By Brandon Scalea
President Gregory Dell’Omo earned nearly $232,000 during his first five months in office in 2015, Rider University’s most recent IRS financial disclosure form shows.
Eight other administrators, four professors and one athletic coach also took home more than $200,000 in salary and benefits that year.
The Rider News obtained the university’s 2015 IRS Form 990, which reflects the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. However, the employee salaries and benefits documented are for calendar year 2015, according to Vice President of Finance Julie Karns.
Dell’Omo’s base salary from Aug. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015 was $194,934, and he made an estimated $37,000 in other benefits, the form shows.
The president’s current annual base salary is $475,000, he confirmed Tuesday.
Dell’Omo’s level of compensation for his first five months at Rider indicate that his total compensation package of salary and benefits is approximately $556,000 annually.
A 2014 IRS financial disclosure form for Robert Morris University shows that Dell’Omo, who spent a decade at the Pittsburgh school, may have taken a slight pay cut when he came to Rider, after finishing his previous term with a base salary of $512,353.
Former Rider President Mordechai Rozanski, whose term stretched eight years, had a base salary of $251,895, but reeled in another $524,996 in added compensation for 2015 — most of which was a deferred payout set as an incentive for him to complete a second term, Karns said.
According to 2014 data published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rozanski ranked fourth among New Jersey private university presidents in terms of salary.
Karns was the highest-paid cabinet member in 2015, earning just under $350,000 in total. Her base salary was $268,407.
Provost DonnaJean Fredeen’s salary in 2015 was $219,615, plus a $25,000 bonus. Her total compensation was about $320,000 with benefits, the IRS document shows.
Karns said that although there have been freezes in faculty wages and that 15 academic programs were almost cut in the fall 2015 semester, it’s justified how much she and other high-ranking officers were taking home.
Dell’Omo has not had a raise since he’s been in office, Karns said, and all officers just completed the fourth year of a wage freeze. The faculty just finished the third year of a wage freeze, Karns said. The new faculty contract ratified this month institutes three more years with no raises for faculty.
“That’s why we have a compensation committee on the Board of Trustees, and the benchmarking that we do to make sure we don’t overpay or underpay,” Karns said in a Sept. 19 interview. “We need to pay for all our employee groups an amount that will let us attract and keep talented faculty, talented administrators, talented clerical employees.”
Jeffrey Halpern, chief negotiator for Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), said the Board only pays top dollar to get the best president and other top administrators.
“What they’re saying is, ‘Yes, we want to hire who we think is the best candidate for president, but we don’t need to hire the best candidates for the faculty,’” he said. “I would argue that having the best faculty has a much more positive impact than having the Board of Trustees’ preferred president.”
Kevin Baggett, head coach of the men’s basketball team, took home a base salary of $179,708 in 2015, which included parts of his third and fourth seasons at the helm. He also made close to $30,000 in bonuses.
According to a 2017 USA Today database, that would rank Baggett’s pay near the middle of other mid-major men’s basketball coaches. King Rice, head coach at Monmouth, was making $201,238 in salary as recently as 2013. But Tim Cluess, head coach at Rider’s conference rival Iona, made nearly $500,000 last season, the list shows.
Margaret O’Reilly-Allen, associate professor and chair of the accounting department, was Rider’s highest paid faculty member in 2015. Her total package included a $185,182 base compensation and over $26,000 in retirement and other deferred benefits.
Thanks to a hefty $43,000 in nontaxable benefits, James Riggs, professor of biology, made more in total than O’Reilly-Allen. His total compensation was just over $234,000, which was higher than four of Dell’Omo’s cabinet members.
Marketing professors Cynthia Newman and Larry M. Newman both had total packages of over $202,000, the form shows.
Former Dean of Students Anthony Campbell, who left Rider in Aug. 2016, made just over $203,000 in total compensation in his final full year on campus.