UofL Foundation ends deferred compensation plan

UofL Foundation ends deferred compensation plan

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Don't spend more than you've earned.

That was the take-away from the University of Louisville Foundation meeting on Tuesday.

The body is working to gain back trust after excessive spending came to light under the leadership of former President James Ramsey.

As the University seeks a new President, foundation board members believe it's time to get their financial house in order. A big part of that - spending cuts and ending the controversial deferred compensation plan.

"When it's simple, it's more transparent and there's a greater understanding out there," said Foundation Chair Diane Medley.

The UofL Foundation Board understands all the money being spent hasn't exactly been simple for the public or even its own board members to grasp.

"You need to dumb it down for the pizza guy here," laughed board member and Papa John's founder John Schnatter.

Tracking the money isn't just a request from the pizza mogul. After plenty of negative publicity in the wake of Ramsey's leadership, the UofL Foundation is changing the way it does business and establishing three new goals: Make sure that it's prudently run, that it has longevity and that it honors donor commitments.

Foundation Executive Director Keith Sherman explained a major reduction in spending of nearly $14 million.

"The spend to the business units and to fund advancement operations and strategic needs of the president's office is about $31 million," Sherman said. "When you compare that, it was almost $44 million last year."

And, the controversial practice of deferred compensation is over. That practice allowed top administrators like Ramsey to accumulate millions in bonuses. Under the new plan, only those now vested will get their money.

The foundation also agrees with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools with accreditation: The university president cannot also be the foundation president, which James Ramsey was.

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"We just want to make sure the public knows that we're going to make the best decision we can to protect this foundation for the long hall because there's a lot of support in the community for this university and we want to make sure we're a part of it," Medley said.

University officials said the interim university president was already made aware that the cuts were coming.

When it comes to deferred compensation, in three years, the foundation can look at it again and re-evaluate what worked and what didn't.

The finance committee is also set to increase its members from seven to ten to put more eyes on investments.

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