Mark Kennedy's vacation time saves state $1,400 per day

University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy.

GRAND FORKS — University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy has at least eight and a half days of paid time off scheduled in May and early June before he departs for his new position as president of the University of Colorado.

Total savings to North Dakota taxpayers? At least $11,932.

Kennedy’s last day at UND is June 15, ending a three-year tenure at the local campus. On July 1, he will begin his new role in Colorado, overseeing four campuses in the University of Colorado system.

Meanwhile, UND will continue its rotating “in-charge” schedule while Kennedy takes time away from campus in his final weeks in Grand Forks. The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education is searching for a new leader at UND, likely in the form of an interim president. An announcement on the interim president is expected by June 1.

Kennedy, like all state employees, is allowed to take his unused paid time off in a lump payment upon his final day of employment. Each hour Kennedy takes off saves taxpayers more than $175 in his final payout.

Kennedy earns $365,000 annually. Divided by 2,080 hours — the total hours in a year of a salaried, full-time position — it comes to $175.48 per hour, or $1,403.84 per eight-hour day. That means Kennedy’s planned vacation time in late May and early June — 8.5 days so far, according to UND — will drain his total PTO payout by $11,932.64.

Kennedy still has a PTO balance of 86.64 hours to be paid out in a sum of $15,204 when he concludes his employment at UND. Further vacation time between now and June 15 will continue to decrease that payout.

According to Meloney Linder, UND’s vice president for marketing and communications, Kennedy also has tentatively scheduled PTO for June 10-11. Linder said June 6-7 has been reserved for “the transitioning/onboarding of the interim president,” which may determine whether Kennedy uses more of his PTO in June, she said.

Kennedy does not get paid for unused sick leave.

While Kennedy is away from campus, the university will continue its traditional practice of tasking vice presidents with “in-charge” status in the president’s absence. UND Communications Director David Dodds on Monday, May 20, shared a schedule showing a rotation of mostly Provost Tom DiLorenzo and Vice President of Finance and Operations Jed Shivers.

“There is an in-charge master list that is prepared all the time, based on the vice presidents’ schedules. It puts one of the vice presidents in charge to run the campus (in the president’s absence),” Dodds said Monday. “Today, Jed Shivers is in charge. That changes (Tuesday) and Wednesday, when Tom DiLorenzo is in charge. It goes back and forth based on the schedules of the vice presidents.”

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