State senator introduces bill aimed at freezing UC executive pay

Related Posts

Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill to UC campuses this Monday that would prohibit pay raises for executive officers during budget crises or student fee increases.

The bill, known as SB 8, would prohibit the UC and CSU systems from increasing monetary compensation or approving bonuses for executive officers — including campus chancellors and presidents — until a minimum of two years have passed since the last systemwide fee increase.

Additionally, the bill seeks to prevent executive officer salary raises during years in which state funding to the UC and CSU systems has decreased or remained the same as it was the previous year.

“Raises need to be prohibited,” said Adam Keigwin, Yee’s chief of staff. “(Yee) believes that if you go to a public university like a UC or CSU, you shouldn’t need to get rich.”

According to Keigwin, pay increases for executive officers have been an issue of much concern to Yee for a while. In 2009, Yee introduced SB 86 — a similar bill that passed through the state Legislature but was vetoed by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2012, he introduced SB 967, which the Senate Education Committee failed in March.

Darius Kemp, UC Student Association spokesperson, said that the organization has not decided where it stands on the bill but that the association has supported the bills Yee has proposed in the past.

“It is more of an image of the (UC) system,” said Kemp. “The system cannot be seen as increasing student tuition regularly and then also doling out pay increases to executive officers.”

UC spokesperson Dianne Klein said the university has opposed such bills in the past because they could restrict its ability to compete for top administrators at a time when campuses are experiencing major budget reductions.

“The two most recently appointed chancellors — at UC San Diego and UC Berkeley — took pay cuts from what they were making at private universities, where each served as a dean,” said Klein in an email.

Last week, the UC Board of Regents approved an annual base salary of $486,800 for incoming UC Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks, a $50,000 increase from the current base salary of his predecessor, Robert Birgeneau.

Keigwin said the Senate Policy Committee will review the bill in the first week of January.

Contact Alyssa Neumann at [email protected].

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy
  • guest

    “The two most recently appointed chancellors — at UC San Diego and UC Berkeley — took pay cuts from what they were making at private universities, where each served as a dean,” said Klein in an email.

    Dirks was Vice President at Columbia, not merely Dean. You think the Daily Cal would have caught that one.

  • AverageCA

    It’s really odd that a state senator like Yee would first starve the University of funds it desperately needs to educate the senators’ constituents, and then try to deprive the University of a further opportunity to attract top talent to lead a beleaguered but unbelievably successful organization by restricting exec compensation. These people work their ASSES off, and no one gets rich off of $500k/yr. It’s a lot of money, yes, but you are not going to get wealthy on that money. You run an organization with 50,000 souls depending on you. It’s worth $500k. The CEO of a private company that size would be making like $30 million.

    • GeometricMeanCA

      We should be hiring people who do the job because they enjoy it and want to do it, not because they are attracted to the money that it brings. I think that someone willing to do a hard job for little pay will probably be more committed and engaged than someone who needed a fat pay incentive to do it.

      And honestly, my “soul” does not depend on the chancellor. And if we at universities still believe in things like “souls” we have far bigger problems lol.

      • I_h8_disqus

        We shouldn’t be hiring people just because they enjoy the job and want to do it. That is a very simplistic way of looking at your employees that ignores the competing jobs available that candidates would also like, and it is a mindset that will affect the quality of the people you hire. Compensation is a very important factor to ensure that we get the top quality. It won’t be the only factor, but you can’t bring top talent from other high paying jobs into a job that doesn’t pay. The large nonprofits have all recognized that they need more than just altruistic candidates, and that is why they also compensate highly for their executives. Unfortunately, people are pretty simple minded, like Yee, and that is going to eventually result in Cal being nothing more than an average university as talented executives and professors go to other universities or jobs that pay them while they get to work at a job they want.

        • Guest

          “We shouldn’t be hiring people just because they enjoy the job and want to do it.”

          I stopped at this pointed and laughed. Now I realize the strange world you people live in…good luck with your job, which I assume is deeply unsatisfying and useless to you.

          • I_h8_disqus

            It is time to stop laughing, and to start thinking. It is so disappointing when Cal students are unable to reason, and go with a simple unfocused occupy mindset. Your place at Cal could have gone to a qualified under represented minority.

          • Guest

            “people shouldn’t be hired just because they enjoy the work and want to do it”

            You already said this, and I already laughed at it. Imagine someone who is doing a job and doesn’t enjoy it. Or doesn’t want to do it. Then imagine them working for you. Then imagine that you have had to pay them a large amount of money so that they will do the job that they don’t enjoy and don’t want to do.

            It’s stupid. Get someone who actually appreciates what they do, not someone in it for the money. And really, let’s not get all ad hominem up in this hizzle because I am a physics major intending to go to grad school, so unless you are in pure math or condensed particle physics, your job will probably require fewer skills. So I win.

