By Sarah Siock
Several of Rider’s top directors, including president Gregory Dell’Omo, received significant increases in 2019, according to the university’s latest IRS report. Dell’Omo received $ 620,112 in annual salary and benefits as the highest paid employee, almost $ 55,000 more than the previous year.
The Rider News acquired a copy of the university’s 2019 IRS 990, which runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. The form shows that eight administrators and two professors earned base salaries over 200,000. $.
The report reveals that several directors received large performance-based bonuses, while Rider’s faculty went without salary or cost-of-living increases from 2013 through fall 2021.
In 2019, Dell’Omo’s salary was $ 532,400 and $ 87,712 in additional benefits. In 2018, Dell’Omo’s total compensation was $ 565,417. Part of Dell’Omo’s salary increase was due to a performance bonus of $ 36,386.
“The president’s salary and performance bonus are determined by the board of directors. The performance bonus is normally based on the performance of the chairman during the applicable financial year, but as no bonus has been granted for a number of years, the board of directors has also taken into account the performance of the chairman. president throughout his tenure at Rider, ”said the university’s associate vice president. Marketing and Communication Kristine Brown. “The board evaluates the performance of the president based on mutually agreed goals developed by the president and the board.
Although the school’s tax records list its highest paid employees, they don’t always list the same people and positions every year. Of the 13 employees listed in the 2018 and 2019 reports, 12 received increases.
Men’s basketball head coach Kevin Baggett’s salary in 2019 was $ 344,732 and $ 36,026 in additional benefits, making him the second-highest paid employee at the university. In 2018, Bagget’s total salary was $ 316,645, meaning he received an additional $ 64,113 in 2019. Baggett could not be reached for comment.
In the 2019-20 season, Bagget led the men’s basketball team to 18 wins and 12 losses. The team were scheduled to face Niagara in the MAAC quarterfinals before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Coach Baggett’s salary is a reflection of the market value of an experienced and successful MAAC men’s basketball head coach. The recent increases come from income and private donations generated by the men’s basketball program, ”said Brown.
Vice President of Finance James Hartman was the third highest paid employee and highest paid cabinet member with total compensation of $ 324,829. Provost DonnaJean Fredeen was the second highest paid cabinet member with total compensation of $ 321,778 and an increase of $ 32,508 from the previous year.
Hartman, Fredeen, Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel Mark Solomon, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary of the Board Debbie Stasolla, Vice President of University Facilities and Operations Michael Reca, Vice President of Enrollment Management Drew Aromando and Vice President for Academic Advancement Karin Klim all received performance-based bonuses in 2019. The average bonus was just under $ 26,000.
“Performance-based bonuses for senior management are determined by the president and the board of directors and are based on performance during the relevant financial year. Senior executives are assessed annually against objectives developed and approved by the President and the Board of Directors. Through an independent firm, the board of directors regularly assesses the total compensation of lead directors, including fixed and variable compensation, against peer institutions, ”said Brown.
The university ended fiscal 2021 with a deficit of approximately $ 9.5 million. Brown said all cabinet members took pay cuts that year to help alleviate the pandemic’s financial savings on the institution, which equates to about $ 475,000 in savings.
“A projected deficit is always a big factor when developing the university’s overall annual budget,” Brown said.
Barbara Franz, professor of political science and president
of the Rider Chapter of the American Association of University Teachers (AAUP), reviewed the tax document and expressed concern about the lack of increases and bonuses for non-administrative faculty members. While the AAUP ratified a one-year deal this month that included a 3% salary increase for its members, Franz noted that all faculty salaries have been frozen in recent years.
Franz said: “Greg Dell’Omo continues to live very well. The Board of Directors granted him a further raise of over $ 52,000 in fiscal 2020, bringing his overall base salary to $ 532,400. Meanwhile, some of our students are doubling down on pizzerias and grocery checkouts to pay for Rider’s tuition, and our professors have to make ends meet with salaries frozen since 2013. ”
Franz also questioned the money Rider had spent on legal fees in recent years following lawsuits surrounding Dell’Omo’s unsuccessful attempt to sell Westminster Choir College (WCC) and its subsequent decision to close its campus. from Princeton. In 2019, the university paid $ 352,058 to the law firm Pepper Hamilton. The previous year, the university had donated $ 831,332 to the prestigious and expensive company.
“With their many bad decisions, the president of Rider and his many vice presidents got involved in a number of lawsuits, spent huge sums on consultants and law firms and, through their leadership, were successful. to have the rating of Rider’s bonds downgraded twice by Moody’s Investors Service. Last year. Overall, the administration’s failures have cost Rider millions of dollars. Now they seem to be running out of ideas. They just hired Credo, a consultancy firm primarily interested in downsizing universities and cutting liberal arts programs. The board rewards these bad decisions and lack of ideas with big paychecks to the president and his cabinet, ”said Franz.
According to Brown, Rider partnered with national higher education consultancy firm Credo in June because of the “complex and multifaceted challenges” the university faces. The firm specializes in helping independent colleges and universities move forward on the continuum from survival to prosperity. Credo has worked with over 400 institutions like Rider since its inception in 1995.
Brown also commented on the lack of staff increases and the sale of Westminster Choir College.
“The remuneration of teachers is governed by the collective agreement. The contract in effect at the time did not provide for any agreed bonus for faculty members or any merit increase for individual bargaining unit members based on performance, ”said Brown. “… As for Westminster … this university-wide strategic initiative passed by the Board of Trustees in 2017 after careful thought, analysis and reflection, designed to both preserve the WCC and to further improve the Westminster College of the Arts, has been considered a by rating agencies. The corresponding lawsuits, which we believe have no merit and are intended to hamper and impose unnecessary financial pain on the entire Rider community, are unfortunately a cost of doing business that we have to contend with. “
Brown added that the salary cuts for cabinet members and the president from 2020 to 2021 “were greater than any increases received from 2019 to 2020.”
“The Cabinet will once again not receive a salary increase this year, 2021-2022, which will be the seventh time in the last nine years dating back to 2013-2014, as will the AAUP,” Brown said. “… Moreover, we are surprised and disappointed by the attack on Barbara Franz. … But the most important and perhaps the biggest disappointment is this attempt to create divisions and conflicts immediately after a successful negotiation negotiation and at the very beginning of an academic year; one that will require in particular collaboration, cooperation and goodwill if we are to meet and overcome the many challenges we will face, not as factions, but as a united community.
Click here to read Rider’s 990 Tax Form.