In the bloated bureaucracy that is the University of Massachusetts, all the $300,000-a-year paper-shufflers are not only overly entitled, they are overly titled.
In the Army, an enlistee goes in as a private. You work your way up, to private first class, then corporal and so on.
If you look at ZooMass’s current payrolls, it becomes clear that their equivalent of a buck private is a “chancellor.”
On the campuses, chancellors of one form or another seem to very nearly outnumber janitors, groundskeepers or campus cops, and most certainly classroom instructors.
You’ve got your chancellors, vice chancellors, associate vice chancellors, senior vice chancellors, associate chancellors, assistant chancellors, assistant vice chancellors, etc.
Does anyone know the pecking order of all these rear-echelon eggheads? Which chancellor outranks the other?
Salaries aren’t based solely on your chancellorship, or chancellorhood, or whatever the International Brotherhood of Chancellors is calling itself, because in most cases, the associate chancellor is grabbing more dough than the assistant chancellor.
But then I came across one Jody Goodell, an assistant vice chancellor — the UMass equivalent of a non-commissioned officer — making $254,901. That is more than at least two “associate vice chancellors” who are scrimping by on a mere $250K per annum.
We’ve all heard of grade inflation in higher ed. Who knew how out of control job-description inflation has gotten?
When I worked at Boston City Hall way back when, it was teeming with hacks. But Mayor Kevin White only had a couple of job descriptions for most of his payroll patriots.
If you were a “senior administrative assistant,” that meant you were one of his 200-plus precinct captains.
If you were a “deputy superintendent,” you were one of the 22 ward bosses — coordinators, as they were called.
The precinct captains answered to the ward bosses, both during elections and on those rare occasions when they showed up at Government Center. Usually on pay day, in that pre-direct deposit era.
Not showing up for work is one thing that hasn’t changed. Only now it’s… COVID, don’t you know.
At UMass, by their diminutives ye shall know them. Every puffed-up title must be modified by, say, associate, assistant, deputy, senior or even, in one case “chief.” (I’m sure that will be changed.)
The more diminutives in your title, the higher up you are on the… I can’t say totem pole anymore, can I?
For instance, consider one Patti Onorato. She used to be the associate vice chancellor for $269,610 a year, according to the state comptroller.
Then in 2019 Patti got a promotion, from two diminutives to three — “deputy executive vice chancellor of operations.”
Her pay is now $348,925 a year.
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Chancellor isn’t the only conflated job description in academia, or should I say hackademia. You’ve also got your deans and your provosts and your “distinguished” professors. The real jackpot comes when you can combine multiple titles with multiple diminutives.
Consider the glittering job description of Terence Flotte — “executive deputy chancellor provost and dean.”
Two diminutives, three titles! BINGO! Flotte’s grabbing $1,139,627 a year. That is what Mike Dukakis used to call a good job at a good wage.
This explosion in the number of overpaid, underworked layabouts is not restricted to third-rate hackeramas like UMass. Harvard’s got the same toxic problem.
In a column for the Harvard Crimson in November, an undergraduate wryly described his recent visit to a Harvard hack holding pen:
“Doors upon doors of largely empty office spaces spanned the corridor, each emblazoned with a name cobbled together from academic-professional buzzwords like ‘coordinator’ and ‘vice provost.’”
He continued: “I had to ask myself. Where did all these people come from? And do we really need them?”
Bite your tongue kid. I don’t know about Harvard, but UMass surely requires a “vice chancellor diversity/equity/inclusion.”
That would be Nefertiti Walker, for $352,605 a year.
Whitey Bulger’s brother William retired as UMass president back in 2003 — another nationwide search. And to this day, 20 years later, the Corrupt Midget pockets a kiss in the mail of $272,000 a year.
Perhaps that sum still seems outrageous to you. But in retrospect, Bulger got taken care of before things got out of control at UMass.
He was succeeded by a guy named “Jack Wilson,” which always sounded to me like an alias that Whitey Bulger might have used on the lam. The man known as “Jack Wilson” retired in 2011 and is now 78 years old. But guess what?
Jack Wilson is still slurping at the UMass trough for $313,266 a year! I repeat, he is not retired. He remains on the state payroll as “President Emeritus.”
Talk about forgotten but not gone.
It used to be that when the UMass payroll came out every year, I’d print the database of everyone making over $100,000 a year. Last week as I began my customary procedure, the printer started groaning and I realized that the number of six-figure earners had climbed to 4,447.
I was going to have to run out to Staples and buy another ream of copy paper and a few more ink cartridges to finish the print run, so I cut it off at 15 pages with 35 names per page —525 employees.
The lowest paid of those 525 ZooMass worthies was making $219,000 a year.
However, many questions remain unanswered. Why, for instance, does a payroll Charlie like James Healy, with three, count ‘em three, diminutives — he’s the “deputy executive vice chancellor” — have to scrimp by on a mere $342,191 a year?
And with all these brilliant credentialed types on the payroll, what exactly are the duties of Terence Dougherty, “corporate strategy advisor” for $290,747 a year?
Seems like they’ve only got one strategy at UMass — hire everybody in sight, at least as long as they’re woke, and pay ‘em all at least $200K a year.
Then there’s Mark Preble, the “senior human resources advisor,” for $309,921 a year. Even by UMass standards, that sounds like some real heavy lifting, doesn’t it?
I didn’t go to UMass, but my brother and one of my daughters did. Don’t I deserve a little something too? I’d settle for Michelle Budig’s job as “senior vice provost.” For $271,496 a year, I could somehow endure the shame of having a mere two diminutives in my job title.
Most of all, though, I’d like to be a professor. I don’t need to be distinguished, you can call me “extinguished.”
My dream UMass job: “Extinguished Professor Emeritus.” I ask for no special consideration, just treat me like Jack Wilson.
All I need is $450,000 a year for life. At UMass, that’s considered middle management.
The UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Memorial, University campus is just one of the many branches of the University of Massachusetts in which to stash the 4,447 employees who made more than $100K last year. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)
Chancellor Michael Collins of the UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, seen here in an August 2022 file photo, was the university’s system-wide biggest earner, pulling in a gross of nearly $1.3 million in 2022. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)
Frank Martin, seen coaching South Carolina during an NCAA men’s college basketball game against Mississippi State in Tampa, Fla., on March 10, 2022, was hired on later that month as the head coach at UMass. Records show it was a profitable move, as he raked in $1.13 million over the course of last year in his new job. That placed him as one of three million-plus earners at the university system, following Drs. Michael Collins and Terence Flotte of the medical school. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)