Caitlin Varley

To help ease Miami University’s budget deficit, President David Hodge declined a $68,000 bonus offered to him by the board of trustees.

At the Sept. 19, 2008 board of trustees meeting, the members reviewed Hodge’s performance.

Hodge said he gives the board a set of goals and they do an evaluation to determine if he gets a bonus. 

He said the board gave him high marks for his performance and decided to give him the full bonus, an amount totaling to 20 percent of his annual salary for last year, which was $340,000.

“At that point I informed them that given the difficult budget situation that we face this year, that I thought it best that I decline to accept that,” Hodge said.

Hodge’s decision was announced at the Dec. 12, 2008 board of trustees meeting.

“We understand Dr. Hodge’s decision and applaud his leadership in these challenging and financial times,” Richard Smucker, chair of the board of trustees, said at the meeting.

Hodge said the money will go toward the central budget.

“It’s just going to try to help reduce the deficit that we face this year,” Hodge said.

Smucker said the board is very confident and grateful for Hodge’s leadership.

“Although Dr. Hodge’s performance was certainly worth a bonus and the board wanted to pay him that much, Dr. Hodge indicated that he would not accept that bonus because of the significant need of the university,” Smucker said.

Hodge said that when he was offered the bonus, he knew Miami would have to have some budget cuts.

“I felt it was inappropriate for me to take a bonus when we were in this situation so that’s what I did,” Hodge said.

Hodge said it is important to understand that everyone at the university can help during this difficult financial time.

“Not everybody is going to do what I do,” Hodge said. “Nobody should necessarily do what I do. That’s not the point, but the point is that each of us can do what we can to contribute to what the university does.”

Smucker agreed that declining the bonus was a good way to set an example.

“We appreciate that leadership,” Hodge said. “That is not easy to do, but it certainly sets an example.”

Hodge said he was not particularly interested in publicizing his action, but as the situation continued to get more difficult, the chair of the board thought it was important so that people would understand that everyone is trying to do the right thing.

“We need to feel that we’re working together,” Hodge said.

According to Hodge, bonuses based on performance and longevity are part of his contract.

“What we tried to do in creating my new contract was to create a contract that had a lower base salary and more incentives,” Hodge said.