The college president holds the highest-paid and most important position at OCCC, but few know what the position truly entails.
In many ways, the college president is like the head of a corporation, said Paul Sechrist, OCCC’s president.
His pay reflects that stature.
Sechrist will make $227,429 for 2011-12, according to the current staffing plan.
That’s somewhat less than what some other Oklahoma two-year college presidents make but is still within the top 10 of the highest-paid presidents at Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities, according to www.newsok.com.
Sechrist’s salary ranks 7th, with Tulsa Community College being the only two-year college that pays its president more at $248,441.
Closer to home, Rose State College’s president makes $211,500 and is 10th on the list.
As OCCC employees look at a third consecutive year without raises, Sechrist said, he too, will forego a raise next year — as he has for the past two years — because, his position, at its core, is really like any other full-time college employee.
“I have the same position benefits as every other full-time employee of the college,” he said. “Those include sick leave, vacation leave, health insurance and retirement.”
Sechrist said he also pays for things many other college presidents get in addition to their salary.
“ … You’ll see [a lot of college presidents] have allowances — housing allowance, car allowance, cell phone allowance, entertainment allowance.
“I don’t have any of those,” he said. “It’s just the general practice here at the college that the president takes those things out of his or her own salary like everybody else.”
So, what does Sechrist do to earn his salary?
“The main duty of the president is that the president serves as the chief executive officer,” he said, “which means that I am the manager of all the senior administrators, all the vice presidents and all of the people who are in senior leadership positions.
“I have responsibilities to oversee them. Really, it is about making sure the mission is achieved.”
Sechrist said the regents fill the position.
“The president is the person the Board (of Regents) hires to make sure that the mission of the public college is achieved.”
While the president handles some of the major day-to-day matters that come up, Sechrist also serves as a community leader.
“In addition to leading the administration, I serve as the primary spokesperson for [OCCC], advocating for the college with the community, legislature and potential donors.”
Sechrist said he supports OCCC in many ways, for instance, by donating a portion of his salary through payroll deductions to the OCCC Foundation, like many other employees, he said.
OCCC Foundation primarily supports scholarships for students, but also supports other projects at OCCC, Sechrist said. One of those things is the new performing arts theater, which was partly funded through the OCCC Foundation.