Ted Carter

Walter “Ted” Carter will receive base pay of $934,600 as NU president.

LINCOLN — Ted Carter’s office currently contains only three framed family snapshots, two Nebraska history books and a computer set up for a user who stands while working.

As the University of Nebraska system’s president-elect, Carter’s presence will dominate the Varner Hall office shortly.

He has given himself 100 days, beginning next month, to form a committee and write a five-year strategic plan.

Carter and the NU Board of Regents tweaked and finalized his contract Thursday in a 25-minute meeting that included a 13-minute closed session.

“And congratulations,” Regents Chairman Tim Clare of Lincoln said after the board unanimously approved the contract.

“Thank you very much,” Carter said. Carter actually started work Monday.

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The key elements of the contract remain unchanged. Carter, 60, has a five-year agreement with a yearly base salary of $934,600. His fringe benefits include deferred compensation of 11.5% of his base salary, first distributed at the end of his third year.

He will live in the president’s official residence and may have a membership in one or more country clubs.

He and the regents will agree to his performance-bonus metrics no later than July 1. His annual bonus can reach 15% of his base salary.

Carter said after the meeting that he put together strategic plans while leading the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island and the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.

He and a soon-to-be-formed committee will write the NU system’s strategic plan with an eye on improvement in enrollment, graduation rates, relevant internships for students, job placement and other matters, he said.

“Growth is upward trajectory in every sense of the word,” he said. “I think the University of Nebraska is truly a barometer for the state.”

Carter also said the strategic plan would include an examination of the university’s resources, capabilities and mission. The NU system has institutions in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney and Curtis.

The transition committee will have 10 to 15 members, including administrators and representatives of the campuses, he said. Clare said Carter would also consider faculty, staffers, alumni, business leaders and others for the committee. The committee will add people to serve on subcommittees.

For the main committee, Carter envisioned “a small, agile group of people” who will help create the strategic plan. “And we want to do this in short time — the first 100 days,” Carter said.

Clare said the changes to Carter’s contract will “minimize any future uncertainties,” he said.

Among interesting elements of Carter’s contract:

» If he resigns for another higher education job before the end of 2022, he will pay the university $1 million to cover “damages,” such as the cost of a search for a new president and the disruption to the university.

» Carter or a representative should not negotiate with any other employer without first notifying the chairman of the Board of Regents. That provision will expire at the end of 2022.

» NU may fire him for “good cause.” That includes failure to carry out his duties, professional or personal misconduct and refusal to follow orders, rules, policies and practices.

» All expenses for the president’s official residence, such as maintenance, utilities and insurance, will be paid by the NU Foundation.

rick.ruggles@owh.com, 402-444-1123

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