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Topic:  RE: Another $100k

Topic:  RE: Another $100k
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BillyTheCat
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Member Since: 10/6/2012
Post Count: 6,541

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/9/2020 1:22:14 PM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Even better, according to the ANews, this bonus and the NEXT bonus were voted on by the Trustees behind closed doors. And the bantering between the interim president and the board, neither wanting credit for this is a sign of dysfunction and lack of leadership.


I'd venture to guess that a once every three year bonus of 100k in an organization with an operating budget that exceeds 2 billion dollars over that same time period simply isn't a decision that the President or Board of Trustees puts much thought into at all. Why should they?

So far the only answer I've seen is "optics." But that answer tends to come from the people upset about the optics.


Has anyone asked this question? How many other non-athletic contracts does OU currently have out there with a longevity clause in it?



Not sure how we'd know. But in an organization of this size, I'd be shocked if there aren't more retention bonuses. It's not abnormal practice for employers.


We'd know if we had any media coverage of what is happening here in Athens. Since Terry Smith retired and Conor Morris moved to Cleveland, investigative journalism has disaappered from Athen County. Heck, we have a council person proposing an ordinance where if you plant a few polinator friendly plants in your yard, you don't have to mow your grass all year. No one knows about this because we have no press coverage. A simple records request asking for a copy of all contracts containing a retention bonus would do the trick.



Bingo! And Im sorry to those who failed to realize that all reports are this is a longevity bonus and not a performance bonus. My bad, I thought youd actually read online news before commenting with you opinions. This, according to the interim president, this was longevity only. New bonus was/is longevity as well. That alone screams that performance is not an issue.


At what point did anybody say this was a performance bonus? Feel free to quote them. It's one of the benefits of a conversation online -- all of the words are there.

All I've said here is that retention bonuses aren't uncommon and are used by employers when they feel like continuity is important on particular teams or for particular people. I know I'm supposed to grab a pitchfork and start screaming, but just not seeing it here.



But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?



Same said Board she works closely with. Hmmmmm

And yes, BLS, it has been mentioned here that she possibly met goals of performance
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BillyTheCat
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Member Since: 10/6/2012
Post Count: 6,541

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/9/2020 1:24:53 PM 
BLS

Your own words, which suggest that performance was part of this.


"I don't see how we have enough context from our vantage point to know with any degree of certainty. We don't know what she's accomplished in the role, the scope of it, or what the market would pay her otherwise.
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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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Member Since: 7/30/2010
Post Count: 1,719

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/9/2020 1:25:33 PM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Even better, according to the ANews, this bonus and the NEXT bonus were voted on by the Trustees behind closed doors. And the bantering between the interim president and the board, neither wanting credit for this is a sign of dysfunction and lack of leadership.


I'd venture to guess that a once every three year bonus of 100k in an organization with an operating budget that exceeds 2 billion dollars over that same time period simply isn't a decision that the President or Board of Trustees puts much thought into at all. Why should they?

So far the only answer I've seen is "optics." But that answer tends to come from the people upset about the optics.


Has anyone asked this question? How many other non-athletic contracts does OU currently have out there with a longevity clause in it?



Not sure how we'd know. But in an organization of this size, I'd be shocked if there aren't more retention bonuses. It's not abnormal practice for employers.


We'd know if we had any media coverage of what is happening here in Athens. Since Terry Smith retired and Conor Morris moved to Cleveland, investigative journalism has disaappered from Athen County. Heck, we have a council person proposing an ordinance where if you plant a few polinator friendly plants in your yard, you don't have to mow your grass all year. No one knows about this because we have no press coverage. A simple records request asking for a copy of all contracts containing a retention bonus would do the trick.



Bingo! And Im sorry to those who failed to realize that all reports are this is a longevity bonus and not a performance bonus. My bad, I thought youd actually read online news before commenting with you opinions. This, according to the interim president, this was longevity only. New bonus was/is longevity as well. That alone screams that performance is not an issue.


At what point did anybody say this was a performance bonus? Feel free to quote them. It's one of the benefits of a conversation online -- all of the words are there.

All I've said here is that retention bonuses aren't uncommon and are used by employers when they feel like continuity is important on particular teams or for particular people. I know I'm supposed to grab a pitchfork and start screaming, but just not seeing it here.



But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?



I'm not sure. Can you explain what you think is odd about it? Does the board not ordinarily sign off on compensation?

Also, was this employee hired during the tenure of the interim President?
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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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Member Since: 7/30/2010
Post Count: 1,719

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/9/2020 1:30:17 PM 
BillyTheCat wrote:
BLS

Your own words, which suggest that performance was part of this.


