The investigation follows analysis by the Boston Business Journal, which found Mohler-Faria collected more than a quarter million dollars in unused sick time before he retired last summer.

In a statement released on Friday the Department said Commissioner Carlos Santiago takes matters of compensation and benefits seriously and plans to review current policies.

Higher education experts say generous contracts that include guaranteed payouts are not uncommon in public higher education.

“It might be unused sick days. It might be a salary guaranteed for after they’re president. Frequently there is outrage, but the provision was in the contract all along,” said Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed.

Such cash-outs are permissible under state law. In question is whether Mohler-Faria’s were properly approved.

[Cross-posted at On Campus: the WGBH News Higher Education Blog]

Kirk Carapezza

Kirk Carapezza is the lead reporter for On Campus. Kirk has reported for Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, Wis., and Vermont Public Radio in Montpelier, Vt. He's been a writer and producer at WBUR in Boston; a teacher and coach at Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, Mass.; a Fenway Park tour guide; and a tourist abroad.

Kirk received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and earned his M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. When he's not reporting or editing stories on campus, you can find him posting K's on the Wall at Fenway.