Ashli Forbes, Contributor
Melissa Wharton, Intern
The UM system paid executives and administrators more than $2 million in what a state auditor called “inappropriate bonuses” over the last three years.
In her report released March 7, State Auditor Nicole Galloway showed UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton received a total of $195,409 in bonuses without measurable criteria for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. This consisted of $52,691 in incentive payments, $114,600 for relocation, retention, and housing payments and $28,118 for vehicle payments.
“Incentive payments were made without a formalized and clearly defined process of how the additional compensation was to be earned,” Galloway wrote in the report, “giving the appearance of year-end bonuses, which are a violation of the Missouri Constitution.”
Galloway also said the vehicle allowances seem excessive and have created a lack of transparency regarding executive compensation.
The majority of these incentive payments, as well as approximately $60,000 in retention bonuses, were paid to administrators without formal Board of Curators’ approval of the individual amounts.
As the Columbia Daily Tribune reports, Galloway was critical of these bonuses in the context of financial struggles for higher education due to reduced state support.
The report included a statement from the UM System in which it said it disagreed with the audit’s findings. The System said that while its employee incentive program was vague, the program did not conflict with the Missouri Constitution.
“Nevertheless, consistent with the report’s recommendation, the System will strive to better document the plan and make performance goals more objective, when appropriate,” the system said in the report.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reported last November that Morton’s salary was $305,409. The audit report shows Morton refused a $26,686 incentive payment in 2015.
When U-News staff attempted to reach the chancellor for comment, he was not on campus despite being previously scheduled for a Faculty Senate meeting. According to Faculty Senate Chair-elect of the College of Arts & Sciences Linda Mitchell, Morton was not in attendance.
At the time of publication, neither Morton nor Public Relations Director John Martellaro responded to U-News requests for comment.