"I don't see how we have enough context from our vantage point to know with any degree of certainty. We don't know what she's accomplished in the role, the scope of it, or what the market would pay her otherwise.


Yes, but I didn't say that in response to somebody saying "is this a performance bonus?"

I recognize and have acknowledged the terms of the bonus. I even provided context for how/when companies use those bonuses. So obviously I'm distinguishing between the two.

That was in response to the following:

"In my humble opinion, however, no one "deserves" a 100k bonus if anyone is getting laid off for financial reasons."

The reason performance was being discussed is in the context of whether or not her performance in her role merits the compensation package she negotiated. That posted doesn't think it's possible given the circumstances. I just stated that we have no real way of knowing how she has performed and the value she's brought, but that I don't think it's impossible to earn her salary and retention bonus.

It's unclear to me what you actually disagree with about that.


Last Edited: 10/9/2020 1:32:46 PM by Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame

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Alan Swank
General User

Member Since: 12/11/2004
Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,164

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/9/2020 5:59:46 PM 
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Even better, according to the ANews, this bonus and the NEXT bonus were voted on by the Trustees behind closed doors. And the bantering between the interim president and the board, neither wanting credit for this is a sign of dysfunction and lack of leadership.


I'd venture to guess that a once every three year bonus of 100k in an organization with an operating budget that exceeds 2 billion dollars over that same time period simply isn't a decision that the President or Board of Trustees puts much thought into at all. Why should they?

So far the only answer I've seen is "optics." But that answer tends to come from the people upset about the optics.


Has anyone asked this question? How many other non-athletic contracts does OU currently have out there with a longevity clause in it?



Not sure how we'd know. But in an organization of this size, I'd be shocked if there aren't more retention bonuses. It's not abnormal practice for employers.


We'd know if we had any media coverage of what is happening here in Athens. Since Terry Smith retired and Conor Morris moved to Cleveland, investigative journalism has disaappered from Athen County. Heck, we have a council person proposing an ordinance where if you plant a few polinator friendly plants in your yard, you don't have to mow your grass all year. No one knows about this because we have no press coverage. A simple records request asking for a copy of all contracts containing a retention bonus would do the trick.



Bingo! And Im sorry to those who failed to realize that all reports are this is a longevity bonus and not a performance bonus. My bad, I thought youd actually read online news before commenting with you opinions. This, according to the interim president, this was longevity only. New bonus was/is longevity as well. That alone screams that performance is not an issue.


At what point did anybody say this was a performance bonus? Feel free to quote them. It's one of the benefits of a conversation online -- all of the words are there.

All I've said here is that retention bonuses aren't uncommon and are used by employers when they feel like continuity is important on particular teams or for particular people. I know I'm supposed to grab a pitchfork and start screaming, but just not seeing it here.



But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?



I'm not sure. Can you explain what you think is odd about it? Does the board not ordinarily sign off on compensation?

Also, was this employee hired during the tenure of the interim President?


Sign off, perhaps. Initiate is what they did in this matter.

No, she started her new role at OU in 2016. Nellis came in 2017.
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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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Member Since: 7/30/2010
Post Count: 1,719

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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/10/2020 8:19:09 AM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Even better, according to the ANews, this bonus and the NEXT bonus were voted on by the Trustees behind closed doors. And the bantering between the interim president and the board, neither wanting credit for this is a sign of dysfunction and lack of leadership.


I'd venture to guess that a once every three year bonus of 100k in an organization with an operating budget that exceeds 2 billion dollars over that same time period simply isn't a decision that the President or Board of Trustees puts much thought into at all. Why should they?

So far the only answer I've seen is "optics." But that answer tends to come from the people upset about the optics.


Has anyone asked this question? How many other non-athletic contracts does OU currently have out there with a longevity clause in it?



Not sure how we'd know. But in an organization of this size, I'd be shocked if there aren't more retention bonuses. It's not abnormal practice for employers.


We'd know if we had any media coverage of what is happening here in Athens. Since Terry Smith retired and Conor Morris moved to Cleveland, investigative journalism has disaappered from Athen County. Heck, we have a council person proposing an ordinance where if you plant a few polinator friendly plants in your yard, you don't have to mow your grass all year. No one knows about this because we have no press coverage. A simple records request asking for a copy of all contracts containing a retention bonus would do the trick.



Bingo! And Im sorry to those who failed to realize that all reports are this is a longevity bonus and not a performance bonus. My bad, I thought youd actually read online news before commenting with you opinions. This, according to the interim president, this was longevity only. New bonus was/is longevity as well. That alone screams that performance is not an issue.


At what point did anybody say this was a performance bonus? Feel free to quote them. It's one of the benefits of a conversation online -- all of the words are there.

