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Board vote saves Machen money

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Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 12:12 am

Although student voters rejected a proposed Reitz Union student fee, some student leaders are still working to form a more perfect union.

In a meeting of the UF’s Board of Trustees Committee on Educational Policy and Strategy on Monday, UF Student Body President Jordan Johnson said Student Government is seeking alternative sources of funding for renovating the aging student center.

“We’re continuing to work with architects,” he said. “We’re looking to keep the train rolling.”

In the Feb. 23 and 24 SG elections, nearly 56 percent of voting students rejected the proposed student fee.

SG is going to take a long-term approach to the renovation and is going to seek funding from multiple resources, Johnson said.

The money may come from the Public Education Capital Outlay, which is a state program that provides funds to school districts, and UF administrative funds, he said.

“Dr. Machen, someone’s going to hit you up,” he said, jokingly, turning to UF President Bernie Machen.

The issue of Machen’s sabbatical payment was also resolved during the meeting.

When Machen was hired in 2003, his contract stated that after five years, he would be eligible to receive either a one-year sabbatical, which is paid leave, or the equivalent amount. 

In January 2009, Machen chose to take the money in four annual installments.

After receiving the first installment of the money, it was discovered that the four-year payment plan would require  the university president to pay federal taxes on all four installments, even though he had only received a quarter of the total.

To fix the problem, the Board of Trustees voted to give the rest of the sabbatical money to Machen in a single lump sum.

Correction: Tuesday’s article “Board Vote Saves Machen Money” stated that President Machen has received one of four installments toward his sabbatical payment. Machen has received two installments, one in January 2009 and one in January 2010, according to UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes. The Board of Trustees voted to give Machen the two remaining installments in a single lump sum, Sikes said.

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