Documents: University of Iowa president Mason working without contract

Mason termed 'at-will' employee; board wants president to 'reframe and reprioritize' goals

Diane Heldt
Published: December 7 2012 | 1:05 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 3:06 am in
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UPDATE: University of Iowa President Sally Mason's five-year contract expired July 31, and she has been working since then as an at-will employee of the university, according to documents from the regents office.

State Board of Regents President Craig Lang did not immediately return a message seeking comment today, and a regents office spokeswoman said she was unsure if Lang would say anything beyond the comments he made this week to Iowa Public Radio about Mason.

But a letter from Lang to Mason dated Aug. 3 says the regents asked Mason to lay out ways in which she planned to "reframe and reprioritize her goals" for this academic year.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Mason said based upon her discussion with the regents in August, she and the board set "mutually agreed upon goals that I am committed to reaching."

"The regents have asked us to improve our outreach across the state and the university's relationship building with the Iowa Legislature, and to set specific targets on a range of objectives," Mason said in the statement. "The board members told me that they want the University of Iowa be well known for the great benefits it brings to the state, and I can’t agree more with that stance. I am committed to achieving the goals we established together and working to best of my ability to serve the citizens of Iowa."

Mason also said her initial employment period was for five years, a contract that ended on July 31, 2012.

"I was satisfied with the five-year deferred compensation plan for me that ends June 30, 2016, which the board approved last year," she said.

Lang told Iowa Public Radio the regents are asking Mason to improve the university's statewide outreach, improve relations with the Iowa Legislature and establish goals.

"We'd like to see the University of Iowa be well-known for the things it brings to the state," Lang told Iowa Public Radio. "The dentists, the nurses, the lawyers, the communication – that the university is doing really great things. And we think all of that kind of communication starts at the top."

Mason, along with Iowa State University President Steven Leath and University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen, received a 2 percent pay raise in August after the regents conducted closed-session annual evaluations of the presidents.

Mason's salary this year is $493,272, and she also has a deferred compensation package with a $150,000 annual contribution through June 30, 2016. That deferred compensation package has been in place since 2007, and the amount was increased to $150,000 in 2011.

Mason's five-year contract as UI president began Aug 1, 2007, when she started at a salary of $450,000.

A letter dated Aug. 3, 2012 from Lang to Mason states the board "has also asked you to reframe and reprioritize your goals for 2012-13 based upon our discussion with you during your evaluation. Please submit your reframed and reprioritized goals to Executive Director Bob Donley no later than Aug. 20, 2012."

A regents office spokeswoman said Friday goals submitted by Mason are not considered part of her official contract, which is public record. But since the goals are considered part of Mason's personnel record, the board office will not release the document without Mason's permission.

A request has been submitted to the UI for a copy of Mason's new goals for 2012-13.

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