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MnSCU chancellor gets new contract; critics raise questions

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Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, has a new three-year contract. MnSCU officials issued a news release Monday to announce the new deal, even though it was actually signed in October of last year.

Rosenstone, who was hired in 2011, will make $387,250 in base salary for the coming school year, a 1.8 percent increase. He also will receive a $43,160 boost to allowances for transportation and other expenses, MnSCU said.

The contract was negotiated by the MnSCU board chairman, Clarence Hightower, who said he was authorized by the board to handle the matter, and there was "not an expectation" that the entire board would vote on the final contract, the Star Tribune reports.

Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, who chairs the House higher education committee, said he's concerned about the low-profile nature of the contract signing, according to MPR News. He said he just found out about the contract Friday.

“It may not be illegal or improper, but it doesn’t pass the smell test,” Pelowski said. “It stinks.”

Pelowski also questioned why the board negotiated Rosenstone's new contract so quickly when it has not settled contracts with the 4,000 faculty who teach at MnSCU campuses, according to MPR News.

Lawmakers granted a MnSCU request for an additional $17 million to fund new contracts with faculty. But more than a month since the session ended, the negotiations are still going on, says the Star Tribune.

Rosenstone's job performance will be evaluated by the board next month, according to the news release. Faculty union president Nancy Black said it doesn't make sense for board members to conduct a performance review nine months after they extended Rosenstone's contract.
The MnSCU system includes 24 two-year community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving more than 430,000 students.

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