Lighter side: The ultimate redistribution of wealth?

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Here’s a story to feel good about: the interim president of a Kentucky university has cut $90,000 from his nearly $350,000 salary so that the employees making the least amount of money can increase their wages.

Raymond Burse of Kentucky State University in Frankfort was previously president of the school from 1982 to 1989 and in the beginning of July came out of retirement to take the lead once more after having held an executive position at General Electric. The cut in his salary meant that 24 employees got an hourly raise from $7.25 to $10.25.

“I think it will be impactful,” Burse said. “How impactful, I don’t know.”

The Hopkinsville, Kentucky native said the pay cut was not for publicity, but for the people, adding that it was an act he had been thinking about from the moment he came back to his former post. 

The move – Burse’s first since coming back into office – comes at a challenging time for the campus. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, enrollment is down to 1,900, with fewer than 20 percent of students graduating within six years. There is a $7 million budget shortfall as well.

“The institution doesn’t need a caretaker,” Burse told the newspaper. “It needs some leadership.”

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  • Jeannie McQuaid on 2014-10-17 4:43:05 PM

    Bravo! The president's salary, converted to an hourly rate is the equivalent of $168/hour. Now those people who were making $7.25 an hour may not have the education or skill set that Raymond Burse has, but they probably work just as hard in their own jobs. It really is hard to justify that kind of disparity in wages.
    I hope other "leaders" follow his example.

  • David Hertel on 2014-10-18 3:58:46 AM

    This is a total Gimick! Of course it will garnish publicity, and possibly increrase enrollment. Small price to pay for a little risk with huge potential returns. What other benefits is Mr. Burse receiving in lieu of his decision to reduce his "Official" salary?

  • Justin B. on 2014-10-21 1:18:37 PM

    He may not be getting any sort of additional benefit. $260,000 is still a very big salary. And if he used to work at the school, perhaps he is also personally invested in seeing the school get onto a better footing.

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