Benedict College president gets 2-year contract

COLUMBIA -- Benedict College trustees gave president David Swinton a new contract for two years with no change in his total compensation, board chairman Charlie W. Johnson said Friday.

It was the second time the board had dealt with the president's contract renewal. He has served without a contract since his last one expired in 2007. Earlier this year, trustees declined to endorse a new six-year contract the executive committee had proposed.

The board was divided over whether to give Swinton a new, long-term agreement.

Some supported it. Others felt it was inappropriate given the college's $97 million debt and chronically low graduation rates.

The discussion and vote took place in a session closed to the public.

Afterward, Swinton referred questions about his salary and benefits to the college's IRS 990 report, which must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service each year and is a public document.

According to Benedict's IRS 990 for the year that ended June 30, 2006, Swinton's annual compensation was $265,158; his employee benefits totaled $69,074; and he had an expense account of $8,387, for a total of $342,619.

Trustee Darrell Jackson said he voted in favor of the two-year extension because he believes it would give the college time to plan for a transition. He said he would not have voted for a longer-term contract.

"We had a very intense discussion about the president's contract," Jackson said. He said he could not provide any further details of the closed meeting.