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Jay's plane-ticket benefit is money poorly spent

By Dave Reardon

LAST UPDATED: 09:01 a.m. HST, Dec 19, 2012

In this season of giving, the University of Hawaii is displaying its generosity.

Misguidedly so. With state resources. Again.

At $293,000 per year, incoming athletic director Ben Jay has been offered the biggest base salary ever for a Hawaii AD.

Yes, you've got to put out some fairly serious money to get someone you hope is good for this important job. No beef with that.

Jay, who finally will be officially introduced at a press conference here Thursday, looks like he might be worth it on paper. He's No. 2 at Ohio State's huge athletic department.

But there's an outlandish perk in UH's offer that proves again the Manoa leadership is tone deaf to public sensitivities. It screams entitlement ... UH actually uses that same word, "entitlement," to describe it, as well as a few other more reasonable benefits.

What doesn't make sense is UH providing eight mainland trips a year for Jay's wife and three children, presumably to UH sports events where Jay is working.

I got a chance to talk with Jay about this on the phone Tuesday. He said he didn't ask for the benefit, that it was not the result of negotiation. "It's all part of the offer (from UH)," he said.

Since it's not clear through the wording if we are talking about eight or 32 tickets per year for the family members, I asked Jay if he knew. He answered that he's also not sure. It is on a list of questions he has for his new boss, Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple, after Jay arrives in Hawaii today and before officially signing on.

I tried to ask the folks at UH, but got no answers.

When I noted that it seems generous, Jay agreed.

And it's good to know he's not asking for his wife and kids to be on a bunch of business trips with him, at the public's expense.

Now, it's not like this kind of publicly funded family travel would be completely unprecedented (remember the Sugar Bowl?), and it might even be standard operating procedure for some schools. But even if it is a total of just eight tickets per year and not 32, can UH athletics afford it?

No way.

UH is not one of those rare behemoth college athletic programs swimming in profit, with a football program that brings in more than $30 million a year after expenses like Ohio State.

You can argue that UH sports aren't credited enough for what they bring in, but that won't make the $11 million deficit disappear. Of course, neither would saving several thousand dollars a year if this perk isn't used.

If it is, UH could try to say the expense isn't being paid by state taxes. But it's still a public resource, like everything else of value that goes through this state university's ledgers. Like the $200,000 that the athletic department lost last summer.

It brings the question of priorities into play, especially after a football season in which the Warriors shaved a day off road trips, and took a long bus ride instead of paying more for a plane ride from L.A. to Fresno. There were also road games where UH did not take as many players as it was allowed.

There might be a rare mainland function, like a major award ceremony, where it would be legit for Jay to take his wife on UH's tab.

But in most cases, it's really pretty simple: Anyone other than a student-athlete on a trip funded by financially beleaguered UH should be serving a work function.


Reach Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com or 529-4783.

