Following several staff complaints, NBCWashington investigated the travel expenses for Dr. DeRionne Pollard, the president of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. In addition to a $280,000 annual salary and $3,000 monthly housing allowance, the school’s Board of Trustees agreed to pay for all work-related travel for the president and her partner. That’s resulted in more than $70,000 for travel to Napa, California, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and almost 40 other destinations since 2013, an average of 13 trips per year, including $6,000 to upgrade seats, $3,700 for extra and overweight baggage, and stays at the Four Seasons. The college also pays for her $850 for her monthly lease for an Infiniti Q70, plus gas, maintenance, parking, and insurance, plus $10,000 per month for an SUV chauffeured by an off-duty police officer. Why all that travel to promote the school when it’s packed to the gills? Why promote it out of state when it’s a local community college? Why is the college president receiving such luxuries when most of her students are at the other end of the wage scale?
The Board of Trustee‘s response: “The Montgomery College Board of Trustees greatly values Dr. DeRionne Pollard’s vision and leadership of the College, which serves 56,000 students a year as the most affordable higher education choice for Montgomery County residents. The Board resolutely supports Dr. Pollard’s management initiatives, strategic partnership advances here at home and abroad, and stewardship of resources in service to our students and community.”
Montgomery County provides half of the College’s budget and County Executive Ike Leggett’s response was that he “was not alarmed” by the expenses because there was “transparency” and they were “approved by the board.” The County has recently raised property tax rates to pay for “enhanced services and educational opportunities” but I’m sure this is not what County Council President Nancy Floreen had in mind.
Seems like executive compensation for our community college has gone way off the rails and no one is watching the cookie jar. Wall Street has come to Hungerford Drive. It’s hard to justify all the benefits and travel, but it’s even harder to swallow the response of the Board of Trustees and the County Executive, who seem oblivious to these excesses. Not only do they need to adopt a more sensible travel policy (how about following the policies of the US General Services Administration?) but we may need to find more sensible trustees. In the meantime, send an email or make a call with your thoughts and comments to:
- Governor Larry Hogan (the Governor appoints the Board of Trustees of Montgomery College): email form or 410-974-3901.
- Board of Trustees, Montgomery College (they approved these benefits and expenses and adopt travel policies): Trustees@montgomerycollege.edu or 240-567-5272.
- County Executive Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Council (provides significant funding for the College): email@example.com or 240-777-0311 (alas, the customer service hotline, the best available contact number; welcome to Voice Mail Hell).