All I've said here is that retention bonuses aren't uncommon and are used by employers when they feel like continuity is important on particular teams or for particular people. I know I'm supposed to grab a pitchfork and start screaming, but just not seeing it here.



But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?



I'm not sure. Can you explain what you think is odd about it? Does the board not ordinarily sign off on compensation?

Also, was this employee hired during the tenure of the interim President?


Sign off, perhaps. Initiate is what they did in this matter.

No, she started her new role at OU in 2016. Nellis came in 2017.


The interim President, in his letter to the editor throwing Schaffer under the bus, stated that "he saw nothing irregular" in the trustees handling of this.

It seems like the trustees have the ability to make compensation changes for certain employees, but that those changes need to be signed off on by the President. The President signed the contract.

What do you see as irregular in this?
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OUPride
General User

Member Since: 9/21/2010
Post Count: 450

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/10/2020 8:38:28 AM 
The university has put up a website in response to the criticism.

https://www.thepostathens.com/article/2020/10/ohio-univer...

https://www.ohio.edu/budget/executive-compensation#instit...
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Alan Swank
General User

Member Since: 12/11/2004
Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,164

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/10/2020 8:44:34 AM 
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Even better, according to the ANews, this bonus and the NEXT bonus were voted on by the Trustees behind closed doors. And the bantering between the interim president and the board, neither wanting credit for this is a sign of dysfunction and lack of leadership.


I'd venture to guess that a once every three year bonus of 100k in an organization with an operating budget that exceeds 2 billion dollars over that same time period simply isn't a decision that the President or Board of Trustees puts much thought into at all. Why should they?

So far the only answer I've seen is "optics." But that answer tends to come from the people upset about the optics.


Has anyone asked this question? How many other non-athletic contracts does OU currently have out there with a longevity clause in it?



Not sure how we'd know. But in an organization of this size, I'd be shocked if there aren't more retention bonuses. It's not abnormal practice for employers.


We'd know if we had any media coverage of what is happening here in Athens. Since Terry Smith retired and Conor Morris moved to Cleveland, investigative journalism has disaappered from Athen County. Heck, we have a council person proposing an ordinance where if you plant a few polinator friendly plants in your yard, you don't have to mow your grass all year. No one knows about this because we have no press coverage. A simple records request asking for a copy of all contracts containing a retention bonus would do the trick.



Bingo! And Im sorry to those who failed to realize that all reports are this is a longevity bonus and not a performance bonus. My bad, I thought youd actually read online news before commenting with you opinions. This, according to the interim president, this was longevity only. New bonus was/is longevity as well. That alone screams that performance is not an issue.


At what point did anybody say this was a performance bonus? Feel free to quote them. It's one of the benefits of a conversation online -- all of the words are there.

All I've said here is that retention bonuses aren't uncommon and are used by employers when they feel like continuity is important on particular teams or for particular people. I know I'm supposed to grab a pitchfork and start screaming, but just not seeing it here.



But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?



I'm not sure. Can you explain what you think is odd about it? Does the board not ordinarily sign off on compensation?

Also, was this employee hired during the tenure of the interim President?


Sign off, perhaps. Initiate is what they did in this matter.

No, she started her new role at OU in 2016. Nellis came in 2017.


The interim President, in his letter to the editor throwing Schaffer under the bus, stated that "he saw nothing irregular" in the trustees handling of this.

It seems like the trustees have the ability to make compensation changes for certain employees, but that those changes need to be signed off on by the President. The President signed the contract.

What do you see as irregular in this?


He also said "I never would have initiated a conversation with her on this topic because I did not believe her performance was sufficiently meritorious to warrant such an incentive to stay. Had she proposed such a conversation I would have declined to do so, just as I declined to act on any number of other suggestions she made while I was interim president."

In other words, he wasn't particularly impressed with her performance.

Last Edited: 10/10/2020 8:47:31 AM by Alan Swank

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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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Member Since: 7/30/2010
Post Count: 1,719

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/10/2020 2:15:22 PM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Even better, according to the ANews, this bonus and the NEXT bonus were voted on by the Trustees behind closed doors. And the bantering between the interim president and the board, neither wanting credit for this is a sign of dysfunction and lack of leadership.


I'd venture to guess that a once every three year bonus of 100k in an organization with an operating budget that exceeds 2 billion dollars over that same time period simply isn't a decision that the President or Board of Trustees puts much thought into at all. Why should they?

So far the only answer I've seen is "optics." But that answer tends to come from the people upset about the optics.


Has anyone asked this question? How many other non-athletic contracts does OU currently have out there with a longevity clause in it?



Not sure how we'd know. But in an organization of this size, I'd be shocked if there aren't more retention bonuses. It's not abnormal practice for employers.


