Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CSU Chair Herb Carter Fails Senate Reconfirmation

Herb Carter, the chairman of the CSU's Board of Trustees, has apparently lost his job. In a hearing held in Sacramento, Carter's reconfirmation bid failed after he couldn't gather two additional and necessary votes by Republicans in the State Senate.

"Today the Senate sent a clear message to the students, parents and taxpayers that we deserve better from higher education than skyrocketing tuition, poor planning and little oversight,'' said Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego).

While Carter's re-confirmation had been pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it appears that Carter's decision to raise student fees 12%, while at the same time agreeing to pay the incoming president at San Diego State a $400,000 salary ($100,000 more than the previous president) did not resonate well with the legislature.

State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) said that Carter was ""part of the mess going on at the CSU, where top executives have been getting $300,000, $400,000."

Chancellor Charles Reed defended Carter. In a published statement, Reed said "It is extremely disappointing that his nomination to the Board of Trustees would be subject to political circumstances. To deny the confirmation of a person that has done so much of behalf of the CSU is incomprehensible."

Chico's Bob Linscheid, the current vice-chair for the Board of Trustees, will become the new chair.

Some media hits:

LA Times

Chico Enterprise Record


Friday, February 24, 2012

10 Reasons Why Chair Carter Must Go

The publication Cal Watchdog has just published a very well-done article titled "10 Reasons Why Cal State Chair Herb Carter Must Go". See the link for the entire story.

To this, we can only add one thing: Why did they stop at only 10 reasons?

This is the same Herb Carter who claimed that CSUEU was "being disruptive" and therefore was excluded from the super-secret private BOT meeting where student fees were raised another 12%.

This is also the same Herb Carter who has done everything possible to either restrict or eliminate public comment during the monthly Board of Trustees meeting.

We agree with Cal Watchdog. The CSU needs new leadership, starting at the top.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gov. Brown Proposes Major Pension Reform

Yesterday, Gov. Brown proposed major pension reform plan for state employees.

The Sac Bee has the complete story: Pension Reform.

This proposal would require a Constitutional Amendment (a ballot measure) in order to pass. If the measure was approved by voters, existing Union contracts would be protected until they expire.

Governor’s Proposed Pension Language - Summary of changes:

1. Article VII, Sec. 12, sub (a) - Every public retirement system will be required to provide one or more hybrid pension plans. (The plan will be mandatory for new hires pursuant to this section [Article VII, Sec. 12 sub (a), par (3)]. “A public employer shall offer to its public employees first hired on and after July 1, 2013, only a hybrid pension plan…”)

2. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (a), par (1) – designed with goal of – DB + DC (or other alternative plan component – like cash balance) + SS = 75% income replacement., base on a full career (defined in this constitutional provision as 30 years with NRA of 57 for public safety and 35 years of service with NRA of 67 for misc employees). The plan must be designed to limit the cumulative value of the three components (or two, if the employee is not in Social Security) to not exceed the earnings cap for Social Security – $110,100 or 120% of that amount for public safety - - $132,120 (the previous amount had been static for 3 years, 2012 figure noted here, reflects an increase)

3. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (a), par (2) – Requires DOF to establish the initial criteria for the hybrid plan. Exempts DOF from existing regulatory rulemaking procedures (APA).

4. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (a), par (3) – (also referenced above in #1) – hybrid plan(s) must be offered on and after 7-1-2013. Allows for retirement system to offer an alternative as long as it is determined and certified by chief actuary and the system board to have LESS risk and LOWER costs to the employer than the DOF plan.

5. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (a), par (4) – allows a court action preventing implementation, to be filed against the system actuary, the retirement board, the system and the employer by anyone (resident, corporation, anyone liable to pay, taxpayer within the boundaries of the public employer) if the alternative plan is NOT less risky and less costly to the employer.

6. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (a), par (5) – requires that the hybrid plan be made available to employees hired prior to 7-1—2013.

7. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (b) – these provisions are applicable to new hires (after 1-1-2013):

a. par (1) – 3 year final comp period, final comp excludes bonuses, unplanned OT or payments for unused sick leave or vacation

b. par (2) – minimum 5 years of service to qualify for service retirement, min retirement age – 52 for safety, 57 for non-safety, indexed to SS (if they go up, these go up)

8. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (c) – these provisions are applicable to all employees to the fullest extent allowed under the Constitution.

a. par (1) – retroactive benefit increases are prohibited (exemptions identified in statute as classification change requires that any enhanced formula applicable to the new classification ONLY apply to service in that new classification).

b. par (2) – ER and EE must make required payments to fund normal cost

c. par (3) – employees shall contribute half the annual normal cost, ER pickup prohibited

d. par (4) – ban on “non-qualified” service retirement purchase

e. par (5) – benefits revoked where felony conviction in connection with official duties, pursuit of employment, obtaining salary or benefits. (parameters described in statute – only forfeit what was accrued since the commission of the felony)

f. par (6) – post retirement service provisions – NTE 960 hours or 120 full time days in a consecutive 12 month period. No service earned for time on public board or commission without re-instatement.

9. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (d) – references statutory definitions

10. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (e) – specifies that no provision in the constitution or the statutes restrict any disability, death or survivor benefits provided by the public employer (not the system).

11. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (f) – If the terms of an MOU in effect on 11-7-2012 are in conflict with this act, the MOU prevails UNTIL the expiration of the MOU, any renewal, extension or amendment of an MOU will be subject to this constitutional/statutory proposal.

12. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (g)(1) – increases the vote requirement to amend the statutory provisions in this measure to 2/3rds vote as long as those amendments are consistent with and further the purpose of this act.

13. Article VII, Sec 12, sub (g)(2) – any reference to statutes by this act refer to those statutes as they read on 1-1-2013.

14. AMENDS Article XVI, Sec 17, sub (f) – to eliminate the VOTE REQUIREMENT for pension board changes only as to the changes proposed in Section 20090 (in the bill that is companion to the SCA)

15. REQUIRES that the state defend the constitutionality of this act.