The University Record, February 11, 1997

Search costs just over $500,000

The search for the 12th president of the University totaled $503,186.39, according to figures released last week by University officials. Nearly half of the total expenditures were for legal fees.

Included in the expenses for the search process were travel and hosting, the cost of maintaining a search office and staff, and retaining a search consultant. These expenses totaled $278,301.88.

The largest expense in this total was $121,465.31 paid to Russell Reynolds & Associates, the executive search consulting firm retained by the University. Included in this total was a fee of $91,666.67 (one-third of President Lee Bollinger's compensation for first year) and expenses for travel and supplies of $29,798.64.

Salaries and benefits paid to the University staff who supported the search for 10 months totaled $84,576.51. Supplies, travel andequipment costs totaled $72,260.06. These expenses include travel for candidates; advertisements; telephones and office supplies; mailing; a series of nine Regental public forums held to gather input on conducting the search; meetings and meals held with finalists on campus; and the cost of transcribing and broadcasting the finalists' visits.

"We were determined to conduct the very best search we could and to do it in an open and public manner," said Walter Harrison, vice president for university relations. "The Regents spent many weeks gathering advice around the state at the outset and hosted each of the four finalists on campus. These efforts cost money, but we believe they are well worth the cost."

Legal fees associated with the search totaled $224,884.51. Of this total, $124,548.01 was incurred in seeking advice from outside counsel on constructing the search process and $100,336.50 was spent in defending the University from lawsuits brought by the Ann Arbor News, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.

"The lack of clarity in the Open Meetings Act and legal challenges to the search process contributed to the total figure for legal expenses," Harrison says. "We were determined to be deliberative as we went forward in constructing a plan for the search. It was our strongest desire to both comply with the law and find an outstanding president. There were conflicting opinions among the circuit courts, and these issues were not resolved prior to the time the search process began. We were also under an injunction at the time.

"We believe that the recent legislation passed by the State Legislature will obviate the need for such extensive consultation with outside attorneys in the future. The legislation provides much-needed clarity."

 

Expenses included in the presidential search

Total expense:

$503,186.39

Search process:

$278,301.88

Russell Reynolds fee:

$91,666.67

Other Russell Reynolds expenses:

$29,798.64

Total Russell Reynolds cost:

$121,465.31

Salaries & benefits

$84,576.41

Supplies, travel & equipment:

$72,260.06

Legal fees:

$22, 884.51

Search process:

$124,548.01

Litigation:

$100,336.50