Medical school chancellor took 33 airline trips, 16 with his wife along
THE CHANCELLOR of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester racked up $67,743 in expenses over the course of a year, much of it for air travel for himself and his wife to destinations all over the world.
Michael Collins, whose $1.1 million-a-year salary makes him the state’s highest-paid employee, took 33 airline business trips between June 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019, and his wife went along on 16 of them, according to his state expense reports.
Their destinations included New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, London, and Hong Kong. Collins and his wife often flew in business class, and expense records indicate the total airfare cost for the year was $41,549.
On a trip to London in 2019, for example, the couple spent $5,698 on airfare, $598 on a hotel, $47 for a rail pass, and $17 for cabs, for a total of $6,361.
The chancellors of UMass schools and the president of the system can recover expenses for a spouse or companion “traveling at the invitation of the sponsoring entity on bona fide university business.”
The expense records of all six UMass leaders indicate UMass President Marty Meehan was the only other official to put in expenses for a travel companion who accompanied him on two trips.
Collins reported the highest expenses of all the chancellors. In addition to the $41,549 he spent on airfare, he also spent $26,194 of taxpayer money on hotels, meals, ground transportation, and a personal vehicle. He was reimbursed $600 for the cost of his medical license.
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy was reimbursed for $35,462 in total expenses, over a third of which went for hotel stays.
Chancellor Robert Johnson of UMass Dartmouth and interim UMass Boston Chancellor Katherine Newman had total expenses of $33,745 and $22,066, respectively.
UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney incurred the lowest expenses of all the five chancellors — $20,332. She is also the only UMass chancellor who is not provided with housing or a housing allowance. Collins and Subbsawamy live in homes provided by UMass, while Meehan gets a housing allowance of $70,000; Johnson receives $40,000; and Newman gets $32,000.
Meehan’s total expenses of $24,143 came in comparatively low for someone in his position. Except for one instance — a $155 lunch with a donor at Michael’s restaurant in New York — the former congressman took the standard per diem of $50 to $60 a day for meals and spent relatively little on travel.
Most of the chancellors did not expense a lot of wining and dining. Johnson and Newman spent the most. Newman, for example, expensed a number of meals at the UMass Club, with the tabs running as high as $290 for one meal with two guests. Johnson expensed the $297 cost of dinner with two guests at Joe’s Seafood in Washington, DC, and he also dined by himself at Legal Sea Foods at Logan International Airport at a cost of $68.