UCCI board pay raise funded by reduction in scholarships

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The dramatically increased pay for the UCCI Board of Governors is being funded by a quarter-million dollar reduction in student scholarships.

As we reported earlier, new UCCI board chair Gilbert McLean is set to earn $48,000 per year and each board member $12,000 per year. Prior to the change, effective 1 Sept., board members were remunerated about $1,000 per year.

A Cayman Islands government spokesperson said, “The UCCI Board of Governors is a key Board for the advancement of adult education at the UCCI.”

The decision on the UCCI board’s ‘stipend’ is made by Cabinet, not the university administration.

In addition to Chairman McLean and Deputy Chair Jared Awe, the board has 6 other members that are not public or civil servants and are therefore eligible to receive the stipend.

In total, the board would be compensated about $144,000 per year.

During the same 9 Nov. meeting when Cabinet approved the increased board pay, lawmakers also reduced funding for Local and Overseas Scholarships by about $250,000, while increasing UCCI’s general appropriations by the same amount.

The spokesperson confirmed that the reduction in scholarships will cover the cost of the UCCI board’s increased stipend, as well as “an Executive Secretary to the Board of Governors, an HR Audit for UCCI and recruitment costs in accordance to [Public Authorities Law] requirements.”

The spokesperson said the increased stipend brings the UCCI board “in line with some other Boards across the Government”.

Compensation for service on government boards varies widely, according to a January 2019 report from the Office of the Auditor General.

Many board members serve without monetary compensation, and many others are paid $100-$200 per meeting.

The increased pay for the UCCI board makes McLean one of the most well-compensated public board members, on par with board chairs of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, Utilities Regulatory and Competition Office (aka OfReg) and the Auditors Oversight Authority.

The spokesperson added that the UCCI board has a greater workload than before and plans to increase the frequency of its meetings.

“The demand on [the] Board of Governors has increased. The Public Authorities Act calls for the Board to meet a minimum of quarterly, however the new leadership of the Board has moved to a minimum of monthly meetings to better manage the workload of the Board of Governors,” the spokesperson said.

In recent years, UCCI has placed a greater emphasis on securing private sector and philanthropic funding for scholarships, in order to diversify its revenue sources away from central government appropriations.

In early October, the university announced it had given more than $100,000 in scholarships enabled by private giving, an unprecedented amount in UCCI’s history.

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