Ohio University

Statement of support for senior vice president for finance and administration Shaffer

Published: September 28, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The following statement is jointly issued from Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis and Board of Trustees Chairwoman Janelle Coleman:

A recent report in the Athens News along with a subsequent letter to the editor from former interim Ohio University President David Descutner have called into question a retention bonus recently earned by Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO Deb Shaffer, who has served Ohio University since June 2013.

Ms. Shaffer has been a strong and capable leader for the University for more than seven years, guiding the institution and the Board of Trustees through significant growth as well as times of financial challenge. Her leadership has helped us to ensure financial perseverance even in the worst of economic times thanks to thoughtful planning and careful management of institutional reserves. As an officer of the Board, serving as treasurer, she has been a trusted and transparent advisor. As a member of the Presidential leadership team she provides both financial and operational expertise that is needed now more than ever.

Early in 2017, Ohio University was in the midst of significant leadership change with both the interim President and Provost preparing for a transition in their roles. The Chair of the Board of Trustees, David Wolfort, recognized the need for stability in financial management of the University, and acknowledging her outstanding work as Vice President for Finance and Administration, he approached Ms. Shaffer with the offer of a retention bonus of $100,000 to incentivize her to remain in her role for the following three years, through June 30, 2020.

Mr. Wolfort discussed this arrangement with leadership of the Trustees as well as with President Elect M. Duane Nellis. As was and is practice at Ohio University, the employment agreement was drafted by legal affairs and was sent via email to then-interim President Descutner for his review and signature. His office returned the contract, signed.

Both the Board of Trustees and President Nellis have recognized the importance of Ms. Shaffer’s compensation and the need to be competitive in a national market. Ms. Shaffer’s compensation, including bonus compensation, is in line with those in her position at other public institutions in the state of Ohio, and she does her job exceptionally well. She kept her commitment to the board to remain at Ohio University for three years, and she earned the bonus offered.

Ms. Shaffer has our full support and appreciation.