Skip to comments.CA: CSU, UC leaders promise candor on executive pay
Posted on 09/19/2006 7:42:13 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Leaders of California's public universities, roiled by reports that some top officials were quietly paid millions, are pledging to be more open about executive pay.
At the California State University trustees' meeting in Long Beach on Tuesday, Chancellor Charles Reed endorsed a proposal to make sure the system's board members and the public knows about compensation deals given to departing executives.
Meanwhile, officials at the University of California said they would be more public about setting salaries for the top ranks.
"UC has an obligation to be open and accessible to the public, and the university is committed to ensuring that obligation is met," UC Board of Regents Chairman Gerald Parsky said in a statement released Tuesday.
Executive compensation has been a hot topic for both systems.
At UC, concerns about pay began nearly a year ago when the San Francisco Chronicle reported that executives got millions in bonuses, housing allowances and other perks at a time when the 10-campus system was hiking student fees because of state budget cuts.
A state audit found the extra compensation accounted for $334 million out of $9.3 billion total compensation in 2004-05. Auditors found that UC administrators skirted policies and didn't tell the public or, in some cases, their own board.
UC officials say they need to compete for top talent and noted that UC executives make less than their counterparts at comparable institutions. However, administrators conceded there had been too much secrecy and instigated reforms, including more financial supervision.
In August, a judge ruled that UC could discuss compensation in closed session, but had to hold committee and full board votes in public when dealing with a small group of about 30 top administrators.
Parsky announced Tuesday that UC's Board of Regents, meeting in San Francisco this week, would go beyond the ruling, extending the open-session votes to include several hundred executives. Discussions leading up to the votes will remain private.
At CSU, the Chronicle reported, at least seven departing executives were kept on the payroll for an extra year. CSU officials estimate the deals have cost about $4 million in the past decade.
CSU administrators say none of the arrangements broke system rules. They also say that executives who get the extra year's pay generally do work on special projects and other issues.
However, at the CSU Board of Trustees' meeting Tuesday, Reed and other trustees indicated they are ready to adopt a policy in which any future arrangements would be announced in public session.
Also Tuesday, CSU trustees got a report showing their presidents' salaries average about $249,000 42 percent below the average salary at 20 comparison institutions. The report found that some CSU benefits and perks are better than market medians but, even so, total rewards are 12 percent below market.
The report also found faculty salaries were below market, but combined with benefits, they are at about the median.
CSU and the California Faculty Association have been negotiating for months over salaries, with CSU recently saying they are at an impasse.
CFA President John Travis called the board's promise to be more open "a gesture toward transparency," but added, "on the other hand, they don't seemingly understand that the issue here really is about the priorities of spending of the Board of Trustees and the administration."
He said CSU needs to raise faculty pay because benefits aren't that useful in trying to recruit young faculty.
In another compensation issue, the CFA recently filed suit alleging that trustees illegally held a closed-door meeting to discuss the hiring of former Chancellor Barry Munitz.
Munitz, the embattled former head of the J. Paul Getty Trust, was hired to teach a course for nearly $164,000 for the first year before falling to the regular $112,548 paid to full professors after that.
CSU officials said Munitz was exercising his rights under a program for top administrators hired between 1981 and 1992.
CFA is not challenging the hiring, but is trying to determine if trustees violated the state's open-meeting law. CSU officials deny any wrongdoing.
Munitz left CSU in 1998 for the Getty trust. He resigned from the Getty post in February amid allegations of lavish spending.
I swear I read the headline this way:
CA: CSU, UC Cheerleaders promise candor on executive pay
Just what I need. A bunch of prissy airheads commenting on corporate America.
Leftists - greedy? lying? Hiding things? Breaking laws they demanded passed?
Is anyone surprised?