Penn State trustees may create salary panel

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State University Board of Trustees' committee on governance and long-range planning Thursday recommended a compensation committee be set up to decide salaries for high-level administrators, such as the university president, athletic director and executive vice president and provost.

Susan Basso, vice president of human resources, said the decision to formalize a compensation committee came in part to keep pace with similar universities. The University of Pittsburgh has had a compensation committee for more than a decade, and several other Big Ten universities have compensation committees as well.

Under the proposed plan the proposal will be considered at the November trustees meeting.

Penn State is set to hire a new university president by next June, when Rodney Erickson plans to step down.

In other news, since the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal erupted in November 2011, there have been myriad public meetings and discussions featuring trustees. On Thursday, the committee on governance and long-range planning discussed the possibility of only wanting the overall board's interests to come across in these instances.

"Not that public attendance of us should be controlled or discouraged," said Frank Guadagnino, an attorney used by Penn State. "But trying to find a way to figure out if the university's interests could come out more clearly."

Board chairman Keith Masser pointed out that a standing order in the board's code detailed how it could be damaging for individual trustees to publicly criticize or subvert the board's decisions.

Trustee Anthony Lubrano disagreed.

"To try to stifle what someone says would be a mistake," he said, "and I don't think anyone would stand for that, frankly."

Committee members discussed plans to formalize the information flow among trustees and university leaders without reaching a consensus or considering any motions.

And the committee on outreach, development and community relations discussed the possibility of adjusting the public comment session at trustee meetings. Trustees Joel Myers and Ryan McCombie said they wanted to find a way to allow for civil discussion and for a better opportunity to respond to the public comments.

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Mark Dent:, 412-439-3791 or on Twitter @mdent05.


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