We'd know if we had any media coverage of what is happening here in Athens. Since Terry Smith retired and Conor Morris moved to Cleveland, investigative journalism has disaappered from Athen County. Heck, we have a council person proposing an ordinance where if you plant a few polinator friendly plants in your yard, you don't have to mow your grass all year. No one knows about this because we have no press coverage. A simple records request asking for a copy of all contracts containing a retention bonus would do the trick.



Bingo! And Im sorry to those who failed to realize that all reports are this is a longevity bonus and not a performance bonus. My bad, I thought youd actually read online news before commenting with you opinions. This, according to the interim president, this was longevity only. New bonus was/is longevity as well. That alone screams that performance is not an issue.


At what point did anybody say this was a performance bonus? Feel free to quote them. It's one of the benefits of a conversation online -- all of the words are there.

All I've said here is that retention bonuses aren't uncommon and are used by employers when they feel like continuity is important on particular teams or for particular people. I know I'm supposed to grab a pitchfork and start screaming, but just not seeing it here.



But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?



I'm not sure. Can you explain what you think is odd about it? Does the board not ordinarily sign off on compensation?

Also, was this employee hired during the tenure of the interim President?


Sign off, perhaps. Initiate is what they did in this matter.

No, she started her new role at OU in 2016. Nellis came in 2017.


The interim President, in his letter to the editor throwing Schaffer under the bus, stated that "he saw nothing irregular" in the trustees handling of this.

It seems like the trustees have the ability to make compensation changes for certain employees, but that those changes need to be signed off on by the President. The President signed the contract.

What do you see as irregular in this?


He also said "I never would have initiated a conversation with her on this topic because I did not believe her performance was sufficiently meritorious to warrant such an incentive to stay. Had she proposed such a conversation I would have declined to do so, just as I declined to act on any number of other suggestions she made while I was interim president."

In other words, he wasn't particularly impressed with her performance.


But the board and Nellis are. I'm not sure why we should care much about an interim President who publicly calls out former employees of his for poor performance. That's terrible leadership, and an embarrassing way for a leader of our university to handle himself. Especially given that his signature was on the contract.

Who knows, maybe he's right. But the people who are actually tasked with making that decision disagree.
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Alan Swank
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Member Since: 12/11/2004
Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,164

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/10/2020 2:30:35 PM 
He felt it necessary to tell his side of the story. I respect that far more than someone who simply spews the company line. Going along has gotten us into way too many messes.

Last Edited: 10/10/2020 4:03:50 PM by Alan Swank

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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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Post Count: 1,719

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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/11/2020 1:29:54 PM 
Alan Swank wrote:
He felt it necessary to tell his side of the story. I respect that far more than someone who simply spews the company line. Going along has gotten us into way too many messes.



He went along at the time. What good is saying "I didn't want to do this" a year later? He was the President. It was up to him. He signed off, and then claims no responsibility when folks disagree. Based on the limited knowledge we have, I'm not sure I see what to respect in that behavior.

Last Edited: 10/11/2020 1:30:19 PM by Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame

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Alan Swank
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Member Since: 12/11/2004
Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,164

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/11/2020 8:17:10 PM 
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
He felt it necessary to tell his side of the story. I respect that far more than someone who simply spews the company line. Going along has gotten us into way too many messes.



He went along at the time. What good is saying "I didn't want to do this" a year later? He was the President. It was up to him. He signed off, and then claims no responsibility when folks disagree. Based on the limited knowledge we have, I'm not sure I see what to respect in that behavior.


Go back and read his letter to the editor. It clearly states his version of the story which is different from the narrative that the university has spun. He had every reason and right to set the record straight. Whether he signed the contract or not is immaterial - his employer, the trustees, had already agreed to grant the bonus.

https://www.athensnews.com/opinion/letters/former-interim...
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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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Member Since: 7/30/2010
Post Count: 1,719

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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/12/2020 12:31:22 PM 
Alan Swank wrote:


Go back and read his letter to the editor. It clearly states his version of the story which is different from the narrative that the university has spun. He had every reason and right to set the record straight. Whether he signed the contract or not is immaterial - his employer, the trustees, had already agreed to grant the bonus.

https://www.athensnews.com/opinion/letters/former-interim...


I've read the letter.

In it, Descutner described the trustees awarding that bonus thusly: "I understood the Trustees had the authority to make such a decision, and I did not view their decision as irregular in any way."

Earlier, you said:

Alan Swank wrote:
But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?


To answer that question directly: no, I do not think that's odd and either does Descutner.

