clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Trust land managers return bonuses to state

SALT LAKE CITY — Controversial bonuses handed out to school trust land managers — raising the ire of lawmakers in a tight fiscal year — have been quietly returned to the state's bottom line.

The $165,000 in bonuses, which prompted calls for more oversight and accountability by lawmakers last October, were part of a list of funding increases detailed in a 2010 budget report distributed to members of the joint natural-resources appropriations committee.

Kevin Carter, director of the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, gave a crisp briefing on the so-called funding increase at the tail-end of an hours-long meeting.

Carter was among six top land managers at the administration who received bonuses during the year, a time of a bleeding budget during which lawmakers axed bonuses for state employees.

But because the bonuses were part of a contractual agreement among managers of the fund, board members who exercise oversight agreed to go forward with them.

Some lawmakers believed the fund was deliberately thwarting their wishes, but board chairman John Ferry said it was a matter of living up to obligations for employees who had produced stellar revenue results.

Fund managers have said there are no bonuses to be paid this coming fiscal year.

SITLA manages a 3.5 million-acre real estate portfolio for the financial benefit of public education.

— Amy Joi O'Donoghue