CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The council that oversees the state’s community and technical colleges is telling the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors to go back to the drawing board on a contract extension and pay raise for Southern President Robert Gunter.
The Council for Community and Technical College Education rejected the deal at its meeting Thursday. A $15,000 pay increase is too much, Council Chairman Bob Brown said.
“The faculty and staff have averaged about a three percent salary increase over the last couple of years. We didn’t’ feel it was prudent to approve a contract with an 11 percent ($15,000) salary increase,” Brown said. He added there also some technical problems with the contract.
Gunter, according to Brown, is “a talented individual and brings a lot to the table,” but given the economy in southern West Virginia a major pay increase may “alienate the public.”
The Southern board voted Oct. 30 to give Gunter a four-and-half year contract extension and increase his base salary from $142,000 to $157,864.
BOG Chair Howard Seufer told MetroNews at the time the recommendation came after a comprehensive review of Gunter’s work.
“It highlighted the innovative ideas he’s brought to the college and in the board’s view he’s done a good job of positioning the college for the future and it meets the needs of the people of southern West Virginia and the employers,” Seufer said.
The extension also came with a message from the BOG in connection with problems Gunter has had with the Southern faculty.
“The board did note concerns expressed by some faculty members about morale and the review encourages Dr. Gunter to take the initiative in dealing with those concerns and then informing the board of governors of his progress in doing that,” Seufer told MetroNews.
Forty-one of 57 Southern faculty members voted in October in favor of a “no confidence” motion.
Brown didn’t indicate Thursday the rejection had anything to do with the issues between Gunter and the faculty.
“I just think we can find some solution somewhere in the middle,” Brown said. “Everybody wants to get this done and everyone recognizes what we’re dealing with. I think at the end of the day the board of governors at Southern will recognize the optics of approving a contract of that magnitude.”
Gunter’s current contract ends Dec. 31.