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June 24, 2017

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UNLV president’s contract renewed, base pay restored to prerececession level

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Leila Navidi

UNLV President Neal Smatresk speaks during the Palladium Society Awards Ceremony during the UNLV Foundation Annual Dinner at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on Tuesday, October 9, 2012.

Nevada's higher education leaders on Thursday unanimously renewed UNLV President Neal Smatresk's contract for another four years.

Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich recommended Smatresk remain at the helm of UNLV after an outside consultant found wide community support for the popular university president.

Consultant Karen Holbrook, former president of Ohio State University, said Smatresk "positively, optimistically and deftly led UNLV" through the recession while maintaining a vision to become a tier-one university.

"The president gets it," Holbrook said, echoing those she spoke with for the evaluation.

Smatresk's total annual compensation will be $447,424.

He will receive an annual base salary of $246,427 and a $169,997 annual supplemental salary from the UNLV Foundation and NSHE.

His annual benefits include an $18,000 housing allowance, an $8,000 car allowance and a $5,000 allowance for hosting events.

Smatresk also is slated to receive $125,000 from the UNLV Foundation at the end of his term. That money will be placed into a tax-deferred retirement account, Klaich said.

Smatresk's new contract will begin July 1 and expire June 30, 2017.

Smatresk, who was appointed as UNLV’s ninth president in 2009, is receiving a bump in pay after Nevada lawmakers recently restored a 2.5 percent salary reduction instituted in 2009. Smatresk's base salary currently is $234,740.

Otherwise, Smatresk's salary remains the same from previous years, Klaich said. The Nevada higher education system has frozen presidential salaries for the past several years amid the recession, which brought about faculty and program cuts.

As the economy rebounds, Klaich said he hoped regents would discuss ways to boost presidential compensation to attract and retain quality leaders for Nevada's seven colleges and universities.

"We can't expect (to keep salaries frozen) forever and expect to keep good folks," Klaich said.

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