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State Sen. Joe Pennacchio. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Pennacchio seeks end of golden parachutes for college officials

Says recent $480k deal for Rutgers chancellor is reason to consider his legislation

By David Wildstein, July 03 2019 9:50 am

Rutgers University shelled out $480,000 for a sabbatical to a university official who worked for one year and has no plans to return.

Debasish “Deba” Dutta, who served as chancellor of the New Brunswick campus, accepted a new job last month at the University of Michigan.

State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) says his bill to end non-contractually authorized golden parachute payments for New Jersey public colleges and universities needs to be considered in the wake of Dutta’s departure.

“The state’s largest public research university is forking over nearly half-a-million dollars to pay for an early departing administrator’s one-year vacation. This handout is a gross misuse by Rutgers of the tuition they receive from students and the tax dollars they receive from the State,” said Pennacchio.  “Every dollar Rutgers wastes on these payouts is a dollar not spent on teaching and research. With tuition and student debt on the rise, I am calling for the State Legislature to take action to end this fiscally-irresponsible practice.”

Pennacchio’s legislation would require the state Secretary of Higher Education to approve some higher education employment contracts.

“The former chancellor’s actions are the ultimate example of, ‘take the money and run,’” Pennacchio added. “University administrators who already make well over six figures should not take State funded handouts with no accountability. That money could go to fund scholarship programs for student in need or help to upgrade outdated facilities. We can and must do better.”

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