President Szymanski to be paid around half a million this year: Country club membership included

Miller Mott, Staff Reporter, Weather Anchor

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President Szymanski will be paid more than a half-million dollars, up to $575,000 this year to be exact. Yet, Florida law prohibits state university presidents from being paid more than $200,000 in state funds. To circumvent this law, Szymanski, as well as most other Florida public university presidents, are paid through their university’s foundation. The money from these foundations is not considered “state funds,” so universities can pay their presidents a lot more. And President Szymanski will be receiving a lot more.

At a September 12th meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to additionally pay for his up to $15,000 initiation fee for Szymanski to join the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, and the River Club. In addition, he will be paid for his membership dues at those clubs. The trustees present unanimously voted in favor of this motion, including Student Government President John Aloszka. Spinnaker asked Aloszka about the vote. He told Spinnaker he couldn’t really comment, but the decisions regarding Szymanski’s contract were made before he was on the BOT and he just approved paying the club dues recent increase.

President Szymanski’s current pay and compensation is as follows:

  • $405,000 first year’s base salary, and a $435,000 base salary in 4 years
  • $2,000/mo ($24,000/yr) car allowance
  • Up to $2,500/yr for “miscellaneous memberships”
  • $36,000 relocation fee
  • $45,000/yr housing allowance
  • Max award (Bonus) per contract year: $65,000 this year, up to $95,000 in 4 years

Ponte Vedra Inn and Club was contacted in regards to the price of their memberships, but they would not disclose the price of Szymanski’s memberships, or any of their memberships, because they are “a private club.”

Spinnaker asked the University to explain how country club memberships help the President do his job. In response, they released this statement saying, “Memberships like these are not uncommon in presidential contracts,” and “this membership will allow him to engage with community leaders and assist with fundraising opportunities.” 

Former President Delaney tells Spinnaker that the club memberships for Presidents outweigh the costs, elaborating that “Fundraising takes up a significant portion of a university president’s time, and most months a UNF President raises  $1-2 million. These two clubs are traditional meeting places for donors and UNF supporters and a good place to build good will.” 

Delaney however, was already a member of the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club as well as the River Club prior to coming to UNF. When the recession hit, he gave up his UNF paid club memberships, and hosted donors using his private memberships.

UNF is one of only four public four-year universities in Florida to include country club memberships in their president’s contract.

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