Miami-Dade County

FIU board backs one-year extension for President Mark Rosenberg

Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg, pictured here on March 15, was approved for a one-year extension through the 2019-20 school year during a meeting of FIU's Board of Trustees on Wednesday. He is slated to receive a $100,000 retention bonus.
Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg, pictured here on March 15, was approved for a one-year extension through the 2019-20 school year during a meeting of FIU's Board of Trustees on Wednesday. He is slated to receive a $100,000 retention bonus. sballestas@miamiherald.com

Following a tumultuous couple of months for Florida International University, the school's Board of Trustees again placed its confidence in FIU President Mark Rosenberg.

The board on Wednesday backed a motion that would grant Rosenberg a one-year contract extension through the 2019-20 school year.

A 2017 regulation put in place by the Board of Governors stipulates that presidential renewals must be limited to one-year extensions.

Rosenberg is currently serving his second five-year term.

The measure, approved unanimously, must still go before the state's Board of Governors, which oversees the public university system.

The Board of Trustees met on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, where the collapse of an under-construction bridge on March 15 killed six people, including an FIU student, and brought the university a barrage of unflattering publicity. The cause of the collapse is under investigation.

Rosenberg, a former state chancellor who has led the university since 2009, is slated to receive a $100,000 retention bonus on Aug. 3, 2019, the expiration of his original term. The payment is a one-time bonus laid out in his current contract, said Claudia Puig, board chairwoman.

The Board of Governors will vote on the extension during its regular meeting later this month, scheduled for June 26th through the 28th. Rosenberg would then have a green light to sign the extension.

Under the extension, Rosenberg would also be eligible to receive a separate performance bonus of up to $100,000. Last month, the board approved a full performance bonus for Rosenberg based on his work during the 2016-17 school year.

His base salary of $502,578.63 will remain fixed but can be raised at the discretion of the board.

Puig said the university would benefit from another year of Rosenberg's leadership. She said he has elevated the university's standing in academia. As for the retention bonus, she said the president has earned it.

"He's been amazing," Puig said. "He truly cares about this university."

Rosenberg has defended the university's handling of the pedestrian bridge project that aimed to connect the Maidique campus to Sweetwater by crossing over the Tamiami Trail. The bridge collapsed onto traffic, trapping motorists below as stress-testing was taking place. Among those killed was FIU student Alexa Duran, an Alpha Xi Delta sorority member.

In coordination with the state, FIU acted as the lead agency on the bridge project and hired a firm to provide construction and engineering inspections.

At Wednesday's meeting, board members also discussed changing the name of the Maidique Campus — it is named for the president who preceded Rosenberg — to something else. Multiple board members said he has been critical of the school.

No action was taken on that.

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