Wednesday, August 19, 2009

UC, CSU Hypocrisy Sends Executive Pay Bill Into Suspense

UC, CSU Hypocrisy Sends Executive Pay Bill Into Suspense
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Senator Yee’s legislation would prohibit pay raises for top executives in bad budget years

SACRAMENTO – Legislation to prohibit executive pay raises during bad budget years at the University of California and the California State University was sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee suspense file today after UC and CSU administrators hypocritically argued that the bill would cost millions of dollars. UC and CSU administrators have used the complete opposite argument to push furloughs for lower wage workers as a cost-savings measure.

Typically, bills are moved to the “suspense file” that are estimated to impose significant state costs. However, in the case of SB 217, the Senate Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly approved the bill earlier this year and the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s own fiscal analysis estimates cost-savings as a result of the bill.

“It is unconscionable that the CSU Chancellor’s office and the UC President’s office argue that a freeze on executive pay hikes would cost the universities a dime,” said Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo, the bill’s author. “Unfortunately, the hypocrisy and doublespeak continues by UC and CSU administrators. SB 217 will ensure that top execs are not living high on the hog, while the students and faculty are unfairly suffering.”

In 2009 alone, the UC Board of Regents has already approved approximately $9 million in executive compensation increases.

At the last Regents meeting in July, several executives were appointed at salaries from 11 percent to 59 percent higher than their predecessors. The Regents also voted to give “administrative stipends” ranging from $24,000 to $58,625 to several employees, without any extra duties, and added several new highly paid executive positions.

All told, the Regents approved nearly $2 million in monetary compensation increases at just one meeting. That is in addition to other forms of compensation including generous pension plans, travel allowances, housing, and access to low-interest loans. UC President Mark Yudof also receives nearly a $1 million in salaries and perks.

Since 2002, top administrators at CSU have also received raises in excess of 23 percent.

“The same argument that the UC and CSU makes to furlough their rank-and-file employees should also apply to people who make hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Yee. “They seem committed to going down the same egregious path as AIG and other Wall Street corporations by providing for their top executives and hurting everyone else.”

SB 217 will not be eligible to move until next week when the Assembly Appropriations Committee considers which bills come off suspense and which bills die.

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