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Kerwin’s total compensation rises above $1 million

AU President Neil Kerwin received more than $1.3 million in total compensation for the 2012 fiscal year, amounting to a $491,534 increase from the previous year, according to public tax filings with the Internal Revenue Service.

The fiscal year is a term that describes the year-long period in which an organization follows the same budget. AU’s fiscal year begins on May 1 and ends on April 30 of the following year.

The University paid Kerwin the increase largely due to a rise in base salary in the 2011 fiscal year and multiple years of deferred compensation being paid.

Kerwin’s base salary rose to $563,191 in the 2012 fiscal year, a $31,916 increase from 2011 fiscal year’s base salary of $531,275. Kerwin’s base salary in the 2011 fiscal year increased by $29,025 from $502,250 in the 2010 fiscal year.

In addition to his base salary, Kerwin was awarded almost $137,450 in bonus and incentive compensation during the 2012 fiscal year and $81,108 in benefits, which included healthcare, retirement benefits and life insurance, according to Jeffrey Sine, the chair of the AU Board of Trustees.

The University granted Kerwin bonus and incentive compensation based on his achievements and performance, which were assessed by the board, Sine said in an email to the AU community.

“The purpose of deferred compensation is to retain top talent,” Camille Lepre, the assistant vice president of University Communications, said in an email. “It is based on a percentage of annual salary.”

Deferred compensation refers to money held in trust by an employer until a set date when it is paid out. If Kerwin left before his contract ends or before the deferred compensation was vested, he would forfeit the deferred compensation, according to Sine.

Kerwin earned $109,960 in deferred compensation during the 2012 fiscal year, according to Sine. In addition, $438,138 in deferred compensation from 2008-2010 was allocated and invested in a trust, which generated $63,561 in investment gains. This deferred compensation was awarded as part of Kerwin’s total compensation for the 2012 fiscal year.

The Board of Trustees works with Mercer, a human resources and executive compensation consulting firm, that provides market-based analysis and data for compensation decisions, Lepre said.

“Mercer’s assessment confirmed that the salary increase for President Kerwin was well within the range for university presidents and kept pace with market conditions and individual performance,” Lepre said.

Student Government Comptroller Ben Johnson said AU should focus its resources on students rather than the president’s salary.

“I think it is a misplacement of priorities to put our president safely in the 1 percent, while leaving students in the middle class, working class, concerned whether or not they will be able to afford this University,” Johnson said.

However, Lepre said decisions regarding Kerwin’s compensation are not based on tuition increases.

“We want the best and expect the most, so we are committed to provide fair and competitive compensation,” Sine said through University Communications in an email to The Eagle.

dlim@theeagleonline.com


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