Let me see if I understand what is going on at the University of Southern Maine:

 USM has an enormous structural financial deficit.

 USM has an apparently low retention and graduation rate.

 USM moved then-President Selma Botman to a “special position” at her existing salary of more than $200,000 and hired a new president at a salary of more than $200,000.

 USM has now moved Botman’s successor, Theo Kalikow, to a “special position” at her existing salary of more than $200,000.

 USM “special position” incumbent Theo Kalikow is already receiving or is eligible for a state pension.

 USM has now hired a new interim president at a salary of more than $200,000.

 USM has moved Provost Michael Stevenson to a “special position” at his present salary of $175,000.

 USM has started a major renovation of an historic building without public input at a cost approaching $300,000 because some roof trusses and a column needed replacing.

 USM granted, in 2012, a salary increase of more than $34,000 to Monique LaRocque, executive director for university outreach.

So it appears that, based just on this data, USM spent about $1 million in the midst of this budget crunch. What is overdue at USM is a comprehensive overhaul on the administrative structure before instructional personnel are laid off. Just how many presidents, provosts and executive directors are really needed?

Remember that instruction, not administration, is USM’s core business function. Why not take a look at successful state university systems of similar size and see how it can be done?

Allan Brockman

Buxton