Three seats remain empty on the UC Board of Regents after one member was not confirmed by the state senate and another two members’ 12-year terms came to a close at the end of February.
Appointing individuals to fill any vacancies on the board is the responsibility of Gov. Jerry Brown, but currently, there is no official timeline or estimate for when Brown will fill the three spots.
“There is no specific deadline to fill these vacancies, and Governor Brown continues to seek out the best, most qualified candidates for the positions,” said Brown spokesperson Sam Chiu in an email.
When asked if it was normal for a governor to take this amount of time in appointing new board members, Chiu said the focus on finding the best possible candidates ultimately dictates the timing of the process.
The potential appointments come at an important time for Brown, whose November tax initiative may or may not be endorsed by the regents. At the regents’ meeting in March, UC President Mark Yudof called on the board to support Brown’s initiative and said he would present a proposal to the regents to endorse the initiative at a future meeting.
If the tax initiative fails, Brown has said the university may be faced with an additional $200 million in cuts. But Chiu said the initiative “plays absolutely no role whatsoever” in appointing new members.
The first vacancy on the board opened after David Crane failed to obtain the state Senate’s confirmation within a year in December.
Crane, who previously worked at a multibillion dollar investment firm and was one of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top economic advisors, became a controversial figure on the board over his position on public employees’ collective bargaining rights, although Crane maintains that this was misrepresented.
The two other empty seats became vacant at the end of Odessa Johnson’s and George Marcus’s 12-year terms in February — both were appointed by former Gov. Gray Davis.
At full capacity, the board operates with 18 members and one student regent, although a minimum of nine members are needed to hold a regularly scheduled meeting.
The next meeting will take place in Sacramento May 15, 16 and 17, where the regents will participate in a rally to support public higher education.
Jessica Rossoni covers higher education.