$33,000 in David Joyner’s pocket

Published March 27, 2012

Think of all the things you could do with $33,000. A vacation in Bora Bora. A new car. Maybe even start a new Penn State scholarship to help temper the high cost of tuition.

David Joyner gets to do those things 12 times a year, because that’s how much Penn State pays him every month to run the university’s sports programs. The former trustee resigned from the board on Nov. 16 to become the acting director of athletics in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.

Joyner’s reward for trading his trustee post for one of the most prominent jobs in college sports includes a $396,000 annual salary, standard university benefits and the use of a car paid for by Penn State. And although he’s been named the “acting” athletics director, his deal doesn’t have an end date.

This isn’t new information. A copy of his employment terms was posted on Penn State’s web site weeks ago. But his monthly salary just recently struck me as fairly outrageous, and got me thinking about how misplaced trustee ethics rules are.

Consider that Penn State employees can’t become trustees for three years after they’ve left that position. I suppose that’s to prevent top administrators from making decisions that might lead to a board position after they’re gone. But once they’re on the board, trustees can step down at any time and take high-profile positions that are worth more than most of us earn in at least three years.

That doesn’t make any sense. Ethics rules are supposed to prevent officials from gaining personal benefit from their positions of power. And people have more to personally gain from Penn State while they’re a trustee than while they’re gainfully employed by the university.

Allowing trustees to be rewarded with lucrative university positions is simply backwards, and trustee rules don’t prevent this in any way. If elected, I promise to push for ethics rules that will eliminate these conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, which trustee will become the next top Penn State administrator?