Thursday, January 26, 2012

Limits Placed on Presidential Salaries

Several months ago, the Board of Trustees voted to pay the new president at San Diego State University $100,000 more per year than the outgoing president was receiving. Less than 20 minutes later, that same board voted to raise student fees by 12%.

Needless to say, this sparked a rather large public outcry, and at least two bills were introduced by state legislators to restrict the salaries CSU could pay their top executives. Not surprisingly, the CSU opposed those bills, claiming it would interfere with their abilities to hire "the best and the brightest" candidates for these jobs.

At the Board of Trustees meeting held on January 25th, the following resolution was passed, somewhat unexpectedly and without comment by the Trustees. It limits new presidential salaries to a maximum increase of 10% over what the previous president received at each campus.

RESOLVED, by the Board of Trustees of the California State University, that the following is the compensation policy of the California State University:

1. The goal of the CSU continues to be to attract, motivate, and retain the most highly qualified individuals to serve as faculty, staff, administrators, and executives, whose knowledge, experience, and contributions can advance the university’s mission.

2. It is the continued intent of the Board of Trustees to compensate all CSU employees in a manner that is fair, reasonable, competitive, and fiscally prudent, in respect to the system budget and state funding.

3. To that end, the CSU will continue to evaluate competitive and fair compensation for all CSU employees based on periodic market comparison surveys.

4. In addition, the CSU will maintain and update annually a tiered list of CSU comparison institutions for Presidential compensation. The list will take into account location, enrollment, budget, percentage of students receiving Pell Grants, six year graduation rates, research funding, and such other subjects as from time to time be deemed appropriate. Presidential compensation will be guided with reference to the mean of the appropriate tier of comparison institutions, together with an individual candidate's reputation for national policy leadership and length and depth of executive experience.

5. Notwithstanding the presidential compensation criteria enumerated in item 4 (above) and until the Board of Trustees of the California State University determines otherwise, when a presidential vacancy occurs, the initial base salary, paid with public funds, to the successor president, shall not exceed ten percent of the previous incumbent’s pay.

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