"Hay is out of here, sort of"
UA Provost Meredith Hay's three-year reign came to a close on Saturday as she accepted a position with the Arizona Board of Regents. Hay will now serve as a special adviser to the regents chair for strategic initiatives. Hay's announcement came on the heels of the departure of Steve MacCarthy, vice president for external relations, and former President Robert Shelton.
Perhaps you're confused and wondering exactly what the special adviser to the regents chair for strategic initiatives does? So were many other people, considering the position didn't previously exist. Katie Paquet, a regents spokeswoman, told the Arizona Daily Star the newly created position will enable board to establish a new state funding model for the universities. This certainly is needed, given the crippling debt and education cuts are suffocating the state.
However, what is most confusing about the departure is that Hay isn't going anywhere quite yet. Hay will maintain her $350,000 salary from the UA payroll for the duration of her contract (set to expire next year), and she will remain a member of the faculty.
This is most interesting considering that Hay isn't exactly a favorite among the faculty members. It was only a short while ago that Hay ruffled the feathers of countless faculty members when she made numerous decisions with little faculty input. Her peers feared her so much, that they resorted to anonymous Internet blogging on the matters in hopes of avoiding retribution. Hay later promised greater communication.
In Hay's absence, Senior Vice President Jacqueline Lee Mok will take over as interim provost until a nationwide search for a permanent replacement is conducted. But hey, let's be honest. At the rate administrative members are fleeing from the UA, there will be many more searches going on to replace additional openings.
Mok may need to settle into the position, considering a long-term replacement for our presidential opening has yet to be found. It may not be difficult though. Something tells me a $100,000 raise for a temporary job is reason enough to get comfortable.
It seems wasteful. Taking on a whole new batch of responsibilities, like Mok is, certainly deserves a pay raise, no doubt about it. But relinquishing them doesn't justify continued pay. While Hay will transition to her new made up job, she'll continue to receive her $350,000 salary. So, in essence, Hay will take on a completely different job yet continue to accrue the pay of her provost position. We have two people being paid provost salary; one is actually a provost and the other is simply an employee with a made-up, feel-good title.
I'm no financial guru, but if you're looking for ways to fill in the gaps caused by a lack of state funding, perhaps there's something that can be done about that. Maybe that's something Hay could look into and report back to the regents chair for strategic initiatives.
—Storm Byrd is the Summer Wildcat perspectives editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.