Davenport breaks into $400,000 per year club

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The salaries of all public servants in Ontario making over $100,000 " including top university administrators in the province " was released on Tuesday, with Western President Paul Davenport making it into the $400,000 club.

Davenport was reported to make $384,375 a year with an extra $21,137 in taxable benefits. His total compensation averages to about $405,512 per year.

The highest paid on the list was McMaster University President and Vice-Chancellor Peter George, whose salary alone was $524,435. However, including benefits John Lyon, managing director of investment strategy for the University of Toronto, has a total compensation of $557,474.

Kul Bhatia, an economics professor at Western, said although these numbers seem abnormally high considering the current recession, one must remember most of these salaries were negotiated long before the economic downturns.

“It doesn’t look very good [for the university], but you have to remember these contracts were made some years ago,” Bhatia explained. “You have to honour the contracts good or bad.”

Western’s future president, Amit Chakma was also on the list, earning approximately $414,411 a year in total compensation with his current position as VP-academic provost at the University of Waterloo. It has not been released what Chakma is expected to make as President of Western.

Chris Sinal, undergraduate representative on Western’s Board of Governors, which negotiates the salaries of top administrators, said one of the reasons universities pay their top staff so well is because they feel they need to in order to stay competitive.

“If one person starts offering massive bonuses, everybody is going to go to that university. As long as all the universities believe [they need to compete], it will keep being true,” Sinal said

Sinal added these numbers might seem unreasonable outside of the university system, but they are quite common and accepted within.

“People’s salaries tend to be correlated to the magnitude of their responsibility. [When] the head of an organization the size of Western, messes up [it] could result in millions of dollars being lost and countless jobs being put at risk, depending on the magnitude of the screw up,” Sinal explained.

However, with the university demanding budget cuts be made across campus and with the current financial situation continuing to look bleak, Sinal said the university is in for a difficult time.

“The university’s expenses of all sorts are increasing while their income is decreasing. These are difficult times for students, staff and faculty.”

  Salary Taxable Benefits Total Compensation
Amit Chakma
VP-academic provost, University of Waterloo
$408,456 $5,955 $414,411
Paul Davenport
President, Western
$384,375 $21,137 $405,512

Source: Macleans

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