(Robert) Gee Whiz
What with all the focus on greed-sters on Wall Street, we sometimes have to remind ourselves that the desire to make a lot of money happens in all walks of life. If you don’t have a money-minting sort of profession, you sadly have to resort to larceny. Thus we seem to find no end to the string of embezzlers with their hand in the till. But if you, say, are the enterprising sort, and found your own graduate school, you can apparently do quite nicely for yourself – hand in the till legitimately.
Or so has been the experience of on Robert Gee, Phd., founder and president of the National Graduate School of Quality Management, which is, in fact, a legitimate and accredited degree-granting institution specializing in:
Environmental Quality Management
It’s audience is professional adult learners in private industry and the military. The school offers a combo of virtual and physical courses, and grants real degrees, including a DBA. It enrolls about 400 students.
Which, when you divide it into president and founder Robert Gee’s compensation for 2010, translated into nearly $2K per student. In contrast, the president of Tufts University, who makes about as much as Gee, only manages to grab a scant $130 a head. The Jumbos’ president is obviously doing something wrong.
Another way to look at this is Gee’s compensation as a percent of revenue, which, good year or bad, is roughly 10%. In 2010, with revenues of $7.1 million, Gee drew $732K. When revenue dropped to $5.7M, Gee’s compensation “plummeted” to $539K. For another local university compare and contrast, in 2010, the president of Bentley, with revenues of $227M, made about the same amount as Gee did.
Years ago, I worked for a small software company which, the year we were acquired by Teradyne – which was, by the way, a Total Quality Management organization – had revenues of about $7M. I can’t remember exactly what our president made that year, but I can guarantee that it was nowhere near $732,891. Or even $539,610.
But that was in a private, profit-making organization.
The National Graduate School of Quality Management is a non-profit.
Sure looks like something gang agley here.
Among the things that appear to gang agley are the school’s:
..$3.25 million waterfront compound on Oyster Pond with spectacular views of Martha’s Vineyard, especially from the six-bedroom house earmarked to be Gee’s presidential residence.
And you don’t want to drive up to the president’s residence in just any old jalopy, so the school picked up the tab for:
…a silver Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan for Gee and a silver Mercedes-Benz station wagon for his wife, Aileen Waters Gee. The cost: $130,638, or about 2 percent of the school’s revenues that year.
There was no sales tax, because the school is tax-exempt.
And then there’s:
…a deluxe winter getaway in the US Virgin Islands for their use, part of a 17-year employment contract that expires in 2023, when Gee will be 79.
That’s great that Gee intends to keep working until he’s 79. And it’s great that he won’t have to eke out his existence on Social Security. But a seventeen-year employment contract! Yowza! Where can I get me one of those?
All is not perfect Chez Gee, however:
Gee and his wife are in the process of getting a divorce, according to court records. She began a two-year stint as board chairman in July 2001, 11 months before she and Gee were married. In July 2003, she left the board and joined the staff at $100,000 a year.
Wonder what she did for that $100K?
Gee, after ignoring the Globe’s calls and e-mails for more than a month, issued a statement Wednesday asserting that his compensation and perks are warranted. He said that they are comparable with those given to leaders of similar institutions, but did not identify any.
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for any to come forward, either. I will say that I’m pretty familiar with the operations of a human services non-profit with revenues of the rough magnitude of Gee’s outfit, and the executive director’s compensation is closer to what Gee’s wife pulled in for her unspecified job. And I expect that the executive director of the organization that I have in mind worked a lot harder for her pay.
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts AG is looking into the compensation that “seem[s] excessive,” and which was apparently rubber-stamped by a board packed with Gee cronies. And there’s speculation that the IRS may cast a cold eye on the school, as well.
It’s actually somewhat stunning to me that a school devoted to quality management, best practices, and all kinds of other good stuff might look a bit inward and think about governance on occasion.
The school’s motto is, “Success you can measure.”
You can also measure compensation, which may end up being Robert Gee’s downfall.
Source info in this post: Boston.com.