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Oklahoma State University defends ex-dean Dr. John J. Fernandes' $433K payout

PAUL MONIES Published: August 8, 2009
The doctor who formerly headed Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences received a $433,000 paycheck in June, making him the state’s highest-paid employee that month.

Dr. John J. Fernandes, who resigned in the wake of negotiations to save OSU’s medical school, was paid the lump sum for the two years remaining on his contract, said OSU spokesman Gary Shutt.

In March, the Legislature and Gov. Brad Henry approved an emergency $5 million cash infusion for the next five years to stabilize OSU’s medical program and the OSU Medical Center in Tulsa.

The Kaiser Family Foundation will provide matching funds for health care and health insurance in the Tulsa area.

Fernandes’ regular monthly paycheck for the last fiscal year was about $32,000, according to a review of state payroll data. OSU hired him in 2003 as president and dean of the OSU Center for Health Sciences and the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Shutt said he left "to pursue other interests.”

"That was his final settlement payment,” Shutt said. "That’s not typical for most of our presidential positions; it was the fact that he was a medical doctor and it was the nature of that position.”

Shutt said Fernandes’ lump-sum payout was not paid from the Legislature’s $5 million appropriation.

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