the board approved a resolution to implement a 1 percent salary raise pool for both faculty and staff on all OU campuses. The guidelines as to who would be eligible to receive those raises were later developed by OU Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit and VP for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding.

The guidelines for the 1 percent raise pool were released in September and specify that all classified and union employees would receive a 1 percent raise across the board. Merit raises were also made available for faculty and administrative employees.

“Merit increases are to be based on the quality of an individual’s performance as evidenced by her/his performance evaluation,” the guidelines state. All raises would be retroactive to July 1, 2013.

According to OU spokeswoman Katie Quaranta, the board announced during its Nov. 1 meeting that McDavis and his wife would be indeed receiving a 1 percent raise. Quaranta said this was announced after a consensus was reached among board members during an executive session on the morning of Nov. 1. That consensus vote was announced during the public session of the Nov. 1 meeting.

Some have said that the trustees’ consensus vote behind closed doors was in violation of the state’s Sunshine Law, which prohibits public bodies from taking official action in an executive session.

However, OU Board of Trustees Secretary Pete Mather told the Columbus Dispatch this week that the board was only clarifying that McDavis and his wife would be included in the 1 percent raise pool.

In addition to approving the 1 percent raise pool for university employees in August, the board at that time announced that it would be giving McDavis a 2.89 percent base salary raise ($12,000) coupled with a 15 percent bonus of $62,250. The base salary increase and bonus bumped McDavis’ annual earnings to $489,250. The board announced it would also be giving the university’s first lady a pay boost to $30,900 — $900 above what she made the prior year.

In a statement Wednesday, Mather said the board has publicly released the president’s contract and his performance evaluation as well as publicly disclosed all elements of McDavis’ compensation, including the raise announced at the Aug. 29 board meeting for he and the first lady.

Mather went on to say that it’s the intention of the university’s board to perform its duties “in a way that demonstrates transparency, integrity, and full disclosure of its decisions and actions.”

“In order to ensure that all actions by the Ohio University are in compliance with open meeting laws, the board will discuss and formally vote on a resolution regarding the president’s and first lady’s salary increases at its next public meeting,” Mather wrote.

Mather clarified Thursday evening that the Board will take formal action in public session at the Jan. 23-24 meeting on all of the matters of compensation that were publicly announced but not voted on at the Aug. 29 and Nov. 1 meetings.

The 1 percent pay increase would boost McDavis’ base salary to over $431,000 and Mrs. McDavis’ to just over $31,200.

The Board’s January meeting will be held at OU’s Eastern Campus in St. Clairsville.