By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
LINCOLN — The University of Nebraska Board of Regents voted Friday to provide an official home for the president of the university system.
With no discussion, the Board of Regents voted to allow its executive committee to negotiate an agreement a housing agreement with the University of Nebraska Foundation. A donor has offered to provide a home for the university president.
President J.B. Milliken owns a home in the Country Club Neighborhood and gets $24,000 per year to defray housing expenses. Milliken bought the nearly 6,000-square-foot house on Sheridan Boulevard for $682,500 in 2004.
But the regents have talked for years about returning to the past practice of providing an official residence for the president, as was the case until a foundation-owned home was destroyed by a fire in 1996.
Regents Chairman Jim McClurg has said an official residence is needed because the president is expected to frequently entertain and host events in his home, which creates “substantial liability.”
Earlier this week, Regent Tim Clare said Milliken has not pushed the housing proposal.
Neither Clare nor McClurg were sure whether Milliken would be required to move into an official residence or whether the foundation would buy Milliken’s house.
Jack Gould of Common Cause Nebraska, a government watchdog group, has opposed the move, saying if the foundation buys Milliken’s house, the property (and $12,000 property tax bill) would fall off the tax rolls.
Gould said Milliken’s contract already includes money for house cleaning, lawn care and snow removal and the money would be better spent to lower tuition or send more kids to college. He’s concerned about the increasing amount of foundation funds used to boost Nebraska administrators’ salaries and perks.
Milliken already receives a supplemental retirement allowance of $12,000 annually, a university car with gas, insurance and maintenance covered, a country club membership and $22,000 annual expense account.
The regents also voted to give Milliken a 2.3 percent raise, from his current $411,370 salary to $420,757 – nearly 22 percent of which comes from private funds.
Reported by Deena Winter, firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Deena on Twitter at @DeenaNEWatchdog.
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