When Sanjay Sharma, former dean of the John Molson School of Business, left Concordia for an administrative position at the University of Vermont in Burlington in 2011, he took $96,245 with him as part of a contractual obligation.
Concordia University provides academic deans with the option of an administrative leave at the end of their five-year term that allots to six months of their base salary and for deans serving two terms, the leave amounts to a year’s compensation.
Administrative leaves allow deans to pursue other academic interests if they so choose, according to university spokesperson Chris Mota. As part of his contract, Sharma was entitled to a six-month break.
“For five years they don’t teach, network, research, any of that,” said Mota. “In those contracts they acknowledge the fact they made a decision to be an administrator.”
This contractual agreement applies to academic senior administrators but is not extended to non-academic positions such as university rectors. The agreement does not force deans to take a leave because they are owed the additional six months pay at the end of their contract.
These leaves to pursue other interests, or the option of taking the payout as per the contractual agreement, is incurred by the operating budget of the university.
Dean Catherine Wild of the Faculty of Fine Arts also claimed part of the pay she was entitled to from the university that year but worked the entire year. Wild earned $196,556 as her salary and Concordia provided her with $16,616 as the money owed as part of the leave. Wild is now serving a second term as dean for the university.
Following the announcement of his departure in March 2011, Sharma voluntarily broke the five-year contract so he could fill the position of dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Vermont and only completed four years at Concordia. Therefore, Sharma completed four years of his term and still received the six months pay, or $96,245, although his new employment started immediately on July 1, 2011. Sharma’s starting salary at the University of Vermont, according to the Burlington Free Press, was $320,000 U.S. and he was the second-highest paid official that year behind its president.
These contractual obligations do not include the taxable benefits or expenses in direct relation to duties that senior administrators, non-academic and academic, are entitled to.