Why? Because the board of trustees followed the procedure for executive compensation laid out by the university by laws. They have the right and discretion to make suggestions to the President -- which they did -- but ultimately, he has to sign off. Which he did. One of the Trustees, David Wolfort, made the suggestion to the board, and spoke to President-elect Nellis about it.

If Descutner truly felt that Shaffer's performance didn't merit the bonus, the time to speak up was when he was President. He had the authority to do so. Instead, he resorted to petty, public finger pointing 3 years later. He could have written an op-ed simply stating that he never negotiated with Shaffer directly and this decision was made by the board. Instead, he added that she didn't deserve the money. What purpose does that serve? What's professional about that? Make you want to sign up to work at Ohio University?

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Alan Swank
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Member Since: 12/11/2004
Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,164

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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/12/2020 12:49:31 PM 
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:


Go back and read his letter to the editor. It clearly states his version of the story which is different from the narrative that the university has spun. He had every reason and right to set the record straight. Whether he signed the contract or not is immaterial - his employer, the trustees, had already agreed to grant the bonus.

https://www.athensnews.com/opinion/letters/former-interim...


I've read the letter.

In it, Descutner described the trustees awarding that bonus thusly: "I understood the Trustees had the authority to make such a decision, and I did not view their decision as irregular in any way."

Earlier, you said:

Alan Swank wrote:
But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?


To answer that question directly: no, I do not think that's odd and either does Descutner.

Why? Because the board of trustees followed the procedure for executive compensation laid out by the university by laws. They have the right and discretion to make suggestions to the President -- which they did -- but ultimately, he has to sign off. Which he did. One of the Trustees, David Wolfort, made the suggestion to the board, and spoke to President-elect Nellis about it.

If Descutner truly felt that Shaffer's performance didn't merit the bonus, the time to speak up was when he was President. He had the authority to do so. Instead, he resorted to petty, public finger pointing 3 years later. He could have written an op-ed simply stating that he never negotiated with Shaffer directly and this decision was made by the board. Instead, he added that she didn't deserve the money. What purpose does that serve? What's professional about that? Make you want to sign up to work at Ohio University?



This conversation is like two cats chasing each other around a barrel for eternity. As for speaking up back then, his letter makes it very clear that they had already made up their minds.

". . . the narrative claims, citing a university spokesperson, that the bonus"was also made at the direction of the OU Board of Trustees. Allow me to provide some additional context. At the spring 2017 Trustees meeting, I was approached by two Trustees who asked to talk with me in private. They told me that the Trustees had decided to award Ms. Shaffer a retention bonus to secure her services through June 2020. They made it plain that they were seeking neither my input nor my approval because the Trustees had already decided."

I don't consider it petty finger pointing but simply defending himself by stating the facts as he recalled them. I live here and he has lived in our neighborhood for 23 years so I'm much closer to the daily conversation around this. Quite pointedly, many if not most in town are appalled by this. As for signing up to work for OU, I'd say the university has much bigger image problems and issues than this.

Last Edited: 10/12/2020 4:15:46 PM by Alan Swank

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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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Member Since: 7/30/2010
Post Count: 1,719

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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/12/2020 7:21:59 PM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:


Go back and read his letter to the editor. It clearly states his version of the story which is different from the narrative that the university has spun. He had every reason and right to set the record straight. Whether he signed the contract or not is immaterial - his employer, the trustees, had already agreed to grant the bonus.

https://www.athensnews.com/opinion/letters/former-interim...


I've read the letter.

In it, Descutner described the trustees awarding that bonus thusly: "I understood the Trustees had the authority to make such a decision, and I did not view their decision as irregular in any way."

Earlier, you said:

Alan Swank wrote:
But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?


To answer that question directly: no, I do not think that's odd and either does Descutner.

Why? Because the board of trustees followed the procedure for executive compensation laid out by the university by laws. They have the right and discretion to make suggestions to the President -- which they did -- but ultimately, he has to sign off. Which he did. One of the Trustees, David Wolfort, made the suggestion to the board, and spoke to President-elect Nellis about it.

If Descutner truly felt that Shaffer's performance didn't merit the bonus, the time to speak up was when he was President. He had the authority to do so. Instead, he resorted to petty, public finger pointing 3 years later. He could have written an op-ed simply stating that he never negotiated with Shaffer directly and this decision was made by the board. Instead, he added that she didn't deserve the money. What purpose does that serve? What's professional about that? Make you want to sign up to work at Ohio University?



This conversation is like two cats chasing each other around a barrel for eternity. As for speaking up back then, his letter makes it very clear that they had already made up their minds.

". . . the narrative claims, citing a university spokesperson, that the bonus"was also made at the direction of the OU Board of Trustees. Allow me to provide some additional context. At the spring 2017 Trustees meeting, I was approached by two Trustees who asked to talk with me in private. They told me that the Trustees had decided to award Ms. Shaffer a retention bonus to secure her services through June 2020. They made it plain that they were seeking neither my input nor my approval because the Trustees had already decided."

