University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst has accumulated over 113 vacation days, but will only receive a payout for 60 of them when she leaves the presidency per university policy.
Rachel Rubin, chief of staff to the president; C. Dennis Pierce, executive director of dining services and Pamela Schipani, executive director of residential life, are among university management who were approved to accrue over the 60 day maximum of vacation days.
UConn managers, including the president, vice president, provost, the general council and other administrators not part of the union, earn 22 vacation days a year, and can accumulate rollover days into the next year for a 60 day maximum, according to university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.
Once an employee reaches 60 vacation days, they must be used that year, or they will be lost, similar to a “use it or lose it” system, Reitz said.
“UConn managers can be paid for up to 60 days of unused vacation time when they leave their jobs,” Reitz said.
The Board of Trustees and its designees can approve exceptions to the 60 day maximum in unusual circumstances, according to UConn policy.
“Even by allowing those limited exceptions to exceed the 60-day cap, that only allows them to keep and use the days they had already accrued,” Reitz said. “It does not allow them to receive payment for the days over 60 when they retire or leave their jobs.”
When Herbst leaves the presidency, assuming she leaves with about the same amount of vacation days she holds now, she will receive around $150,000 for the 60 day maximum vacation days, Reitz said.
“About $140,000 is attributable to Herbst’s days in excess of 60, which will not be paid out,” Reitz said.
The workload and demands of the presidency made it hard for Herbst to take vacation time, Reitz said.
“If you look back at the university’s growth and progress over her time here, we’ve opened new buildings, we’ve had curriculum expansions, we’ve had unprecedented funding; so her years here have been very full,” Reitz said. “There wasn’t a year that she was able to take a large block of vacation.”
The university may allow an employee to exceed the 60 day limit more than once during their career, Reitz said.
“Circumstances can change over time in ways that may not be anticipated,” Reitz said. “Evaluating this annually is a reasonable approach and is within the board’s authority.”
Exceptions allowing employees to accrue over 60 days are decided on a case-by-case basis, Reitz said, but usually involve deadline-driven and other job obligations.
“Some examples might include spearheading the implementation of a major project in a particular year, or temporarily taking on extra duties upon another person’s departure,” Reitz said.
Reitz said many employees who were approved to go over the 60 day maximum are people who work in student affairs, and had a lot to work on in the past few days including opening new dorms, organizing new programs and renovating dining halls.
“Each of these people have a very specific event or project that made it very hard for them to take (vacation) time,” Reitz said.
In the last five years, two university employees received payouts greater than 60 days, Reitz said.
Katherine Sorrento was the assistant director of customer relations management in University Information Technology Services (UITS) and received $35,682. Debora Romano-Connors was the director of enterprise administrative systems in UITS and received $42,040, according to Reitz.
“Both of those jobs were eliminated and there was not enough time for them to take their vacation time between when the elimination was announced and when the jobs were done,” Reitz said.
Ashley Anglisano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.