Turner tops most paid on campus
Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
President R. Gerald Turner tops the list in total compensation at SMU for the 2009 fiscal year, having received a total of $2,774,000 last year.
That number represents a salary of $534,866, bonus and incentive compensation of $264,739, deferred compensation of $219,223, benefits of $127,591 and "other compensation" of $1,627,581.
The Daily Campus obtained this information from SMU's latest tax returns, which are public record since the University is a non-profit organization. The return lists the highest-paid employees at SMU, which includes administrators, professors and coaches.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) changed forms between the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years, providing a more detailed look at compensation at SMU. However, the change made it difficult to determine increases or decreases in an individual's total compensation from fiscal year 2008 to 2009.
The information provided through the return lists individuals' base salary, bonus and incentive compensation, deferred compensation, and benefits. It also provides information about "other compensation," which is not specified.
A big part of Turner's compensation last year was the early payment of a deferred benefit program that the University had entered into with Turner in 1999, four years after he came to SMU.
"In 1999… SMU is advancing very rapidly under [Turner's] leadership," said Michael M. Boone, SMU trustee and Vice Chair of the SMU Board of Trustees compensation committee. "It's dramatically improving. The Board [of Trustees] feels very strongly about making sure [Turner] understands how much we appreciate what he's doing, and so we look for a way to provide a deferred compensation benefit to him, hoping he stays for a long period of time."
The program would have eventually paid Turner $1 million, along with a $2 million life insurance policy for his family. However, U.S. Congress decided to begin regulating and defining deferred benefit programs differently in 2004, according to Boone.
"As a result, the tax treatment was materially adverse than what everybody had anticipated that would be the tax results when we put it in five years earlier in '99," Boone said.
SMU decided to give Turner the cash value of the policy, not including the life insurance, as a way to get out of the program based on IRS rules, according to Boone. Turner released SMU trustees from their promise of life insurance.
Had the changes not taken place, Boone said the program would still be in place. Turner received $1,586,108 from that one-time payment.
Boone said that the Board of Trustees was very pleased with Turner's time at SMU. Boone said that they got a "great return on the investment," and that Turner has "proven it by delivery of great successes for the University."
"I think, to a person, every member of the Board of Trustees of SMU would say, ‘The best investment that we've made over the last 15 years is Dr. R. Gerald Turner,'" Boone said.
Head football coach, June Jones, received the second-highest total compensation at SMU with $2,142,056.
That number breaks down into: $2,102,320 in salary, $6,541 in "other compensation," $23,000 in deferred compensation and $10,195 in benefits.
Jones' salary is partially paid for by the Circle of Champions, an athletic fundraising group. The money that is raised funds "the difference between June Jones' and his coaches' compensation and what was available in the existing football budget," university spokesman Kent Best said.
The athletic director sends Turner a recommendation for Jones' compensation, and then the Board of Trustees then approves that recommendation.
S. Leon Bennett, former general counsel for SMU, received $662,056 in total compensation last year: $328,295 in salary, $25,000 in bonus and incentive compensation, $273,232 in "other compensation," $23,000 in deferred compensation and $12,529 in benefits.
Bennett retired at the end of 2008. He was replaced by Paul Ward. Compensation data for Ward is not available.
Head basketball coach, Matt Doherty, received $571,143 in total compensation last year: $517,301 in salary, $10,000 in bonus and incentive compensation, $3,583 in "other compensation," $23,000 in deferred compensation and $17,259 in benefits.
Athletic director Steve Orsini earned $445,065 in total compensation last year: $388,816 in salary, $11,102 in "other compensation," $23,000 in deferred compensation and $22,147 in benefits.
Dean of the Cox School of Business Albert Niemi Jr. earned $435,879 in total compensation last year.
Associate Dean in the Cox School of Business William Dillon earned $428,891 in total compensation last year.
Provost Paul Ludden earned $406,046 in total compensation last year.
Cox professor Amit Basu earned $345,135 in total compensation last year.
Vice President for Student Affairs, Lori White, earned $240,524 in total compensation last year: $202,718 in salary, $9,704 in "other compensation," $23,000 in deferred salary and $7,577 in benefits.
Associate provost, Tom Tunks, earned $195,819 in total compensation last year: $170,331 in salary, $1,665 in "other compensation," $17,339 in deferred compensation and $6,484 in benefits.
University controller John O'Connor received $194,438 in total compensation last year: $168,613 in salary, $1,081 in "other compensation," $17,287 in deferred compensation and $7,457 in benefits.
Former Dedman dean, Cordelia Candelaria, received $193,688 in total compensation last year: $124,039 in salary, $50,000 in bonus and incentive compensation, $4,811 in "other compensation," $12,500 in deferred compensation and $2,338 in benefits.
Candelaria resigned from her position in 2009, citing "serious personal circumstances." She was succeeded by the current dean of Dedman College, William Tsutsui. Compensation data for Tsutsui has not yet become available.