Friday, October 12, 2007

Governor Vetoes One CSU Reform Bill, Signs Another

Signaling a desire for more mismanagement of taxpayer funds at the California State University, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 1413 this afternoon. AB 1413 would have required the CSU to make executive compensation decisions in the open, prohibited executive transition pay higher than the previous year's pay, required former executives awarded trustee professorships to actually teach to receive payment, and prevented former executives with trustee professorships from being paid more than a full professor. State Assembly member Anthony Portantino, author of AB 1413, was quoted by KQCA as saying the veto gave a "green light to the trustees to conduct business as usual, continuing to break the public's trust."

AB 1413 would also have allowed ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees to designate a staff person to attend Board of Trustee meetings in their place. The CSU routinely schedules Board of Trustees meetings to conflict with the UC Board of Regents meetings. As a result, the four state officials who are ex-officio members of both boards (the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Speaker of the Assembly) cannot attend both meetings. Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi was one of only two Trustees to vote against the CSU executive pay increases at the September meeting.

The governor did sign SB 190, called the Higher Education Governance Accountability Act, by State Senator Leland Yee. SB 190 requires the Trustees to take action on executive compensation in open session, requires full disclosure of each compensation package and the rationale for it, requires the Trustees to allow public comment, and requires that discussions of and actions on executive compensation programs and policies take place in open session.

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