Garamendi also calls for UC and CSU meetings to be scheduled on different days to allow for full participation by ex-officio members
Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi sent a strongly worded letter yesterday to California State University (CSU) Chancellor Charles Reed and Board of Trustees Chair Roberta Achtenberg opposing any executive pay raises.
He communicated by letter because he could not simultaneously attend tomorrow’s CSU Trustee’s meeting and that of the University of California Board of Regents, part of an ongoing scheduling conflict where these two bodies frequently meet on the same day in opposite ends of the state. Garamendi is an ex-officio member of both boards (by reason of his election as Lieutenant Governor) as is the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Speaker of the Assembly, and the Governor. He has taken an active role in both the CSU and UC meetings and wants to attend both to participate in person and vote on important issues impacting higher education in California.
In his letter, he outlines seven reasons why CSU should not to proceed with a pay increase and urges his fellow board members to vote against any such proposals. He states:
“I believe the formal policy on executive compensation and the proposal to provide salary increases to CSU executives is ill-timed and unwise. At a time when California faces ongoing budgetary pressure and uncertainty, when student fees have been increased 94% since 2002, and when future increases in CSU’s general fund support are highly unlikely, this proposal will most assuredly arouse the ire of students, faculty and the Legislature. I am adamantly opposed to these increases in executive compensation, for the reasons I have stated above, and for the following additional reasons:
1. The CSU system is now in the third month of the current budget, and there is no line item in the budget for any increase beyond what was approved last year. Exactly what program will be cut to pay for the increases?
2. Every study of faculty pay indicates that, even with the pay increases obtained last year through a bruising and protracted conflict, the level of CSU faculty pay remains below comparable institutions. Increasing executive pay well beyond what the faculty receives (both as a percentage and in total dollars) will ignite a furor among faculty and create future negotiation difficulties on any number of matters.
3. In the absence of a proposed budget for the next year, it is impossible to say with certainty if there will be another student fee increase. However, the current compact, which was never formally approved by the Trustees, creates the likelihood that another fee increase will be proposed. If this should happen, students will pay for the executive salary increases. This is unacceptable and should be enough reason to deny the executive salary increase. At a minimum, the action must be delayed until such time as the upcoming student fee issue and adoption of a budget for the next fiscal year is resolved. Let me be clear that I remain opposed to any student fee increase.
4. In actual dollars, the amount of the pay increases received by many executives is greater that the total annual pay of many other CSU employees, such as janitors, groundskeepers, and food service employees. Furthermore, the total dollar increase is greater that the take home pay of non-tenured faculty. The gross unfairness of this cannot be denied, and should cause all of the Trustees to pause to consider the difficulty that many of the loyal employees of the university face in making ends meet in their daily life.
5. The proposed executive pay increase is extremely bad public relations. It will surely anger students, faculty, legislators, and the general public. This will likely result in reluctance by the Legislature to significantly augment the budget of the CSU system. The Trustees cannot be politically tone deaf, since the system is ultimately dependent upon the goodwill of the public and the Legislature.
6. If followed over the next four years, the formal policy on executive compensation will result in an annual pay increase for executives that is far in excess of faculty and general fund increases.
7. While the Perrin Study indicated that a pay gap may exist, there is no evidence that executives are leaving to seek higher paying jobs or that the CSU is having trouble recruiting quality executive staff.
Since the CSU and the UC administrations refuse to schedule their Board of Trustees and Board of Regents meetings on different days, I am forced to send this letter instead of attending the Trustee meeting and arguing in person against the executive pay increase.
Nevertheless, I want to be on record that could I be in two places simultaneously, I would argue against and vote against this unwise proposal.”
Executive pay and benefits in the CSU and UC systems have been the subject oflegislation recently enacted and calls for a more open process.