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State university system eliminates bonus for chancellor but adds deferred compensation

Robert Caret, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, will not get a $75,000 bonus but will get defer

The state university system's Board of Regents revised Chancellor Robert L. Caret's compensation package Friday to reflect a policy change announced in late August.

Caret's new employment contract does not include a performance bonus provision as the agreement did when he took the job leading the 12-campus University System of Maryland in 2015.

The board had previously changed its policy and eliminated bonus awards for the system's chancellor and campus presidents after being criticized by state lawmakers for a $75,000 bonus Caret would have received this year. Caret’s base salary of $630,000 did not change under Friday’s revision and includes a $30,000 raise approved by the board in June.

During a hearing before a joint education subcommittee of state lawmakers in August, Board Chairman James Brady said the board would restructure Caret's contract, possibly increasing the base salary or looking for other tools to make up for the bonus agreed to in the original contract. The board, which met Friday at Bowie State University, revised the package by putting in place a deferred compensation plan. It is contingent on Caret remaining chancellor or employed by the university system for a certain period and on not being terminated or resigning.

Under the new plan, he would be granted $150,000 in January 2017, which would be available to him in January 2019, and $250,000 in January 2018, which would be available on June 30, 2020 toward the end of his five-year appointment.

The university system has used similar types of deferred compensation plans for about a decade, and some high-level employees are eligible for such packages, said Mike Lurie, a USM spokesman. None of the system's campus presidents have contracts that include bonuses.

Criticism of Caret's bonus, offered at a time when student tuition has increased, surfaced after the board of regents officially awarded the $75,000 during a closed-door meeting in Cambridge in June.

The amount had been promised in an employment contract when Caret left the University of Massachusetts System in 2015 to lead the Maryland system.

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