CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The president of Mountain State University, a private college in the midst of serious accreditation problems, received the sixth-highest paycheck of private college presidents in the nation in 2009, according to a new report by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Charles H. Polk, who has led Mountain State since 1990, made more than $1.8 million in total compensation in 2009, according to a tax form 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
"$1.8 million, that's quite a number," said Brian Noland, chancellor of the state Higher Education Policy Commission. "That is obviously outside of the norm."
The median compensation for a university president in the state is about $200,000, Noland said.
"The compensation for the president is something between him and his board, so I can't comment about whether that is right or wrong," said Noland. "But that is triple the compensation of the president of West Virginia University, which is our state's land-grant institution and has a medical school."
West Virginia University President Jim Clements's salary was $550,000 for the 2011-12 school year.
Polk came to MSU in 1990, after he resigned as president of Daytona Beach Community College in Florida amid an investigation by the Florida Ethics Commission that he had violated Florida law for having a contractual relationship with a real estate developer who was doing business with the college.
In 1991, the Ethics Commission found that Polk did violate Florida law and said he should be publicly censured, according to the Ethics Commission case report.
Polk could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
MSU spokesman Andy Wessels declined to comment about Polk's pay and benefits, but in September, Jerry Ice, chairman of MSU Board of Trustees, wrote a letter to the Gazette explaining Polk's compensation.
Ice said Polk's high compensation was the result of a retirement package that the board set up in 2004 and was required to pay out in 2009. He called it a "one-time" expenditure and said Polk's salary was only a quarter of the $1.8 million figure.