Resignation of Greg Perkinson, who left office in July, not effective until Dec. 31; university health insurance coverage continues through Jan. 31
By Holly Dillemuth, Ashland.news
Former Southern Oregon University Vice President of Finance and Administration Greg Perkinson has been on paid administrative leave since mid-August, a status that continues through Nov. 10, according to a severance agreement obtained by Ashland.news through a public records request, and, depending on vacation accrual, he may continue to be paid through Dec. 31. He has served in his role at the university since December 2017.
The 12-page severance agreement states it will serve as Perkinson’s “voluntary resignation” effective Dec. 31. Perkinson’s last physical day in his SOU role was July 27, after which he used vacation time through mid-August. He was officially placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 14.
After his period on paid leave ends Nov. 10, he may use “any eligible vacation accrual” to receive pay, possibly through the end of the year, at which time any remaining accrued vacation time will be paid to him.
He will also receive SOU healthcare insurance coverage through Jan. 31, 2024.
While he remains on the payroll, Perkinson will be paid at the rate of his annual salary of $190,962 gross, or $15,913.50 per month, not including insurance or other benefits.
Perkinson also serves on the city of Ashland Planning Commission, where his term expires April 30, 2025. His severance agreement with SOU says he must recuse himself from any future “deliberations, discussions, or decisions regarding SOU,” including while he serves on the Planning Commission. If he does not recuse himself from the latter, the agreement states that “SOU will be entitled to share truthful and accurate information regarding Perkinson’s separation as well as his severance agreement with decision-makers as necessary to protect SOU’s interests.”
SOU President Rick Bailey declined to answer specific questions regarding Perkinson, citing an agreement with him. Bailey did provide Ashland.news with a verbal statement regarding Perkin’s paid administrative leave.
“I mentioned last September as we were approaching the work that would end up leading to the SOU Forward Plan,” Bailey said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I said then publicly,
that there were no villains to this story, that everyone acted with good intentions. As we look at this past summer, and the challenges that we face, and the areas in which we need to improve, the same principle holds true, the same observation holds true, that no one acted maliciously and that everyone tried to do the best that they could, given the circumstances. However, it was also very clear there are things that we need to do better as an institution, and that led to the decision to make some organizational changes, and hold ourselves more accountable and move in ways that provide more resilience to our processes.”
In response to inquiries by Ashland.news in August about Perkinson’s absence from the university, it was announced Perkinson had retired. Reached by Ashland.news in August, Perkinson said, “It was a good time for me to transition.”
SOU began recalculating its budget in June, just two months after the announced multimillion-dollar cuts to the budget, as previously reported by Ashland.news. Bailey told SOU Trustees at a special board meeting on Aug. 28 about the discovery that “a line in the supplies and services budget was ‘double counted,’ leading to a $1.1 million discrepancy.”
Bailey said at the Trustees meeting that while some adjustments were due to “poor assumptions” or “mistakes,” others were due to “unexpected additional revenue.”
He said accounting oversights also included neglecting to account for cost-of-living adjustments and other increased expenses in payroll for union represented employees, an estimated $798,200 adjustment, as previously reported by Ashland.news. Costs associated with graduate assistants were also “unbudgeted,” a $144,089 adjustment.
The changes amount to about 1% of the budget, Bailey told Ashland.news the day after the meeting.
“I’m not going to get into any specific HR or specific personnel or people. … Out of respect for people involved in HR, except to say there was an opportunity for us to improve,” Bailey said at the meeting.
In exchange for SOU’s fulfillment of its obligations in the agreement, Perkinson agreed to “waive the right to reinstatement at SOU” and acknowledged “Perkinson is not eligible for reemployment at SOU.”
In the agreement, signed Aug. 16 by both Bailey and Perkinson, Perkinson also agreed not to apply for any position at the university, including in a volunteer capacity.
In a recommendation letter from Bailey dated Aug. 11 that was part of the severance package, Bailey praised Perkinson’s personal traits, as well as his strengths in his previous top leadership role, saying:
“As I think about his legacy here at SOU, three things will definitely stand out and help define his service: (1) jumping in with the rest of the leadership team to tackle the seemingly impossible task of realigning our fiscal structure to provide long-term sustainability; (2) oversight of the thoughtful launch of our new Core Information Systems Replacement (CISR) project, which will provide greater effectiveness and efficiencies for decades to come: and perhaps most notably, (3) his steadfast leadership and organizational prowess in skillfully and sensitively helping students, faculty, staff and our community endure, and indeed thrive, during the COVID pandemic.”
In his presentation to the Board of Trustees on Aug. 28, Bailey also said: “The tolerance that we have when it comes to our budgeting and fiscal processes needed to be better, it needed to be tighter … I think it’s reasonable for us to expect more in the way that we manage our funding and in the way that we project our budget.”
Reach Ashland.news reporter Holly Dillemuth at firstname.lastname@example.org.