Regents to consider contract extension for Bounds

October 1, 2017 GMT

LINCOLN — As the University of Nebraska works to close a $49 million budget gap, the Board of Regents will offer system President Hank Bounds a contract extension through the 2020-21 school year.

Bounds’ current contract is set to expire June 30, 2020. A plan to push that date back one year does not include any increase to the third-year president’s base salary.

Last year, regents approved a 6.3 percent increase to Bounds’ base pay. In addition to the $510,400 salary paid annually through NU’s state-aided budget, Bounds also earns a privately funded supplemental salary of $20,000 a year.

The pay raise was a response to the laudable job Bounds had done in leading the university in his second year as president, regents said.

State lawmakers, including Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, criticized the regents’ decision to award pay increases to Bounds and the NU campus chancellors during budget talks earlier this year, however, arguing that bloated administrator salaries needed to be cut.

In a June column posted to his legislative website, Erdman also drew a correlation between the raises and a tuition hike approved by the board.

At next week’s meeting, regents will also consider plans to renovate part of the former Nebraska Bookstore into space to be used by the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts following a gift of $20 million to UNL in November 2015 from the Johnny Carson Foundation.

Roughly 35,400 square feet of space on all three floors of the building at 1300 Q St. will be renovated, including converting a three-story atrium into a two-story stairway and adding windows to the exterior of the building.

The board will also be presented a $26.6 million plan to update the Nebraska East Union. Work will include the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, addressing ADA-deficient areas and improving movement throughout the building.

According to a program statement, renovations will include an improved dining area and bowling facility, new coffee shop and copy and mail center.

Funding for the project, which is one part of a broader master plan to update UNL’s East Campus, will come from student fees, bond proceeds and athletic department funds.

Regents will meet Thursday in Lincoln.