Questions are being raised about some big pay increases and bonuses for executives at SAIT.

In 2011/2012, out-going President Irene Lewis received a 9 percent salary increase bringing her base pay to $245,000 a year.

Lewis also received $627,000 in performance and retirement bonuses, bringing her total compensation to $872,000 which is a 57 percent increase over the previous year.

The three vice-presidents also received big increases.

  • Gordon Nixon was given $362,000 in total compensation, a 17 percent increase.
  • Wayne King earned $334,000, an 18 percent increase.
  • Michael Dyer was paid $331,000, 19 percent more.

SAIT insists these increases are in line with the pay hikes for executives at other post secondary institutions and that a survey by the Board of Governors determined the compensations were below market value.

A number of groups, including students and instructors are not impressed.

The SAIT Academic Faculty Association says the increases just don't make sense, especially since they are being asked to take a lot less. 

SAIT says the pay is fair and that the bonuses are only granted if some specific goals are met.

“It is one of those things that is about incentive and it’s an effective incentive program to encourage people to come up with creative and efficient ways to run things,” said Melanie Simmons from SAIT.

“When I first saw the bonus it was, it went to far.  This was the final breaking straw.  This has to stop,” said Doug Spurgeon, SAIT Academic Faculty Association President.

Students want a more transparent process.

The students association has two seats on the board but even they can't understand why the increases were approved.

“SAIT has eight meetings a year, two of which are public but they only do their reports up in public and then go in camera, so we don't even know how the board reps vote some times on these issues,” said Matthew Armstrong.

The faculty association says the increases will be top of mind when they begin voting on their contract.