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UPDATE: CT Higher Education President Suspends Staff Raises

Robert Kennedy is freezing $250,000 in questionable pay raises to his employees, including one $48,000 raise Kennedy gave to one of his high-ranking executives.

Update 2:07 p.m.:

In a news release emailed at 1:45 p.m., Board of Regents Chairman Lewis J. Robinson issued the following statement regarding President Kennedy:

"The Board, and I, personally, have been greatly troubled with the actions that have been taken by and the lack of information shared with the Board of Regents by President Kennedy.

"As I said yesterday, the Board will be reviewing his judgment exercised in these matters, as well as his performance. Based on our findings, we will take the appropriate action."

Original article:

The president of the state’s higher education system has suspended large pay raises he gave to some of his top staffers and has apologized for them.

Robert A. Kennedy’s decision to suspend the $250,000 in raises to his staffers, including $48,000 he gave to one executive, came following a rising tide of questions and criticism about the salary hikes and after a meeting Wednesday with top aides to Gov. Dannel Malloy, according to a report on ctmirror.org.

Kennedy, the president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, gave the board’s executive vice president, Michael Meotti, a $48,000 raise on June 29.  Meotti this week agreed to forgo the raise and has returned  $12,000 of it, the Hartford Courant reports.

Questions about the propriety of the pay raises to 21 staffers in the higher education offices arose this past week. On Wednesday Kennedy held a press conference to announce he was suspending the raises.

The move came after Malloy’s aides met with Kennedy and told him the governor was unhappy with the salary hikes and how they were handled. Others have questioned the legality of the raises because they were granted without the approval of the Board of Regents, the Courant reports.

During Wednesday’s press conference Kennedy acknowledged the pay raises might appear politically insensitive during a time of economic distress in Connecticut, but said he believes they were justified because of added duties the 21 staffers have taken on following a reorganization of the department this year.

The Board of Regents for Higher Education recently began working with the state Department of Education on revising teacher education programs. 

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