I don't consider it petty finger pointing but simply defending himself by stating the facts as he recalled them. I live here and he has lived in our neighborhood for 23 years so I'm much closer to the daily conversation around this. Quite pointedly, many if not most in town are appalled by this. As for signing up to work for OU, I'd say the university has much bigger image problems and issues than this.



I can tell most are appalled by this. What's telling is that nobody, at least here, can seem to articulate why. The only reason given is "optics."

Put it this way: Shafer's base pay is typically $327,726. If you take the three year bonus and spread it over the three years it applies to, that's 360k.

Schafer took a 10% cut on her base already. People here seem to expect her to also pass on this bonus, which is the equivalent of her taking a 20% pay cut.

Why is that expectation reasonable when Frank Solich takes 10%? And the President takes 15? Because the terms of her compensation are different?

Meanwhile, this employee has now had her value publicly questioned, in print, by the interim President, almost certainly hurting future earning potential. And why? Because she's an easy punching bag in a campaign against layoffs.

Layoffs always suck. But our University needs all the finance talent it can get it's hands on over the next few years, and this all seems shortsighted and counterproductive, from my vantage point. Finance talent knows how to make money, and you gotta pay for them.

Last Edited: 10/12/2020 7:23:31 PM by Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame

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BillyTheCat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/12/2020 8:48:01 PM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:


Go back and read his letter to the editor. It clearly states his version of the story which is different from the narrative that the university has spun. He had every reason and right to set the record straight. Whether he signed the contract or not is immaterial - his employer, the trustees, had already agreed to grant the bonus.

https://www.athensnews.com/opinion/letters/former-interim...


I've read the letter.

In it, Descutner described the trustees awarding that bonus thusly: "I understood the Trustees had the authority to make such a decision, and I did not view their decision as irregular in any way."

Earlier, you said:

Alan Swank wrote:
But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?


To answer that question directly: no, I do not think that's odd and either does Descutner.

Why? Because the board of trustees followed the procedure for executive compensation laid out by the university by laws. They have the right and discretion to make suggestions to the President -- which they did -- but ultimately, he has to sign off. Which he did. One of the Trustees, David Wolfort, made the suggestion to the board, and spoke to President-elect Nellis about it.

If Descutner truly felt that Shaffer's performance didn't merit the bonus, the time to speak up was when he was President. He had the authority to do so. Instead, he resorted to petty, public finger pointing 3 years later. He could have written an op-ed simply stating that he never negotiated with Shaffer directly and this decision was made by the board. Instead, he added that she didn't deserve the money. What purpose does that serve? What's professional about that? Make you want to sign up to work at Ohio University?



This conversation is like two cats chasing each other around a barrel for eternity. As for speaking up back then, his letter makes it very clear that they had already made up their minds.

". . . the narrative claims, citing a university spokesperson, that the bonus"was also made at the direction of the OU Board of Trustees. Allow me to provide some additional context. At the spring 2017 Trustees meeting, I was approached by two Trustees who asked to talk with me in private. They told me that the Trustees had decided to award Ms. Shaffer a retention bonus to secure her services through June 2020. They made it plain that they were seeking neither my input nor my approval because the Trustees had already decided."

I don't consider it petty finger pointing but simply defending himself by stating the facts as he recalled them. I live here and he has lived in our neighborhood for 23 years so I'm much closer to the daily conversation around this. Quite pointedly, many if not most in town are appalled by this. As for signing up to work for OU, I'd say the university has much bigger image problems and issues than this.



And the fact that the said employee also is employed directly by the board and was voted on in secret screams 100x over of an issue.
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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/13/2020 3:45:36 PM 
BillyTheCat wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:


Go back and read his letter to the editor. It clearly states his version of the story which is different from the narrative that the university has spun. He had every reason and right to set the record straight. Whether he signed the contract or not is immaterial - his employer, the trustees, had already agreed to grant the bonus.

https://www.athensnews.com/opinion/letters/former-interim...


I've read the letter.

In it, Descutner described the trustees awarding that bonus thusly: "I understood the Trustees had the authority to make such a decision, and I did not view their decision as irregular in any way."

Earlier, you said:

Alan Swank wrote:
But doesn't seen a tad odd that the original bonus idea came from the board and not from the president who was her immediate supervisor who has gone on record as saying he would not have considered such a payment?


To answer that question directly: no, I do not think that's odd and either does Descutner.

