Brad Tregnago of KSSZ contributed to this story

The University of Missouri System is defending its pay structure. A state audit shows more than $2 million in bonuses for school administrators that were not transparent and not tied to performance. System spokesman John Fougere says that’s a common practice nationwide.

University of Missouri System, state officials respond to scathing audit

“To achieve excellence, a major university like the UM System must be able to attract and retain the best leaders. Our executive compensation program is critical to our capacity to do just that,” says Fougere. “Do we want to achieve excellence at the University of Missouri System? What’s very important then that we were able to be competitive to attract and retain the best leaders.”

Fougere mentions the departure of Missouri S&T chancellor Cheryl Schrader for Wright State this week, as an example of a school leader who left for better pay.

Meanwhile, the audit could backfire on the university when the state legislature considers the system’s budget. House budget chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) is still looking over the audit.

“I’m not sure how it impacts my thinking right now, because I kind of realized before this audit came out that there were probably some things I wouldn’t like,” says Fitzpatrick. “But I will say reading some of that stuff makes it really difficult to make the case to people on this committee that more money is needed for them.”

In a statement from Governor Greitens (R), he said the system has been broken for too long.

“We need to fix it. We just appointed three new members of the Board of Curators who are going to be budget hawks,” said Greitens.

I’m meeting with the heads of several major universities across our state, and I will deliver a clear message:

1. Colleges and universities are important to our state’s future.

2. We need to cut waste from that system, just like every other area of government.

3. We want excellence in our colleges and universities, and we’re willing to invest in it.

4. We won’t balance budgets on the backs of our students.

Greitens said he’s spoken to the new president of the UM System, Dr. Mun Choi. Greitens said he believes Choi is committed to greater accountability and producing excellent results.