State legislative leaders are not happy about soaring administrative costs at the University of Minnesota and sent a letter to the school president demanding swift action.
Saying the issue of administratrive salaries "has taken on a life of its own," Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, are asking university officials to complete an analysis of administrative positions by the middle of March.
“We understand that a thorough analysis will likely take more time, yet having this interim report will provide us with a strong tool as we formulate and hope to pass a 2013 budget,” they wrote.
The university is asking legislators for more than $1 billion over the next two years. The U of M's request could face more trouble at the Capitol if lawmakers believe administrative costs are out of control.
The letter stems from a recent Wall Street Journal article that showed that the U of M had the largest administrative payroll of any major, research university. The Journal found that the U of M’s payroll has swelled “beyond 19,000 employees, nearly one for every 3½ students."
Bakk said he does not want to see the state’s flagship university the subject of critical coverage on a national scale.
The university’s success in the Legislature will hinge in part on how well administrators address the issues raised in the article, he said. "We are seeking some answers."
Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said the state cannot continue down that path where college becomes increasingly unaffordable and students graduate hobbled by overwhelming debt.
Here’s the WSJ article and the letter to Kaler below: