Paying Delaware’s Civil Servants

Filed in Delaware by on May 31, 2009

Today’s NJ has a long story on the salary of the President of DelTech — Lonnie George.  It’s a long article, but worth the read.  George is not only the state’s top earner, but apparently at the top of the salary list for community college presidents nationwide.

I’m not so interested in whether or not he is overpaid (I think he is) but more in what the heck the Board of Trustees was thinking?  All too often these kinds of Boards can become enablers of the Indispensable Man theory — convincing themselves that whatever performance they are seeing demands some extraordinary compensation.   And this being Delaware, the instincts to take care of “one of our own” are awfully strong.  Because most of them will be in a position to reciprocate at some time or another.  But that doesn’t take away from my larger point that there is  Board of Trustees here who have apparently lost sight of the ball on this, so it seems fair to wonder what else they are basically rubber stamping to the overall detriment of the system?

It doesn’t matter where the funds come from to pay George — there are habits of responsbility that ought to be on display here that are Not.  But as we recently learned, state employees are certainly asked to live with the burden of reduced revenues and some of those employees are persistently underpaid for crucial jobs.  Yet here we find someone paid by taxpayers who is making well over his competitive worth and does so with the approval of some of the same folks making decisions on underpaying other state employees.  You definitely need to be able to entice good leadership to positions like the President of Del Tech, which means a competitive salary and bennies are on order.  But there is no way to talk about the current situation as competitive.  It seems time to review this Board of Trustees and make some changes there to get them to reorient their thinking.

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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

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  1. Mark H says:

    I thought the most telling part of the article was the way George got very large raises yearly, while no one else in State Government did. I thought the rationales were interesting for giving him raises from the board members who were quoted in the article.
    Although Del Tech (an I am an alumnus) has been outstanding in fulfilling it’s mission, I’m pretty sure that George is not the only reason it has done so.
    His pension alone is more than I think he should be making yearly.
    And one more time, I’ll beat this dead horse…As these stories come out, do you think it’s any wonder that State Employees are so upset about the 8% pay cut?

  2. Geezer says:

    “You definitely need to be able to entice good leadership to positions like the President of Del Tech,”

    Or you can do it the Delaware Way, and let a former JFC chief just amble into the job.

    Please don’t forget that Lonnie George was, and for all we know still is, trying to foist a special tax on everyone that only the GA could change in order to guarantee himself … er, I mean DelTech … a dedicated cash flow forever.

  3. FSP says:

    I have a question, for anyone who might know. If George is a “state employee,” that would mean he gets paid from tax dollars. What happens to the tuition money? Does it go into the state and come back to DTCC, or is there state money that supplements the tuition money? Anyone know?

  4. FSP says:

    And I thank Geezer for his help in stopping that travesty. I have seen the honorable President of our fine community college system twice since then, and let’s suffice it to say he’s none too pleased at the outcome of the “transfer tax for DTCC” incident.

  5. cassandra_m says:

    State taxpayers are contributing $71.4 million in operating funds to DelTech this year — 45 percent of its budget.

    This is from the article. It looks like the state supplements the tuition, but don’t they do that for DSU and UD too? No idea how the money actually flows but I wonder of George being a state official is a function of how the college is organized.

  6. I really hope we get more stories like this to help shed some sunshine on the waste in our system.

  7. Geezer says:

    “It looks like the state supplements the tuition, but don’t they do that for DSU and UD too?”

    Not to the tune of 45% of operating budget.

  8. Susan Regis Collins says:

    Lonnie George worked for years to get this position. He earned an Ed.D. (paid for w/tution reimbursement?) which was part of his mission to weedle himself into the top. As coruplent as he looks in today’s pix reflects on how fat he has made himself.

    Need I remind you that St.Rep. Melanie is his daughter….just another legacy elected. Oh, yes, the Dirty Dems take care of each other down thru the generations. Who knows someday Mrs. Melanie will be the new DTCC president. Stay tuned.

  9. Tyler Nixon says:

    Amen all around!!

  10. A Delaware Patriot says:

    I wonder how they justify a 90K bonus.

  11. anonone says:

    Imagine you have two candidates for a job that you can hire:

    – Candidate A will work for $100,000 and bring in $1 million in revenue (sales or endowments)

    – Candidate B will work for $400,000 and bring in $5 million in revenue (sales or endowments)

    Who would you hire? Candidate B, of course. I don’t know what the competition is for George’s job, but maybe he is meeting a performance standard that justifies his compensation relative to what others could achieve or comparable performance at other CCs. That is for the Board to determine.

    It seems like he is doing a very good job. And, by the way, part of his job is to lobby the state for as much money as he can.

  12. John Manifold says:

    DTCC was doing fine before Lonnie George bullied his way into the presidency.

    Arguments like Anonone’s are used to justify never-ending public leeches like Larry Sullivan, N.C. Vasuki and George.