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Amosilatus wrote:
I'm pretty sure the Committee had an overall figure they were going to offer Jay--the rest of the matter is dividing it up and presenting it in a package that looks attractive. They could have offered him $315,000 or so, with no plane tickets. Wouldn't that also be public money? And probably no one would complain about it.
on December 19,2012 | 03:01AM
tonosama wrote:
A devoted reader of Dave's column and a UH retiree sez U got it right. Keep after them.
on December 19,2012 | 03:09AM
fstop wrote:
How many school-aged kids can afford to take eight mainland trips a year and maintain their academic standing?
on December 19,2012 | 03:40AM
oxtail01 wrote:
All smart kids who attend public schools.
on December 19,2012 | 10:18AM
MokietheWarrior wrote:
UH, is out of touch as usual with what the real issues are. Let's pray Mr. Jay can at least pay for himself.
on December 19,2012 | 03:45AM
whs1966 wrote:
Wait! With all the public relations people on the UHM staff, no one can provide any details of this extremely generous offer? Auwe! Dos dumb buggahz nevah learn not'ing from da Wondah Blundah!
on December 19,2012 | 03:49AM
F8TH wrote:
No, da public relation guy so stay anymo, he going cal state sumting to b dea nex AD.
on December 19,2012 | 05:43AM
joewilly wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 19,2012 | 08:18AM
oxtail01 wrote:
He IS!
on December 19,2012 | 10:19AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
They won't until Greenwood is fired, the governor is voted out of office, and the new governor appoints a new BOR.
on December 19,2012 | 02:23PM
danji wrote:
Not against JAY but the contracts for the sports programs should also have stipulations that will reduce the salaries of the coaches when they do not even maintain the previous seasons record and fan base. All the contracts have insentives and even a stipulation should be and insentive to do better. Then when we want to get rid of a nonj-producer we will have cause to do so which is so right now with Greenwood and Donovan--cause??? losing $200,000 which they are ultimately responsible for.
on December 19,2012 | 04:17AM
PinkSushi wrote:
Why are we bringing in someone who keeps his family on the mainland? Why are we even hiring someone with no Hawaii ties at all? Its ridiculous. Bring back Hugh Yoshida. Keith Amemiya.
on December 19,2012 | 05:17AM
egghead wrote:
think the family is coming w/ him....tickets presumably are for them to travel w/ dad to mainland functions.
on December 19,2012 | 07:09AM
joewilly wrote:
HUGH YOSHIDA!!! The genius that hired Von Appen because he was his college classmate??? The guy the camera caught sleeping at a wahine volleyball game?? Give me a break.
on December 19,2012 | 08:27AM
sidneyho wrote:
Great article Dave
on December 19,2012 | 05:48AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Yeah, really good!
on December 19,2012 | 06:13AM
honoluluplumbing wrote:
Dave, Good column. We should pin the UH down of these things. The Wonder Blunder was more than $200,000.00 with all the lawyer fees and investigations. More like 1 million plus? Alot of plane tickets. Glenn Tango
on December 19,2012 | 06:44AM
egghead wrote:
one thing I could offer as a decent enough reason is that in the event that the wife needs to (should) accompany the husband, the kids probably gotta go because they are so young and possibly no relatives to watch over a few days. Wouldn't think it needs to be 8 occasions a year. Also, I thought JJ had some sort of travel benefit in his compensation package?
on December 19,2012 | 07:11AM
Allenk wrote:
If Jay is travelling on official UH business why does the family need to accompany him? Is he going to stay beyond 2-3 days? What type of business offers this type of perk? Perhaps instead of plane tickets, the admin should have offered stipends for babysitting/nanny services...it would cost less.
on December 19,2012 | 09:11AM
paintslinger wrote:
That perk, in light of UH"s situation, is simply uncalled for and speaks of a brain inert and unimagenative management.
on December 19,2012 | 07:25AM
kiragirl wrote:
Isn't he being pre-judged? Lets critique his performance after his contract is up. Who knows? He may be worth every penny he's being paid!
on December 19,2012 | 07:27AM
NotNasti wrote:
I understand your concern, but give this guy a chance. What about his body of work concerns you? If there was something sketchy in his past, that would be relevant.
on December 19,2012 | 07:52AM
joewilly wrote:
HUGH YOSHIDA!!!! The idiot that hired Von Appen because he was his college classmate. The guy who the camera caught sleeping at a wahine volleyball game? THAT GUY?? Go back to your sushi.
on December 19,2012 | 08:24AM
honopic wrote:
"Approval?" Don't you mean censorship?
on December 19,2012 | 09:08AM
