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Lawmakers question salaries and hirings of new UW chancellors

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The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents is being watched closely Thursday and Friday, as it hires three new chancellors and sets salaries for a host of top officials.

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Assembly Colleges Committee chairman Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, says the Regents must show restraint or face a public backlash.

Nass says workers are getting laid off left and right and the Regents appear to be operating with blinders on.

Board president Mark Bradley says the Legislature told the university to base its salaries on what similar leaders make at other schools and any complaints should go to the lawmakers.

Biddy Martin, the finalist as Madison's new chancellor, is in a pay range that tops out at $452,000 a year.

That's less than what she made as the provost at Cornell. IRS filings listed her salary there at $481,000, plus 53,000 in other benefits.

Also, the Regents are expected to hire Richard Telfer as the new chancellor at Whitewater, and Robert Felner as the new leader at Parkside.

Both have pay ranges of $194,000 to $237,000 per year.

UW officials say they have to pay for good talent and if they don't, they'll leave or stay away.

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