Of State's Universities, Only U Of Iowa Has Spouse Of President On Payroll

Ann McClure's picture
Friday, May 11, 2012

Although the head of the Iowa Board of Regents says the duties of a university president’s spouse are equal to that of a full-time job, only one of Iowa’s three state universities has put the president’s spouse on its payroll.

Iowa State University officials said Wednesday that newly hired President Steven Leath’s wife isn’t being paid, and University of Northern Iowa officials said Ben Allen’s wife also does not receive money from the school or university foundation.

The Des Moines Register reported Sunday that Ken Mason, the husband of University of Iowa President Sally Mason, has held down two part-time jobs at the school since 2007 when his wife was hired. One job, that of a lecturer in the biology department, currently pays $53,400 per year. The other, that of “presidential fundraiser,” pays $54,175 per year.

It’s still unclear how the jobs were arranged. Sally Mason told the Daily Iowan this week that she negotiated the positions with the Board of Regents. But Michael Gartner, former president of the Board of Regents, says he “made the deal” to hire Sally Mason and has no recollection of such an agreement. Gary Steinke, who was the executive director of the Board of Regents in 2007, has said that he recalls no such arrangement, either.

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