Sunday, February 10, 2008

Does Highly-Paid Get You High-Quality?

I'm fascinated by the language in the headline on this Wisconsin State Journal story about the 66% proposed increase in pay for the next UW-Madison chancellor:

"Let UW invest in quality leaders."

Is there a correlation between quality and pay?

If there was, then why have there been scores of scandals on Wall Street, at the CEO level of big corporations, and even in professional sports, where highly-paid only meant devious, sneaky, corrupt and felonious.

I'm not saying that's where the UW is headed.

But let's drop the fiction that there has to be a relationship between pay and quality.

Experience, OK.

But quality?

Way too subjective, and often, way too wrong.


Anonymous said...

I'm all for paying people what they're worth, and understand that public sector compensation must at least acknowledge private sector pay, but agree with you that these stratospheric amounts are ridiculous.

Do we want to attract the best talent that will come here for the money, or: the opportunity to lead one of the best--if not the best-- public university system in the country? And by the way, offer the opportunity to live in Wisconsin,with our excellent quality of life, and in Madison, one of the most livable cities in the country?

There's more to life than just being a lot to do God's work--ask any public school teacher.

James Rowen said...

To Betsey: Agree, completely.

What we don't want is someone looking at the position as a retirement job. We want enthusiasm, dedication, and, of course, experience, and that doesn't necessarily mean the best person will require the mega-salary.

As I said in an earlier post about this, there is something unsettling in the rhetoric surrounding the changes, especially in Milwaukee, which is a poorer city than Madison, and where Madison too often appears over-flowing with, for want of better terms, entitlement and elitism.

I say that as someone who lived a long time in Madison and loves the city, but sometimes finds the collective mindset there a little insensitive to how things there play once you get a few miles out of town.

Anonymous said...

They may suffer from ITS, or
"Ivory Tower Syndrome"