Why? Because the board of trustees followed the procedure for executive compensation laid out by the university by laws. They have the right and discretion to make suggestions to the President -- which they did -- but ultimately, he has to sign off. Which he did. One of the Trustees, David Wolfort, made the suggestion to the board, and spoke to President-elect Nellis about it.

If Descutner truly felt that Shaffer's performance didn't merit the bonus, the time to speak up was when he was President. He had the authority to do so. Instead, he resorted to petty, public finger pointing 3 years later. He could have written an op-ed simply stating that he never negotiated with Shaffer directly and this decision was made by the board. Instead, he added that she didn't deserve the money. What purpose does that serve? What's professional about that? Make you want to sign up to work at Ohio University?



This conversation is like two cats chasing each other around a barrel for eternity. As for speaking up back then, his letter makes it very clear that they had already made up their minds.

". . . the narrative claims, citing a university spokesperson, that the bonus"was also made at the direction of the OU Board of Trustees. Allow me to provide some additional context. At the spring 2017 Trustees meeting, I was approached by two Trustees who asked to talk with me in private. They told me that the Trustees had decided to award Ms. Shaffer a retention bonus to secure her services through June 2020. They made it plain that they were seeking neither my input nor my approval because the Trustees had already decided."

I don't consider it petty finger pointing but simply defending himself by stating the facts as he recalled them. I live here and he has lived in our neighborhood for 23 years so I'm much closer to the daily conversation around this. Quite pointedly, many if not most in town are appalled by this. As for signing up to work for OU, I'd say the university has much bigger image problems and issues than this.



And the fact that the said employee also is employed directly by the board and was voted on in secret screams 100x over of an issue.


The board didn't vote on her compensation. It's not their responsibility to do so.

Instead, they made a suggestion to then-President Descutner who signed the document. He doesn't even deny signing it. His argument is just that he didn't feel empowered not to sign it, though the University by laws give him the ability to do so.

It's funny how easily the media can alter the perception of something. The Athens News reports that Shafer "Quietly accepted a 100k bonus" -- which implies something nefarious. And then report that there are no board minutes from the meeting where the compensation was proposed, and that becomes "voted on in secret."

But what does it even mean to quietly accept payment? How do you all accept payment? Publicly post about every pay check you receive? What's the alternative to 'quietly accepting a bonus', exactly? Running through the streets screaming about how rich you are? I know of no other way people accept payment than quietly.

And clearly they're implying that the lack of minutes from a meeting implies something nefarious, when in actuality, it looks very much like the board followed the standard procedure for executive compensation and it was signed by the President. They also stated news of her bonus set off a 'social media firestorm.' It's definitely wild on Twitter. A keyword search of Shaffer AND "Ohio University" has one tweet that isn't from the Athens News.

The story here is that Ohio University's CFO was paid what her contract dictated she be paid, and people are upset about that because times are tough. That's it. There's nothing all that compelling suggesting any sort of corruption or secret dealings.

Last Edited: 10/13/2020 3:57:15 PM by Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame

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bobcatsquared
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/13/2020 5:24:28 PM 
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
I can tell most are appalled by this. What's telling is that nobody, at least here, can seem to articulate why. The only reason given is "optics."


Only thing I'm appalled about, or at least puzzled by, is the apparent necessity of using quote boxes. And the reason? Because no one needs to re-read posts. . . maybe that is optics.
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bobcatsquared
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/13/2020 5:24:51 PM 
Otherwise, great thread.
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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/13/2020 6:01:10 PM 
bobcatsquared wrote:
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
I can tell most are appalled by this. What's telling is that nobody, at least here, can seem to articulate why. The only reason given is "optics."


Only thing I'm appalled about, or at least puzzled by, is the apparent necessity of using quote boxes. And the reason? Because no one needs to re-read posts. . . maybe that is optics.


You're right, nobody needs to re-read posts. But the option is there if they want to. Feel free to focus yourself lower on the page.
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Alan Swank
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/13/2020 7:09:05 PM 
This statement is patently false, Shame.

The story here is that Ohio University's CFO was paid what her contract dictated she be paid, and people are upset about that because times are tough. That's it. There's nothing all that compelling suggesting any sort of corruption or secret dealings.

People are upset because the board came up with this one their own, have yet to advance a business reason other than consistency, forced said decision on an interim president, and failed to document any of the proceedings that led to their decision. To some, optics during tough times may be what bothers them. To many, it's what I just outlined very clearly and concisely.
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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/13/2020 10:05:17 PM 
Alan Swank wrote:
This statement is patently false, Shame.

The story here is that Ohio University's CFO was paid what her contract dictated she be paid, and people are upset about that because times are tough. That's it. There's nothing all that compelling suggesting any sort of corruption or secret dealings.