PalisadesKid wrote:
Wouldn’t be the first thing Jay didn’t request. UH offered him those perks and bonuses and as Jay wasn’t seeking the UH job, UH offered and reached out to him. So what’s this B.S. about his application being one of the first??? LIES.
on December 19,2012 | 10:37AM
islandsun wrote:
He might be worth it but still the plane tickets should have been left out. He can afford to fly his family back and forth or relocate them here. Time will tell.
on December 19,2012 | 11:15AM
jankenpo wrote:
ti's the season. U.H. has always been overly generous trying to get who they think is right. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Look at Apple"s salary....look at Henshaw's deal....look at UH playing kissy kissy with Donovan just to stop him from suing. Of course, you know that Donovan just couldn't wait to get out of UH. Now, doesn't the UH BOR have something to do with this? Yes, those who volunteer their time and our money.
on December 19,2012 | 11:42AM
loquaciousone wrote:
I'm thinking of applying for a job at UH as the Chief Ant Infestation Regulator. You think I might get a couple hundred thou a year to that?
on December 19,2012 | 02:08PM
Kauai2011 wrote:
As a UH graduate, I refuse to donate my hard earn money to the UH School System whose leadership is more concern in protecting their image and benefits than serving the public in providing a quality college education to our students. The UH President and her subordinates got to go.
on December 19,2012 | 02:09PM
allie wrote:
agree..none of us will
on December 20,2012 | 05:30AM
bluemountain wrote:
Yessss! Everything's back to normal at UH! More $$$ being spent (or lost). More deception from everyone...no need to be transparent, no need to be inclusive. Just claim "entitlement" and collect the $$$. All of this equates to...more water cooler gossips. More complaining, more SA being sold. Life is wonderful in Manoa. I hope AD Jay will spread the wealth!
on December 19,2012 | 02:10PM
roninsensei wrote:
There needs to be another Senate Hearing on this matter. I have to pay for my 3-4 trips to Vegas every year and it's a struggle. UH should have hired someone local, who will work for free (Rich Miano) or on the cheap.
on December 19,2012 | 05:46PM
pauliboy wrote:
UH Administrators need to remove the "Entitlement" clause from hiring contracts and be more specific if they are providing transparency to the public. These are matters that need to be agreed upon in negotiations. The hired AD should present a checklist of items to be added to the contract and UH should meet or not meet those "wishlist" items. To have airfare of an unknown quantity not asked for by the AD and yet given by UH shows a disregard for public spending and a continuing nonchalant attitude toward growing negative public sentiment. Jay should now give it back to UH and whatever else he doesn't need and publicly state that he does not find it necessary as he would flip the bill for any business-related travel involving his family. That's sorely missing good PR for UH from the new AD.
on December 19,2012 | 07:05PM
localguy wrote:
UH Manoa management just doesn't get it. Thinking it is ok to waste more and more of taxpayer's and student's money. Wonder blunder didn't get their attention, seems like nothing does. Truly it is time for a full audit of UH finances and complete change of management. I've heard from many who used to donate money to UH, they have all stopped. Fed up with the ever growing waste culture. Others have canceled buying UH TV sports and anything else to do with UH. Students have cut back on buying UH items, fed up with the squandering of their tuition money. No wonder UH Manoa is the laughing stock of the civilized world. This is what UH does, fail.
on December 19,2012 | 07:13PM
allie wrote:
on December 20,2012 | 05:30AM
Poplm wrote:
I can see in my crystal ball tickets that are sold instead of used.
on December 19,2012 | 07:52PM
Anonymous wrote:
on December 19,2012 | 08:35PM
allie wrote:
Reardon is right: UH Athletics is broke and deeply in debt. They overpaid an unknown mainland guy after the Donovan fiasco. When will the waste and nightmare end.
on December 20,2012 | 05:29AM
mjpperry wrote:
Again the Hawaii sports writers are making a big deal out of nothing. Did they do their research to see what is being offered in the competitive markets? JJ had such a clause in his contract as a coach. Why not wait to see how the man performs? Small time sports writers are the worse. They have no clue what is going on in the rest of the sports world. Hawaii writers are either too isolated, don't ask, don't do their homework or don't care. You get what you pay for. Has there been a contract for a coach or anyone in the athletic department that they didn't whine about at one time or another????
on December 20,2012 | 05:53AM