Gitenstein awarded 6 percent salary increase

After a year in which she received no salary increase, College President R. Barbara Gitenstein got a 6 percent salary increase for the upcoming year.

The 6 percent raise, approved in July by the Board of Trustees, brings Gitenstein’s base salary to $266,537, she said in an e-mail.

Her contract, which has been in place since 2001, includes free housing, along with utilities, cable TV and phone service, and a leased vehicle to be replaced every three years, along with fuel costs and car insurance. The College also contributes 8 percent of her base salary to a retirement plan, Gitenstein said.

Paul Shelly, director of communications for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU), said Gitenstein’s salary is typical of other institutions.

NJASCU advocates in Trenton on behalf of nine state colleges and universities, including the College, Montclair State University, Rowan University and William Paterson University.

Shelly said Gitenstein’s salary is safely within the $240,000 to $285,000 range of salaries of presidents at the other schools NJASCU represents.

“I am perfectly happy that my salary is not at the top of the NJASCU salary range,” Gitenstein said.

Gitenstein said she is evaluated by the Board of Trustees every year and only receives pay increases based on merit.

“The key is to keep the compensation in the proper context,” Matt Golden, director of communications and media relations, said via e-mail.

According to Golden, Gitenstein manages about 1,000 employees and 7,000 students, maintains relationships with political and business leaders and makes decisions about the allocation and generation of resources, among other tasks.

“These are not your typical jobs,” Golden said. “They are very complex, demanding and time-consuming.”

Golden added that while Gitenstein’s salary is average for NJASCU-affiliated presidents, there are some schools who pay their presidents even higher salaries.

Rutgers University, which is not NJASCU-affiliated, pays its president, Richard McCormick, a base salary of $525,000.

Shelly said this is partly because public research universities, like Rutgers University, and private schools generally pay their presidents much higher salaries.

“It’s not just about what you pay them,” Shelly added. “It’s also about retaining the president.”

Shelly said college and university presidents who do well become hirable throughout the nation by both public and private schools. Therefore, schools have to provide incentives for their presidents so that they don’t change leadership too often.

“I think there’s a desire to keep presidents’ salaries within similar ranges of each other,” Shelly said.

He said by doing so, colleges and universities can retain good presidents, as well as avoid the expense of searching for a new president.

Shelly said in the past colleges were more tightly regulated by the state. Now, they have more autonomy, but must also measure against each other to pay their presidents competitively.

“It’s not like it used to be,” Shelly said. “There’s a cost to being too cheap.”