Robert Kennedy, the higher education chief who resigned Oct. 12 amid an uproar over $250,000 in unauthorized raises given to his subordinates, received at least $100,000 more than his widely reported $340,000 annual salary in 13 months on the job — including $75,000 from a contractual bonus and an unvouchered expense account.
What's more, the now-departed appointee of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is still eligible for an additional $20,000 in "deferred compensation" — even after he's gone.
And although there was criticism over Kennedy's 8½-week absence from Connecticut during the summer, he's still expected to be paid more than $4,000 for 26.67 hours of "accrued vacation."
Here — after an examination of the lucrative employment contract he negotiated with Malloy's office, and responses by Board of Regents spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan Johnson to a Courant Freedom of Information Act request — is the final tally on Kennedy's compensation:
-- $377,778 in base salary, coming in 29 two-week paychecks of $13,027 at the rate of $340,000 a year, since he started in September 2011 as president for the newly formed Board of Regents for Higher Education.
-- Two payments of $25,000 each, last spring and in July, under a provision in his contract for unvouchered expenses. Of that $50,000 total, the only documented expenses were $218.64 for December 2011 and January 2012. He was paid the other $49,781 under a contract provision giving him "an annual unvouchered accommodation account" of $25,000 to be used at his "sole discretion." Kennedy's service straddled two different fiscal years — state budget periods that run from July 1 to the next June 30 — and he got a $25,000 payment for each, Flanagan Johnson said. The contract said the account was intended for "fundraising, community outreach, memberships and enhancing to the position of the Board of Regents."
-- A $25,000 "performance based incentive" — that is, a bonus — paid for meeting his "Year 1" goal, which was to "establish the central system office of the Board of Regents to provide the necessary business, policy, human resources and academic leadership for the System which includes the Community and Technical colleges, the Connecticut State University System and Charter Oak State College." The state's flagship University of Connecticut operates separately, with its own board of trustees, president and administration for its campuses — the main one in Storrs.
-- $19,274 in moving reimbursements for his relocation from both his main residence in Maine and his summer home in Minnesota upon his arrival in Connecticut in 2011. He and his wife found an apartment in Bloomfield when he took the job.
-- $4,343 for the 26.67 unused hours of vacation, based on his hourly pay rate of $162.83.
-- $15,183 in health care expenses under the state's plan.
-- Use of a $36,863 SUV, a 2012 Toyota Highlander SE, which he received on Sept. 13, 2011. It has been retrieved and is sitting in the Board of Regents' parking lot in Hartford.
-- A few expense reimbursements totaling $1,081 which, for reasons not yet explained, did not come out of the unvouchered expense account. They included $224 for repairs to the state-owned vehicle, $48 for parking on three days this year, and $809 for travel to a conference in Washington, D.C.
-- The $20,000 in deferred compensation, to which the contract said Kennedy is entitled for "each full year of service."
Flanagan Johnson said that the deferred compensation is the only amount listed above that has not yet been paid to Kennedy — with the possible exception of the $4,343 for the unused vacation time. That's supposed to be in his final paycheck, and Flanagan Johnson said Friday that she was not sure it had been issued yet.
In addition to drawing anger over the more than $250,000 in raises that he gave his staff without the legally required authorization, Kennedy also drew criticism in the days leading to his resignation after the disclosure that he worked "remotely" from his Minnesota home last summer. He said he did that under a contractual provision allowing him 6 weeks of "annual paid professional leave." Subsequently, an examination of his time sheets showed that he was actually gone for nearly nine weeks.
The chairman of the Board of Regents, Lewis Robinson Jr., has said he thought the contract provision was intended for "professional development" activities such as seminars, but Kennedy said he had been told that his remote working arrangement was OK.
The contract was negotiated with Kennedy in 2011 by Malloy's chief of staff at the time, Timothy Bannon, who since has left the office, Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy's senior adviser, said Friday. It was Bannon who told Kennedy he could use the professional leave provision to work from Minnesota, Occhiogrosso said.
At the time of the negotiation, Kennedy said he already had made a commitment to spend the six weeks in Minnesota, and so it was agreed he could use the provision for that, Occhiogrosso said. Malloy "was under the impression" that the working-from-Minnesota arrangement "was for the first year only," Occhiogrosso added.
Flanagan Johnson said that none of the $19,274 in moving expense reimbursements were connected with the weeks he spent during the summer at his Minnesota home.
Kennedy was not the only casualty of the controversy that has brought political embarrassment and heavy criticism concerning Malloy's much-ballyhooed reorganization of the system governing the four state universities and 12 regional community-technical colleges.
Kennedy's departure was quickly followed by the resignation of his second-in-command, Michael P. Meotti, the former executive vice president for the regents. Meotti was one of 21 employees who got a raise — $48,000, effective June 29, to a new level of $232,244. That raise, as well as the other 20, have been suspended while the Board of Regents tries to decide what to do.
Meotti has agreed to return $9,195 in increased salary already paid to him. He is still working in a transitional role, with no date yet announced for his actual departure
Meanwhile, the Board of Regents has named former UConn President Philip Austin as interim replacement for Kennedy.
Also involved in the controversy at the Board of Regents were communications from the central office that raised fears that community college presidents would be pushed out of their jobs through forced buyouts if they didn't go along with proposed changes.
Jon Lender is a reporter on The Courant's investigative desk, with a focus on government and politics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-241-6524, or c/o The Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115 and find him on Twitter@jonlender.