Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Trustees Raise President Pay While Contemplating Employee Pay Cuts, Layoffs

The CSU Board of Trustees met yesterday, approving more pay raises for campus presidents while contemplating tuition increases, employee pay cuts, and eliminating more staff and faculty.

Presidential Pay Increases

Trustees approved higher pay for three campus presidents. In addition to high base salaries and various augementations, campus presidents all receive either free housing or $50,000-60,000 annual housing supplements, $12,000 annual car allowances, and "executive" health care.

In an interview with CBS 5 (San Francisco), San Francisco State University Vice President Robert Nava called the incoming campus president's $26,251 augmentation (to a $298,749 base salary) a very small amount.

Speakers addressing the Board repeatedly urged them to stop raising already-high executive salaries, stating this gives the impression the CSU must have plenty of money and undermines the governor's November ballot initiative.

CSU Finances

After praising and approving the latest round of presidential pay raises, Trustees heard a presentation about various budget scenarios and options for handling them, including tuition increases, layoffs, enrollment cuts and employee pay reductions.

CSUEU Unit 9 Chair Rich McGee addressed the Board, relating the very real harm to employees from past pay cuts during furloughs. He described getting phone calls asking Rich, what do I do when I can't afford to pay my bills this month? (This is the context of the partial quote in the San Francisco Chronicle article.)

Two CSUEU speakers addressing the Trustees were shown in ABC7's evening news video, CSU board approves pay hikes despite protest. Rich McGee appears at 2:15 in the clip, describing the hardships faced by employees under previous pay cuts, including some who lost their homes. Mike Chavez, Chair of Bargaining Unit 5, also appears at 0:43, pointing out "We're all taking a hit."

Faculty Protest

Faculty protested outside the meeting, and urged transparency and prioritization of education during the public comment period.

Endorsement of Governor's Funding Initiative

The Board voted to support Governor Brown's Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, which will appear on the November ballot. The failure of this initiative would trigger another $250 million cut to the CSU.

Some speakers addressing the board asked what specifically the CSU would do to support the initiative and get the word out about its importance, expressing their readiness to pound the pavement and work with the CSU to get the initiative passed. Their query was not answered.

Plenary Session Outtakes

Chancellor Reed, stating This is maybe dangerous but I want to do this, called critics of extravagent executive pay totally wrong and again mentioned that presidents raise money as part of the job.

Board of Trustees Chair Linscheid took time out to share a sports report about CSU Chico. As CSUEU Vice President for Representation Alisandra Brewer put it, Rome burns but at least his team won.

Linscheid also introduced and welcomed the two new Trustees attending their first meeting. Lupe Garcia stated she was taking everything in and looked forward to serving. Hugo Morales taught in the 70's in La Raza Studies at CSU Fresno and cited his history of working with campus president Welty.


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