County News

Regarding a recent story of Yavapai College President Penny Wills’ salary increases, Yavapai College District Governing Board member Deb McCasland said that Wills is currently being paid $270,000 per year.

“Please remember that this is my personal opinion and does not reflect official board opinion,” McCasland stated. “I, personally, believe that Dr. Wills’ salary is too high. Compared to local pay scales, other research and the enrollment drop, definitely she is overpaid.

“Even if I am off, anything over $250,000 is too much — especially when the taxpayers and students are subject to repeated increases because the college needs more money to operate .... Since Wills’ hiring, she has received very generous salary increases from the board.”

“Her salary last year was $248,585. Plus $15,000 in additional compensation.  With this year’s 1.7 percent increase, she is receiving $252,810 plus $15,000 additional compensation, for a total of $267,811. Then there are her additional benefits,” McCasland said.

McCasland stated that Wills received the following salary increases:

  • 2012-13: 2.38 percent increase
  • 2013-14: 5 percent increase
  • 2014-15: 5 percent increase
  • 2015-16: 1.78 percent increase

Beginning with the initial figure, Wills’ 2015-16 salary is approximately $252,743. This does not include any other type of compensation, such as the $15,000 expense budget increase Wills received in 2013-14 and may still be receiving.

With enrollment of 8,400, Wills’ salary equates to $30.08 per student. The president of Pima College salary is comparable but with 37,000 students equates to $7.84 per student. The president of Arizona State University’s salary is double Wills’ but has 70,000 students, equating to $6.79 per student.

According to McCasland, getting documents essential to the task of determining Wills’ salary has been a challenge: “This is public information. However, even as a new board member they — the administration and Ray Sigafoos as chair of the board — hesitated to give it to me.

“I asked for other community college president salaries. The response at the next meeting from [Yavapai College Vice President of Finance and Administration Services] Clint Ewell was that the other districts would not share this information. We all know this is public information.”

Recently, McCasland attended a national community college convention and inquired with other community college board members about their presidents’ salaries.

“A large community college district in Northern California with over 80,000 students does not pay presidents this much,” McCasland stated. “If I remember correctly, their chancellor might make this much. The trustee commented that no president should be paid that much.

“I talked to no one that was paid such a high salary. Often the response was, ‘You pay your president $270,000 plus benefits? I’ll come work for you.’ All of the YC administration is overpaid. The vice presidents each make at least $150,000.”


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