Regents approve transition agreement with President Klein
The Arizona Board of Regents approved the terms for its transition agreement with Board President Eileen Klein on Thursday, April 5. Klein announced her decision to leave the regents on March 26.
Klein’s contract was updated in September of 2015 to expire June 30, 2018, according to documents from that meeting. Klein was receiving a base salary of $320,000 per year, as well as an annual $54,000 contribution to a cash-balance pension plan.
The regents’ vote will allow the board chair to finalize and sign Klein’s transition agreement, in which she will terminate employment on Sept. 30, 2018. She will be fully entitled to all salary and benefits through that day, which includes her cash-balance pension program.
Klein served as the board’s president for five years. She expressed pride in the work the university system has been able to accomplish in that time.
“I want to say everything we’ve been able to do is because of the trust, dedication and willingness to sit down and work together,” Klein said.
Klein will also be eligible to receive $30,000 for achievement of her individual at-risk compensation goals, as well as those assigned to the regents' Enterprise Executive Committee that were set in January of 2018.
The regents will vote to pay Klein for achievement of these goals on or before Sept. 30, according to the board's meeting materials. She will be paid immediately after the vote and before Dec. 31.
Klein will hold the “president” title until either Sept. 30 or until a new president starts. She has been designated “President Emerita” and was awarded the Regents Medal.
Klein thanked someone who was with her since the beginning: her mother.
“My mom said to me two things when I was a little girl: You’re going to go to church. You’re going to go to college,” Klein said.
Klein brought her mother to the April 5 meeting because she wanted her mom to see what she’s been involved with for the past five years.
“Everyone should have a champion like my mom has been for me,” Klein said. “I’ve been very blessed, and I wanted her to be a part of all of this experience and also have a moment to mark this milestone for me.”
She said she is very proud of what all the universities have accomplished, but it was time to go.
“It’s also been a very challenging time for everyone involved,” Klein said. “But, I feel like it's a good time now to move on and allow someone else to have the opportunity.”
Regents Chair Bill Ridenour noted Klein’s accomplishments, including starting the initiative Achieve 60 AZ and helping Governor Doug Ducey start the Arizona Teacher’s Academy.
“I could go on and on about these accomplishments,” Ridenour said. “But I will say, Eileen has done what most of us wish we could do: make a difference.”
Klein's proudest accomplishment was student involvement in the future of Arizona’s university system.
“Getting students involved in the planning, getting students involved in the process and having students take ownership of their education and the future of the universities has been far and way exciting and [my] proudest accomplishment,” Klein said. “And that’s going to make the most difference in the future.”
However, the most challenging part of Klein’s job was the board’s relationship with the state.
“[It was challenging] trying to make sure the universities stay funded in a period of economic challenge for our state,” Klein said. “And at a time where, as a state recovers, there are many multiple competing priorities.”
In his remarks, Ridenour noted the terms in which Klein came to the regents.
“She came in at a very challenging time with regard to the board and with regard to the state financing,” Ridenour said.
UA Student Regent Vianney Careaga thanked Klein for making him feel welcome.
“As a student, it’s often said that people forget what they say, but they never forget how you made them feel,” Careaga said.
Klein plans to take some time off to explore where she wants to go next, but she plans on continuing her work as a public servant.
”I have a strong commitment to public service,” Klein said. “So I want to stay involved somehow, however I can contribute.”
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