Nova Scotia

Tom Traves in retirement still highest paid at Dalhousie University

An examination of former Dalhousie University president Tom Traves's contract shows that he is required to be available for work, in order to collect his salary, but not a lot of work.

Former Dalhousie University president required to be available two days per month to collect $457K

Retired Dalhousie University president only has to be available for work two days a month in order to collect $457,521. (Paul Withers/CBC)

Retired Dalhousie University president Tom Traves has a contract that states he is required to be available for work in order to collect his salary, but not a lot of work — two days per month to be exact.

Traves retired from the university in 2013, but he was still the highest-paid employee last year at $457,521.

Traves's contract, which was made available to CBC recently, also states he is eligible for a four-per-cent raise as of June this year. That would equal $475,821 for the coming year — the last year Traves will be paid by the university. 

And the contract lays out a timeline for salary increases beginning at $441,082 in 2010, and rising by four per cent per year till 2015. That should have hiked his salary far above the $457,000 reported last year.

In exchange for the salary and benefits, he is expected to be available to advise the board of governors on collective bargaining, fundraising and government relations, to a maximum of two days per month.

Board member defends contract

A former member of the university's board of governors has defended the retirement contract to CBC News, but wouldn't let his name be used. 

He said Traves had been at the forefront of a fundraising campaign that raised $250 million in his time at Dal — the highest fundraising total in the history of the province. 

He called Traves and current president Richard Florizone — who has a similar leave clause in his contract — remarkable individuals.

"I would hire them for my company in a minute, and they would make me money," he said.

Traves also is allowed to keep the company car provided by Dalhousie for the three years of his paid leave, but he must cover all costs associated with the vehicle.

The three-year "president emeritus" term is described by the university as similar to a sabbatical provided to faculty. He gets one year of paid leave for each five-year term he served as president, so after 18 years as president, he is entitled to three years of paid leave.

Some members of the faculty point out that when they go on sabbatical, they are expected to provide a plan for the research they plan to do, and how it will benefit the university. And they are not eligible for sabbatical if they are not planning to come back to the university.

Read Traves's contract for yourself.

Mobile users: View the document
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content