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Published July 12, 2012, 03:40 PM

Most ND College Presidents Get 3 Percent Pay Rise

UND's Kelley is highest paid
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Most of North Dakota's public college presidents got a 3 percent pay raise Thursday, with the president of Williston State College getting a larger increase as compensation for the management problems brought on by development in the state's oil-producing region.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Most of North Dakota's public college presidents got a 3 percent pay raise Thursday, with the president of Williston State College getting a larger increase as compensation for the management problems brought on by development in the state's oil-producing region.

Even with the 6 percent increase, Williston State's Ray Nadolny is one of the lowest-paid presidents, records show. He will make $167,856 annually with the raise. The highest-paid president is the University of North Dakota's Robert Kelley, who will now get $340,063 annually.

The state Board of Higher Education approved the pay increases Thursday at the request of Ham Shirvani, the new chancellor of North Dakota's university system. The percentage increases are in line with what state government workers received this month.

Shirvani, who has been on the job for less than two weeks, said he felt more comfortable with uniform pay raises because he has not personally evaluated the presidents' performance.

A year from now, when the issue of presidents' pay comes up again, he will have more information to use in suggesting appropriate pay increases, Shirvani said.

North Dakota has 11 public colleges, including six four-year universities and five two-year schools. Ten of the colleges have presidents as their chief administrators, and their salaries are set by the Board of Higher Education.

The exception is Dakota College at Bottineau, whose top official, Ken Grosz, is a campus dean. Grosz reports to David Fuller, the president of Minot State University, who determines Grosz's salary.

Kelley and Dean Bresciani, president of North Dakota State University, are the highest-paid campus presidents in North Dakota's public college system. With Thursday's 3 percent raise, Bresciani will earn $321,360 annually.

The lowest-paid presidents are Nadolny and Doug Darling, the interim president of Lake Region State College at Devils Lake, who makes $118,483.

Duaine Espegard, the president of the Board of Higher Education, said Nadolny's 6 percent raise was justified because of the management challenges posed by western North Dakota's oil boom.

Nadolny has to grapple with high employee turnover, with workers leaving for better-paying oil industry jobs, and the city's housing shortage, which makes it difficult to recruit employees, Espegard said.

"He's dealing with a very unique situation in Williston, due to the competitive cost pressures of the oil industry," Espegard said.

Williston is in the heart of western North Dakota's oil boom. According to the state Tax Department, the city regularly has more taxable sales and purchases than Fargo, which is North Dakota's largest city and more than four times Williston's size.

Nadolny attended Thursday's board meeting at Bismarck State College. During the meeting itself, he said, he got an email telling him that three Williston State employees were losing their child care in August. Last week, Nadolny said, the school discovered that an apartment building in which some faculty members live is being sold, raising the question of where they would find affordable housing.

"Issues come up on a weekly, sometimes a daily, basis," Nadolny said. "We're always trying to ... come to some solutions, and I think we've done a good job of it. But this has now gone on just over two years, and it does become a little more challenging."

Other presidential salaries are Minot State's Fuller, $206,538; D.C. Coston, Dickinson State University, $205,320; Larry Skogen, Bismarck State College, $184,764; John Richman, North Dakota State College of Science, $184,764; Steve Shirley, Valley City State University, $179,132; and Gary Hagen, Mayville State University, $176,131.

Darling and Coston were not voted raises Thursday. Both men recently got new employment contracts that set their wages, said Laura Glatt, a university system vice chancellor.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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