Lefton Awarded $104K Bonus by Kent State Trustees
Kent State's eleventh president will mark the start of his eighth year in office this summer
Kent State University President Lester Lefton will receive a performance bonus of $104,450 this summer when his eighth year as president of what is now Ohio's second-largest public university starts.
The Kent State Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to award the president the performance bonus, which amounts to 25 percent of his current base salary of $417,799.
The bonus is effective July 1. His base salary and bonus excludes deferred compensation, a car allowance and $50,000 annual housing allowance.
Jane Timken, chair of the university trustees board, said the board conducted its own evaluation of Lefton's performance this year based on nine goal and metric definitions he suggested, and the board agreed to, earlier this year.
"It should come as no surprise the results were very positive," Timken said. "Lefton continues to be the right leader at the right time."
The nine criteria the board evaluated Lefton on are:
- Construction, largely on campus but including development of projects such as the new Kent State Hotel
- University finances
- Enrollment, which has set numerous records in recent years
- Academics, with such benchmarks as obtaining state technology grants
- Leadership development, including university initiatives driven by the president's administrative staff
- Integration of new people and programs, such as the acquisition-merger of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine
- Diversity, as measured in part by minority appointments
- Fund raising, university relations and athletics
- Downtown development
You can read the criteria as proposed by Lefton to the trustees in a 22-page letter from the president attached to this article.
Kent State trustee Dennis Eckart called Lefton's first seven years as president transformational and added that Lefton and his administration have made numerous positive physical, fiscal and personnel investments during his tenure.
"In several years, you’re not going to recognize this place," Eckart said.
Awarding of Lefton's bonus has become somewhat of a formality, particularly given that his bonus is contractually obligated.
In 2012, the trustees awarded Lefton a $102,000 bonus in June at the same time they approved 2 percent raise in his base salary.
When he was first hired in 2006 his contract stipulated his performance bonus would be no more than 20 percent of his base salary. Trustees amended the agreement in 2009 to increase the performance bonus to 25 percent of his base pay.
Timken said the board determined Lefton was meeting or exceeding all nine of those goals and metrics agreed upon for his evaluation.
"And is well deserving of his full performance bonus," she said. "His vision and leadership has been outstanding and we are pleased, highly pleased, with his performance.”