Bill targets UC, CSU execs’ raises

If students at state universities such as Cal Poly have to pay more in tuition, no university executive should get a raise, according to a bill introduced Friday by a state senator.

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, proposed legislation to prohibit pay raises for top university administrators for at least two years when student fees are increased or during bad budget years.

The bill also proposes a ban on allowing new executives to receive more than 5 percent of their predecessor’s pay.

The bill is proposed for the University of California and California State University systems.

“Time and time again, rather than protecting the needs of students and California families, the (UC regents) and (CSU board of trustees) line their pockets of their top executives,” Yee said in a statement. “While these public administrators are making more than the president of the United States, many Californians are struggling. We deserve better.”

Cal State University spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said that he hadn’t reviewed the bill yet. But he said the university system needs flexibility in hiring without pay restrictions.

“We need to be able to search for and recruit the best candidates for executive positions,” Uhlenkamp said.

Uhlenkamp said CSU presidents haven’t received pay hikes since 2007. No other university employee group has had a raise, across the board, since 2008.

Yee has been critical of the type of contract that new Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong signed when he was hired by the CSU last year.

Armstrong’s package includes an annual salary of $350,000 with an additional annual supplement of $30,000 to be paid from the campus foundation.

Armstrong’s pay is roughly 13 percent higher than what Cal Poly President Warren Baker earned before his retirement.

Baker, at 72, was the highest-paid president in the CSU system with a salary of $328,209 after three decades on the job.

Yee also criticized a $400,000 salary award that the CSU offered last year to the new president of San Diego State, Elliot Hirshman. That amount was at least $100,000 more than his predecessor received. That year the CSU board of trustees raised tuition by 12 percent.

CSU tuition has increased each year since 2006 — jumping from $2,520 to $5,472. Fees specific to Cal Poly make the local university’s tuition for undergraduates $7,911 this year.

Uhlenkamp said that a subcommittee has been compiling a list of comparable university institutions nationwide and the executive pay at those schools.

The subcommittee is expected to discuss its comparisons at a board of trustees meeting Jan. 25.

Uhlenkamp said the job of executives has become increasingly demanding with budget shortfalls and more pressure to raise funds.