UC Board of Regents approves chancellor, executive compensation increases

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SAN FRANCISCO — At its meeting Thursday, the UC Board of Regents approved compensation increases for several chancellors and executives in the UC Office of the President in addition to approving a new policy for chancellor compensation.

The board passed a salary increase for the chancellors of five UC campuses, including 20-percent increases for UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UC Merced. These changes reflect a new policy adjusting the compensation of chancellors to remain competitive with comparable institutions. The board also postponed a decision to authorize the university president to approve the appointment and compensation of athletic director and coach positions without approval from the board.

UC Irvine’s chancellor, Howard Gillman, will have a base salary of $485,000 — more than $80,000 more than his predecessor. This makes him the second-highest paid chancellor among the undergraduate UC campuses after Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of UC Berkeley, who is paid $501,404.

Under the new policy for the compensation of chancellors, the president would use the Association of American Universities’ salary comparisons as well as “other relevant indicators” to monitor chancellor pay and to recommend adjustments when a chancellor’s salary is no longer competitive.

All of the university’s chancellors are paid less than the average compensation of heads of public universities in the AAU: $712,606. Dirks’ annual compensation ranks 50th among university leaders in the AAU. The president of the University of Chicago, ranked first, is paid more than $3.3 million annually.

The chancellor of UC Riverside’s campus will also receive a salary increase of 5.1 percent. In the list of AAU institutions, the salaries of UC undergraduate-campus chancellors are ranked 50th to 64th. Five are among the top 10 public universities, according to the U.S. News and World Report.

“We are so far off the chart that it will take a little while — a glide path, as it were — to put us where I think the UC should be,” said UC President Janet Napolitano at the meeting.

The salary of the CEO of UC Irvine’s medical center was increased, and a total of more than $1.2 million in incentive awards was granted to four UC Office of the President officials.

The appointment of Nathan Brostrom as executive vice president, chief financial officer and interim chief operating officer was also confirmed at the meeting. His salary will remain at $412,000.

The regents approved a 3-percent salary increase for top executives, including chancellors, in July.

The board also debated a proposal to give the university president authority over the appointment and compensation of some coach and athletic positions.

Under the proposal, the UC president would approve new contracts for some highly paid positions or delegate that responsibility to the chancellors of individual campuses, eliminating the need for approval by the regents.

Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California, was concerned about relinquishing authority to review decisions such as UCLA’s $18.2-million contract with basketball coach Steve Alford.

“For us to say that’s all (the president’s responsibility) when we’re having conversations today about 20-percent increases in chancellor contracts?” he asked at the meeting. “There may be benefits to flexibility, but I think the timing is just off.”

Regent Monica Lozano held the proposal due to the concerns expressed by some members of the board.

Sahil Chinoy covers higher education. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @sahilchinoy_dc.