By Wally Perez
A renewal to Chancellor Bruce Leslie’s contract includes a base salary of $403,123 — almost 25 percent more than the chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District.
Joe May, chancellor of DCCCD, one of the community college districts that the Alamo Colleges continue to compete with, according to District 1 trustee Joe Alderete, has a base salary of $300,000, according to his 2014-2017 contract.
Leslie’s contract included a 6 percent raise, a monthly automobile allowance of $1,500 and a monthly cell phone allowance of $166.
Along with Dallas County Community College District, The Ranger acquired chancellor contracts from two other college districts in Texas — Tarrant County College and Houston Community College.
Cesar Maldonado, chancellor of Houston Community College District, earns a base salary of $310,000 according to his 2014-2017 contract, while Eugene Giovannini, chancellor of Tarrant County College, earns $297,000 according to his 2016-2019 contract.
May, Maldonado and Giovannini all are offered a type of deferred compensation, as part of their contract, which is performance based, unlike Leslie, whose contract has no mention of a deferred compensation.
Maldonado’s contract details compensations of $10,000 in 2015, $15,000 in 2016 and $15,000 in 2017.
May’s deferred compensation includes $50,000 per year as long as May complies with the terms and conditions of DCCCD’s supplemental executive retirement plan.
Giovannini’s compensation is earned through a performance incentive pay plan. On or before the first six months of his employment, Giovannini and the TCCD board will develop goals to be met annually.
According to his contract, the incentive pay shall not exceed $50,000.
Leslie and Maldonado both receive a monthly vehicle allowance of $1,500; May receives $1,350 a month for business or personal expenses, and Giovannini receives $800 a month for travel and/or cell phone use.
Unlike Maldonado and May, who are reimbursed for their cell phone payments, Leslie receives $166 a month for his cell phone.
All four chancellors are reimbursed for reasonable business lodging, travel, meals and entertainment expenses.
Leslie’s contract also describes a termination without cause scenario: “… In the event of this, ACCD agrees to pay a lump sum amount equal to the lesser of salary that would have been earned through the end date or 24-month’s salary. Leslie shall also be entitled to reasonable outplacement services for a period of the lesser of 12 months or until Leslie secures comparable employment.”
Only District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante and District 8 trustee Clint Kingsbery voted against the raise. Bustamante said she was unhappy with increases to his perks in addition to the raise.
Kingsbery agreed with Bustamante and said it should have been a flat rate increase.
Tony Villanueva, president of the American Association of University Professors at Palo Alto College, believes Leslie’s salary is relatively standard.
“I don’t understand why a $1,500 vehicle allowance is needed; that’s $48,000 a year on top of his salary,” Villanueva said.
“In the last three years, there have been students protesting his resignation, reaccreditation issues and faculty concern for administration,” Villanueva said. “It would be nice to have public opinion on matters like this.”
Villanueva said Googling the Alamo Colleges and Leslie results in a lot of websites that give plenty of reason to pause and say, “Shouldn’t we allow the community to say something?”
Alderete said Leslie is in the middle of the pack of other community college chancellors in terms of salary and benefits.
“We increased our numbers in graduates, certifications and licensing immensely, and the Alamo Colleges just won the Texas award for performance excellence; that in of itself is an award that is amazing,” Alderete said in a phone interview Sept. 6.
Regarding the recent criticism of Leslie’s phone usage during Palo Alto College’s commencement in May, Alderete said, “He has been disciplined, and it was a matter that was beyond us.
“He was reprimanded by the chair, and that’s as much as we can do with that. We just don’t want it to happen again.”
Community members publicly voiced their disapproval of Leslie’s actions and the lack of punishment.
Leslie was recently verbally disciplined by Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee, about his phone use during the commencement. Katz said in an email Aug. 18 that Leslie was given a pre-level verbal counseling session.
In the email, Katz continues, “If someone continues to commit the same problem then you start a much more defined level.”