Trustee unveils HCC’s $100,000 salaries; files open meetings suit

Chancellor Cesar Maldonado
Chancellor Cesar Maldonado

HOUSTON — At a time when one of the largest community colleges has been beset by a bribery scandal, the loss of its nursing accreditation, and declining enrollment, a Houston Community College trustee has made public the top salaries of the brass at the school.

HCC Trustee Dave Wilson released documents showing 161 college system employees making $100,000 per year or more. Of those, 11 make in excess of $200,000, and one — HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado — pulls in $329,000 annually.

Maldonado is on track to make more. In a 5-3 vote, trustees last month approved a new contract for the Chancellor that includes a $100,000 raise this year.

Wilson voted no on the contract.

At a time when the college system is facing so many problems, Wilson argues the high-dollar earners aren’t pulling their weight, and that some cuts at the top might help motivate administrators to get back on track.

“Who dreams up these ambiguous jobs that compensate so excessively?” Wilson wrote in a blog post. “Administration is forever developing new strategies, which seems much closer to malfeasance, like it’s just nothing, as if they have their own special rules. There’s probably someone whose job is classified and top secret, who lives in Qatar, and creates these jobs, titles and salaries. What fraud.”

College system spokeswoman Linda Toyota told The Texas Monitor that HCC has 6,000 employees and those with six-figure salaries make up just two-percent of the total salary base.

“We’re a large institution with six colleges,” she said.

Toyota also said that HCC bases its salaries on similar jobs at other institutions in order to be competitive.

Wilson pointed out that few, if any, of those making $100,000 or more are faculty.

“What jumped out at me was the number of employees making this kind of money,” Wilson told The Texas Monitor. “All administrators. No faculty. What’s wrong with that picture?”

You can see the full list here.

Wilson has been a muckraker during his time as a trustee.

For example, on Tuesday he filed suit with the Harris County District Clerk alleging that his fellow trustees violated their own open meeting rules, which state that trustees may only vote in person.

The suit alleges that one of the trustees on Sept. 21 voted via video conference.

 

Toyota declined comment on the suit because the college has not been served, she said.

In addition, Wilson often uses the Texas Public Information Act to gather information to use at meetings, and he has also hired his own investigators to look into corruption at the college in the wake of another trustee’s guilty plea on bribery charges.

See all of The Texas Monitor’s HCC Culture of Corruption series here.

Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.

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Trent is an award-winning editor and reporter, who has previously worked The Denver Post, The (Nashville) Tennessean, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Most recently, he was the investigative producer for Houston’s KTRK-TV ABC-13. He was also the editor and founder of Texas Watchdog, a ground-breaking news group that paved the way for this project. Trent is a teacher of journalism skills, and has shown hundreds of reporters and citizen-journalists how to use public records, databases and journalism tools to keep a watchful eye on their own local government.