By Amethyst Martinez
Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo received a $56,420 increase in his salary and benefits, according to Rider’s most recent federal tax forms, which showcased the university’s highest-paid employees, as well as its spending habits.
In the fiscal year that spans from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, the president’s salary and benefits amounted to $661,936, compared to the previous year’s total of $605,516, when Dell’Omo and other top administrators took a salary cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent total is Dell’Omo’s highest annual compensation at Rider since he arrived in 2015, and more than $40,000 over his pre-pandemic earnings.
At the same time, Rider faculty and staff have seen wages virtually frozen. The current faculty employment contract calls for two years without raises, then one year with a 0.25% increase, followed by 2% in each of the final two years of the contract.
In addition, during a July webinar, Dell’Omo suggested that an assessment of low-enrollment academic programs could lead to faculty layoffs this fall.
Non-union Rider employees saw Rider’s contribution to their retirements slashed from 5% to 2.5% starting Sept. 1, and eight staff members were laid off in July.
In the most recent tax filing, Dell’Omo’s salary came out to $569,702, with benefits costing the university an additional $92,234.
These benefits include the president’s campus-adjacent residence on Lawrenceville Road, which the university offers and requires him to live in. In the prior tax filing, Dell’Omo’s benefits amounted to $90,831.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of university administrators took pay cuts, including Dell’Omo.
According to a Sept. 5 email to The Rider News from Kristine Brown, associate vice president for university marketing and communications, Dell’Omo took a 25% voluntary pay cut from May to October 2020, and a 15% pay cut from November 2020 through June 2021.
Brown said the president’s salary was higher in the most recent tax filing because he took a larger pay cut the previous year.
In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, Dell’Omo’s salary and benefits amounted to $620,112, according to university tax forms.
Rider’s high earners
Men’s basketball Head Coach Kevin Baggett was the second-highest paid employee at the university, with his total annual salary and benefits coming in at $382,436, as opposed to the previous year, where he made $376,554.
James Hartman, Rider’s chief financial officer, made $285,906, ranking him as the third-highest paid employee at the university, as opposed to the previous year, when Hartman made $277,443.
Provost DonnaJean Fredeen went from having $302,597 in salary and benefits in the past year to $273,093 in 2022.
The 2019 fiscal year saw over $200,000 in administrative bonuses and incentive compensation, many of the heightened salaries facing slashes after the pandemic’s effects on financials.
Rider’s financial positioning
In a webinar to faculty and staff in July after announcing staff layoffs and university restructuring, Dell’Omo stressed that Rider’s financial position was “dangerously uncertain,” and hinted towards faculty layoffs.
Quinn Cunningham, president of the American Association of University Professors, said that the university recently asked for $1 million back over the next two years from the union due to the ongoing financial crisis at Rider.
Cunningham said, “If we’re in that poor of a financial situation that you’re going to ask for give backs, [then] why is there enough money for increases?”
The tax forms specify where Rider spends the most money for university operations as well. Ellucian, an information technology company that runs DegreeWorks and specializes in work with college campuses, was the highest expense, totaling $1,723,354. The previous year, the company received $1,466,544 from the university.
In addition to the money paid to Ellucian, the second-largest expense was 160over90, a marketing company which accounted for $1,542,301.
In an interview with The Rider News last year, Brown said that although the number may be high, the company does acquire advertising for Rider.
The university also paid $314,002 to Resource Management Group for “COVID-19 related services.”