Rep. Steve Nass: Requests DOJ Investigate $88,000 On-Call Secret Deal for Retiring Madison College President

August 26, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) sent a letter to Attorney General JB Van Hollen last week calling for an investigation into Madison Area Technical College (also known as Madison College). Nass claims that the Madison College Board illegally held a closed door meeting and voted to give outgoing President Bettsey Barhorst lucrative benefits, including $88,000 to be “on call” through the end of the year.

The press release from Nass can be seen below.

Rep. Steve Nass (608) 266-5715

State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Chairman of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee, believes that the Madison Area Technical College Board (also known as Madison College) reached an improper agreement behind closed doors for a lucrative contract addendum for retiring President Bettsey Barhorst. The agreement was first made public in a Wisconsin State Journal article on August 18, 2013, even though the agreement was approved by the Madison College Board in closed session on June 8th.

“The secret deal is bad enough. However, paying someone $88,000 to be on-call to answer a few, if any, questions is a scam. I believe the arrangement and the process used to grant it violates the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. The DOJ needs to seek the maximum fine against board members and attempt to void the agreement,” Nass said.

Nass noted the fruits of this violation are a significant benefit to President Barhorst:

1.) Collecting her full salary through December 31, 2013, as an on-call resource for the new President Jack Daniels and members of the board. Her full time salary is just under $240,000 and one estimate suggests the addendum will in essence pay her about $88,000 of taxpayer and student funds to answer a few questions over the telephone.

2.) Allows President Barhorst to withdraw from Madison College’s group health insurance plan at least 30 days before her retirement to convert accumulated sick leave into a tax deferred employer sponsored 403B plan.

3.) Guarantees President Barhorst and her husband will be provided Medicare Plan Supplemental Insurance to be effective seamlessly, without gap and without having to satisfy any medical underwriting as of the date she withdraws from the college’s group health insurance plan. The agreement notes this provision is in excess to any other post retirement insurance benefits available to President Barhorst under the terms of her existing employment contract.

4.) Upon actual retirement, Dr. Barhorst and her husband will receive the college paid Medicare Plan Supplemental Insurance, in lieu of the benefit provided in her employment contract, for a period of six years at a cost not to exceed $5,000 per year.

Rep. Nass submitted a request for an investigation to Attorney General Van Hollen on August 23, 2013.

A copy of the press release and letter to Attorney General Van Hollen is available here.