CSU policy to cap state funds for presidents pay
LONG BEACH – A California State University subcommittee took the first step Tuesday to shift raises for new university presidents from state coffers to campus foundations.
The Special Committee on Presidential Selection and Compensation voted 4-0 to endorse an amendment to a recently approved policy that caps raises for new university presidents at 10 percent more than their predecessors earned. The amendment would keep the 10 percent cap, but would require that the raises only come from university foundations.
The full CSU Board of Trustees is expected to ratify the policy amendment at its Wednesday meeting. The policy would be in effect until 2014 to give the university flexibility in case the economy improves.
“At a time when state funding continues to decline, it’s important to remain fiscally prudent,” said Lou Monville, chairman of the subcommittee. “But it’s equally important to competitively compensate our new university presidents. We have to compete for candidates nationally.”
The policy would not affect the raise approved in March for incoming Cal State Fullerton President Mildred Garcia. Trustees approved giving Garcia a 10 percent that is supported entirely through state funds. The raise will bring her base salary to $324,500. She will also receive $12,000 in an annual auto allowance, among other benefits. Trustees also approved giving incoming Cal State East Bay President Leroy Morishita a 10 percent raise, bringing his base salary to $303,660.
In March, the pay increases for both presidents drew widespread criticism from CSU unions, lawmakers and student groups. At the same meeting that the raises were approved, trustees reviewed a plan to cut enrollment by up to 25,000 students and cut up to 3,000 jobs.
The state cut $750 million in funding this year to the CSU and could cut an additional $200 million next year if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiatives fail at the November ballot.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, an ex officio CSU trustee, warned the subcommittee that even if the system shifts raises to foundations, presidents receiving any kind of pay increase at a time of severe cuts could leave the system open to continued public criticism.
“I appreciate that this body has listened to the public and the governor on this issue. There is no doubt we have to remain competitive,” Newsome said. “But there is also no doubt we are facing an unprecedented fiscal climate. A 10 percent raise is still a 10 percent raise no matter where it comes from.”
Outside the meeting, dozens of members from the California Faculty Association held a rally to protest stalled labor negotiations. The union and the CSU are at impasse following 22 months of unsuccessful talks. Last week, union leaders announced that the membership had voted to authorize a strike if the administration failed to meet union demands, which include lifting a pay freeze, allowing more academic freedom and providing more job stability and tenure for temporary faculty.
The administration has argued that a loss of state funding has forced the cash-strapped system to implement unavoidable reductions.
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