  13. John Manifold says:

    The friendly trustees:

    Dr. James R. Soles, Chairman
    John M. Maiorano, Vice Chairman
    Craig T. Eliassen, Esq.
    Norman D. Griffiths, Esq.
    Louis F. Owens, Jr., M.D.
    Selham Sue Saliba
    Audrey Van Luven

  14. Geezer says:

    John, you’ve finally written a post (#13) that I can wholeheartedly agree with.

  15. He gets paid over $400K for a system with 15K students. Something crazy is going on with his pay and it stinks to high heaven. Does anyone know – does he get an 8% pay cut as well?

  16. Geezer says:

    UI: The article says yes, but only to his base salary.

  17. cassandra_m says:

    And it sounds like this Board could pretty much make up the difference with a discretionary add to his salary and bonus.

    Candidate B will work for $400,000 and bring in $5 million in revenue (sales or endowments)

    Is George bringing in that kind of money for endowments? And, I would imagine that the Board hired him with some expectation of being able to increase the endowment and should have set a number that they wanted. Do you know that the guy you would have paid $1M would not have gotten the $5M endowment target? The Board’s job is to hire the best person to do the work they’ve determined satisfies leadership of that organization for some competitive amount of money. Wall St attitudes to compensation packages don’t seem especially appropriate for a small community college that apparently survives with a massive subsidy from state taxpayers.

  18. anonone says:

    CM asked:
    Do you know that the guy you would have paid $1ook would not have gotten the $5M endowment target?

    Yes, I know with absolute 100% certainty because it was my hypothetical. :)

  19. anonone says:

    UI wrote:

    He gets paid over $400K for a system with 15K students.

    Joe Paterno, Pennsylvania’s highest paid state employee, makes over one-half million dollars a year to coach a football team. I would virtually guarantee that UD’s football coach makes more than Delaware’s governor. Maybe DSU’s coach does too. And how many students are on a football team?

    My point is that the metric of salary dollars-per-student is not the most meaningful metric. The performance metrics of the DTCC system under George appears to be outstanding, and I think the economic value to the state of having a top-shelf CC system is huge. I’d rather over-pay to get great results than race to the bottom for mediocre or poor performance.

  20. anon says:

    Instead of taking 4-8% from state employee slaries, the Governor might be better suited to take 20% of all state employees making more that $150,000. The state is littered with overpaid Beuracrats. Even the governors salary is out of whack compared to other states (Delaware is in the top 10 nationwide.) It’s become embarrassing.

  21. cassandra_m says:

    The performance metrics of the DTCC system under George appears to be outstanding,

    So what are those metrics, so we can all judge?

  22. Geezer says:

    A1: You must be Melanie George.

    Try reading the story again and see if you can handle the numbers this time. CC presidents who make more than this longtime weasel run big CC systems with tens of thousands of students.

    Lonnie’s major “talent” is hiring otherwise unemployable Democrats in the GA so they’ll toss him all their support. He’s the worst of the worst examples of the Delaware Way, and has been for 30 years.

    Go lick his balls somewhere else.

  23. anonone says:

    Cassandra_m asked:
    So what are those metrics, so we can all judge?

    Did you read the article all the way?

    How about 42% growth during his employment, 95% of last years graduates employed in their field of study, and “articulation agreements — deals with larger schools to accept student credits — has grown from 10 to 73.”

    The economic value to the state of those results is huge.

  24. anonone says:

    Geezer:

    You must be Melanie George.

    That would surprise my wife.

    He’s the worst of the worst examples of the Delaware Way

    He may be an example of where the “Delaware Way” actually worked.

    With his track record, my bet is that he could have moved to another job in another state for even more money several years ago if he had wanted to.

  25. anon says:

    Geezer: you are dead on! Time to retire George and hire someone for less money. Running a 3rd rate school is not rocket science. He is the worst of the Delaware Way…and these are the so called “good democrats”?

    If he is so great…let him move to another state and see if he gets the same salary…what a joke.

  26. cassandra m says:

    Did you read the article all the way?

    I did read this article and there is a difference between the accomplishments touted for the paper and performance measurements that should be a part of an employment contract. While those are very good accomplishments and needed, I still don’t know how you value that at almost 500K/year. When others are doing something similar for larger schools for less.

  27. liberalgeek says:

    And I wonder how much the SEED program contributed to those “accomplishments”.

  28. Geezer says:

    It contributes enormously. Do the math, A1 — we’re paying over $4,700 per student.

    Notice what’s missing from his accomplishments? Anything about growing the endowment. Much is made in the article about how this training school pumps out job-ready graduates. Swell. So how about hitting up those companies for donations to the endowment?

    No chance. Lonnie George couldn’t convince you, on his own, to piss on your own pants if they were on fire. His “ability” is linked entirely to his access to the public purse.

    As I said, lick his balls elsewhere.

  29. Gee, I wonder if we reduced his salary to $300K/yr if he would move on to somewhere else. I doubt it, since that is still a lot higher than comparable positions.