People are upset because the board came up with this one their own, have yet to advance a business reason other than consistency, forced said decision on an interim president, and failed to document any of the proceedings that led to their decision. To some, optics during tough times may be what bothers them. To many, it's what I just outlined very clearly and concisely.


I disagree with your basic premise.

Because only people who haven't run a capital-heavy business fail to see continuity of a CFO as a valid business reason.

Just to be very, very clear: We're talking about retaining the Chief Financial Officer of the University in the midst of the worst financial crisis the higher education industry may ever see. Business reasons don't get more valid than that.

And again, Descutner himself stated he saw nothing unusual in the board suggesting an executive's compensation, because the University by laws give them the right to do so. That right is reserved for the board and the President, but in all cases, has to be signed off on by the President.

The President's signature is on this document. If you want to believe the board steamrolled him and forced the decision on him, so be it. But that doesn't negate the very obvious business need you're attempting to gloss over, and once you stop glossing over that, what you're left with is a board of trustees that suggested a comp plan designed to retain the Chief Financial Officer of the University that was signed off on by a lame-duck President who had no actual power.

And that comp plan kicked in 5 months into the biggest financial crisis the higher education industry's ever seen, and 5 months after said CFO took a 10% pay cut. In other words, there may well have been reason to start looking for jobs, were it not for said retention bonus. Or our CFO may have left in January, and we could have been mid-search when Covid hit.

Optics aside, the retention bonus served its purpose perfectly and couldn't have been better timed. We need a CFO right now and it's a good thing to have one that's familiar with the university's operating budget. Organizations with a billion dollar annual spend don't want to be switching horses mid-crisis.

So yeah, consider me non-plussed about this whole thing. And excuse me for thinking the folks so upset about this are missing the forrest for the trees.



Last Edited: 10/13/2020 10:11:30 PM by Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame

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Maddog13
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/14/2020 9:41:54 AM 
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
Club Hyatt wrote:
The football and basketball salaries send a signal to alumni OU is reasonably serious about athletics. The pay buys you more experience than the entry level D1 salaries do.


According to USNews, we rank 271st in alumni giving. Only 3.8% of alumni give a dime. Not sure that investment's paying off.

Edit: For comparison's sake, here's where a few other MAC schools fall:

Miami ranks 41st, 17.3% of alumni donate.
Buffalo ranks 90th, 11.3% of alumni donate.
BG ranks 224th, 5.1% of alumni donate.
WMU ranks 254th, 3.9% of alumni give.
Kent's tied with us.
NIU is a bit below at 3.5%.
Akron is at 3%.
EMU is at 1.8%


Interesting information. Very thought provoking. Thanks for posting. According to USNews, Princeton is number one in 2019 at 59 percent. It makes me wonder how Class plays in all of this and whether Miami's 17.3% is linked simply to attracting students from families with more wealth and resources? Perhaps, Ohio should think about spending money on building a runway for private jets in the middle of campus and thus offer classes on how to launder money in off-shore accounts? Instead of working class sports like football and basketball; perhaps, we should put money instead into Polo, Fencing, and Rowing (we do have the Hocking River available nearby after all).
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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/15/2020 10:24:04 AM 
BillyTheCat wrote:
Here is what we know from a performance standpoint. Fact so far: stay 3 years get an extra $100k, stay another 3 years, get another $100k. Did Tom Boeh negotiate this?

If OHIO had given Brian Knorr a $100k bonus for staying 3 years, you guys would lose your mind. And her salary isnt far off of Knorrs


We gave Frank Solich a 275,000 retention bonus for completing the 5 year contract he signed in 2008. He definitely earned that bonus, on top of already being the University's highest paid employee. Without him, would we have had a 43-24 record in an also-ran league that's not eligible for a national championship and doesn't attract fan interest?

Last Edited: 10/15/2020 10:27:26 AM by Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame

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BillyTheCat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Another $100k
   Posted: 10/15/2020 10:40:44 AM 
Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
Here is what we know from a performance standpoint. Fact so far: stay 3 years get an extra $100k, stay another 3 years, get another $100k. Did Tom Boeh negotiate this?

If OHIO had given Brian Knorr a $100k bonus for staying 3 years, you guys would lose your mind. And her salary isnt far off of Knorrs


We gave Frank Solich a 275,000 retention bonus for completing the 5 year contract he signed in 2008. He definitely earned that bonus, on top of already being the University's highest paid employee. Without him, would we have had a 43-24 record in an also-ran league that's not eligible for a national championship and doesn't attract fan interest?



I agree 110%, his longevity has also saved us 100's of thousands in searches and so forth. I would fully support the use of another bonus like this. I'd say more like $500K to $1M to reward him for his years of service.
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