          • I_h8_disqus

            I already said it, but you don’t understand it. Executives working at universities already show that they like what they do, because they have worked so hard to get where they are. You seem to not notice that the words “just because”. There is so much more you need to look at in a candidate than liking what they do. And being a physics major doesn’t mean you have any skill to talk about hiring executives. Being a physics person doesn’t mean you can understand other areas, as you inability to understand that it takes more than liking a job to be good at it. You might know physics, but you are not showing that you know anything in the macro world.

          • Guest

            I never said that liking a job meant you were good at it, my point was that wanting a job because it pays a lot of money doesn’t mean that you’re good at it either. So instead of forking over tons of money to entice people who are good at the job but don’t like it enough to do it with a reasonable salary, we should hire people who are good at the job and actually appreciate it in itself and not for the selfish monetary gain they associate with it. Whatever, I’m a physicsist. I’m going to go and figure out how the universe works while you try to make money doing…something…during your cosmically infinitesimal existence.

          • I_h8_disqus

            There isn’t any need to fork over tons of money. We just need to compensate fairly instead of thinking that we can under pay and still get the best candidates. We can get great executives by finding people with the drive, desire, and skills for the job. They will choose our position, because we provide a job and level of compensation that will keep them from going to another job.
            I hope you enjoy figuring out how the universe works. Just don’t go down that rabbit hole of theory that can’t be proven. We have lost too many physicists to the study of areas like string theory.

          • I_8_disqus

            Your arguments completely omit the possibility of thinking through exactly what tasks each position needs to accomplish, eliminating or consolidating positions in the process, and using the savings to raise the salaries of the remaining positions.

            A lot of these administrators have tasks, but they are hardly needed. The organization has become so insular that the people in it have determined that the best strategy is to not rock the boat and not make decisions, which prevents them from exercising the actual power(s) associated with their position(s), which in turn generates requests for more people and more resources to get anything done, with the side effect of less actual work and more “managing” for the administrators.

            So you can talk all you want about how money is necessary to attract talent, but no amount of money will attract real talent to THIS administration because anyone with talent can see how dysfunctional it is. Talented people will stay away because they know they will not be able to get anything done until numerous people are eliminated and until there is a reduced-size organization that can actually make and execute its own decisions.

            In general, this is also why talented people should avoid government bureaucracies or dysfunctional corporate environments.

          • I_h8_disqus

            Your points would also indicate that there wouldn’t be any candidate that would enjoy being an administrator. So we can’t hire based just on someone liking the work either.

            However, I don’t think your point is completely valid. There are people out there who enjoy and are capable of turning around bad businesses. We should make sure that we get someone like this. You will need to offer money to make sure that you get both, because if you don’t offer money, the person could just go to a job that does offer money. There is a lot of competition out there for capable people.

    • physics-and-baccarat

      I’m not sure. When I met with a dean in L&S last year (after painstakingly arranging an appointment through the miserable know-nothing L&S “advisers” who don’t even know what a GRE is and waiting two weeks), he complained that he rarely met students these days and that the people further up the chain of command had almost no communication with him let alone the students.

      Much like how our legislature is decoupled from the interests of the people, the UC upper-level management is decoupled from the students.

      So is it no wonder that strange incidents happen, like the conflict of interest last year? While UC is certainly running on a shoestring budget and I’m glad Prop. 30 passed, UC does have wastage and it’s not on the student or faculty front. It’s in the upper management that has become so detached from student interest that they don’t care if they increase their salaries.

      We do need to examine the UC structure very critically.

      • aet7s

        I do agree that UC should continuously be re-evaluating itself. However, top level management like Dirks is usually hired to cultivate revenue through donations from wealthy alumni, local/international organizations or interest groups, as well as raise the positive PR surrounding the school. They have little, if any, contact with students. Simply put, it is not in their job to hold the hand of some undergrad or grad student, but rather ensure that said student can come to an operational Cal.

        What physics-and-baccarat addresses is much more troubling – deans and advisers ARE in fact hired to be the point-of-contact for students and help them transitioned either into the working world or into graduate studies.

        The reality is that Cal has brilliant faculty, but that many of the administrators have been here far too long and have lost touch with the real world, the students and fulfilling the job they were hired for. It’s incredibly difficult to terminate anyone in the UC system for anything other than gross misconduct, and even then, it’s no cake-walk.

  • I_h8_disqus

    Yee is an idiot. Of course, state senator is pretty much synonymous with idiot. His ideas just hurt public education. Instead of punishing the executives when the legislature cuts funding to schools, we should punish the legislators. Every time there is a school budget crisis or the legislature decreases funding, then we should cut the salaries of the legislature. They should feel the pain of their actions.

    • libsrclowns

      Freeze rents, freeze exec pay…promote unintended consequences now!!

      Freeze all except government spending says the true blue LIBTARD.

      • Nunya Beeswax

        Executive pay at UC is government spending, goofball.