Southwestern Illinois College just hired a new president at a healthy salary of $172,000. But trustees must not think their former chairman, Nick Mance, would have taken the job unless they sweetened the offer.
Better give him $750 a month for a car.
Better give him $400 a month for technology.
Better give him another $750 a month for expenses.
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That's a lot of sweetening, but then, they've always offered stipends for those little extras. Wouldn't want a college administrator filling out a mileage form or driving to work on his own dime like the taxpayers who must shell out for the president's perks.
Or living with a basic cell phone package and using his predecessor's laptop. Or holding business lunches in the college cafeteria.
Trustees had a chance to cut $22,800 a year in unnecessary expense with the change in president. They failed to take advantage of the opportunity, because status quo is too often the default for institutional government.
The money might not have saved any of the 94 jobs recently eliminated or reduced at SWIC, although you've got to wonder how glutted the payroll was when about 40 of those jobs were administrators that the community college is managing to live without.
But cutting the perks would have sent a message: Times are tough, enrollment is down, we've all got to tighten our belts.
Instead they are telling their staff and taxpayers that leadership is immune. They need that expense account so they can have dessert, and you can bet they order cake.