institutions including longevity clauses in new
contracts. Under the guidance of Pulliams and
Gold Hill Associates, the Clackamas board added
a clause to Cook’s contract that places $10,000 in
a separate account every year for the next five
years. The president will then have access to those
funds at the end of the fifth year.
“We had a give-and-take on that provision before
reaching an agreement, but (Pulliams) said if you
want to keep your president, you should provide a
financial incentive that pays out after X number of
years,” says board member Greg Chaimov.
Regarding annual salary, talks briefly snagged
when reviewing the contract of Cook’s predecessor and realizing she intentionally underpaid
herself. However, researching administrative
pay at comparable institutions gave Clackamas a
stronger basis to negotiate the right deal.
“We knew what the playing field was,” Chaimov
says. “We also knew we had to have a professional
and cordial negotiation if we were going to get out
of the gate correctly with Dr. Cook.”
A willingness to compromise extended to
Cook’s current housing situation, Chaimov says.
Typically, Clackamas presidents live within the
college district, a provision the board eliminated
so Cook could stay in the community where his
children attended school.
“We decided early on that we weren’t going
to ask him to move,” said Chaimov. “It’s become a
win-win for both of us.”
NO ‘ONE SIZE FITS ALL’
A surprising number of presidential candidates
accept the first deal offered, or do little more than
tweak a few contract compensation terms, according to Pulliams. In these cases, excitement about the
job often overrules logic, or candidates are concerned about injecting contentiousness into what
should be a honeymoon period with their employer.
These emotions are understandable, but it’s
rare when a board’s first offer serves as its final
offer, Pulliams notes. Additionally, there is generally no “one-size-fits-all” contract, even if boards
study the previous leader’s deal as a basis for the
next one. Indeed, a 40-year-old first-time presidential candidate seeking a long-term appointment is
different from an older administrator desiring a
shorter term, transitional contract.
On the board’s side, there’s a danger of chasing
a single candidate without exploring other options.
Conversely, some boards unsure about a candidate Im
president of Sussex
a new, five-year