New Jersey’s two-year public colleges need to rein in their practice of wooing their presidents with high salaries and benefits including unchecked expense accounts, free housing, and country-club memberships, State Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer said in a report released Wednesday.

“There are no state standards or guidelines for college trustees to rely on when setting compensation terms for their president,” Boxer said in a statement. “As a result, there are huge disparities.”

The state’s 19 community and county colleges, which aim to provide an affordable education to almost 260,000 students annually, offer compensation packages free of constraints placed on other government agencies and often without regard to factors such as the administrator’s experience or the school’s size, according to Boxer’s analysis.

The report took colleges across the state to task. Investigators found presidents whose colleges provided retirement fund contributions more than 14 times what was required by the state and who received perks such as an $11,000 country club membership and the use of a school-owned luxury SUV. Covered expenses included a $460 steak house dinner for three in Montreal and annual credit card bills of up to $45,000.


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