California state organization leaders banded together Tuesday at a Sacramento press conference to urge the governor to sign two proposed bills that would require the CSU and UC executives to notify the public of increased wages and benefits.
Proposed Senate Bill 190 would subject the Board of Trustees to the Bagley-Keene Act that requires timely notification to the public of agenda items and discussion topics. Assembly Bill 1413 seeks to “improve public dialogue, accountability and oversight of the CSU administration and Board of Trustees by placing restrictions on some executive compensation payments” and to “ensure the executive contracts are made public.”
Both bills were introduced in February. AB 1413 was approved by the State Senate on Sept. 11 and now awaits the governor’s signature for approval.
“Legislature has already done the right thing,” said Paula Caplinger, California Teacher Association Board Member. “(Trustees) need to be transparent in decision making and no more sweetheart deals behind closed doors. Do the right thing.”
“The California State University opposes AB 1413,” Clara Potes-Fellow, spokesperson for the CSU system, said. “The bill is duplicative and unnecessary.”
“Executive salaries are discussed and approved in public meetings and the CSU posts public meetings notices 10 days before meetings and provides opportunities for public comment,” Potes-Fellow said.
“CSU and UC executives have forgotten the mission of California higher education,” said Jon Skiles with the State Employee’s Trades Council and a builder at San Francisco State University.
Skiles said the funding for maintenance and classes have been cut leaving “students crowded in poorly maintained facilities” and “students competing for classes.”
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino said the Board of Trustees justified their actions by needing to attract people to these positions and often noted a 46 percent pay difference between CSU executives and other schools.’
“We don’t have vacancies to point to, to say we need to attract others,” Portantino said. “If you want to attract others, don’t give more to those you want to replace.”
Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, said she was “outraged by the most recent antics” by the Board of Trustees and “without batting an eye” gave up to a 12 percent raise to the top 28 executives.
“Student fees have nearly doubled,” Taiz said. “And the budget indicates more fee increases will be in the future.”
Taiz also cited that the Chancellor now makes more than the President of the U.S. according to a recent county document CSU executives make more than Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Superior Court Judges, County Assessor and Superior Court Commissioners.
Sen. Leland Yee and Portantino proposed the bills. Representatives from the CSU Employees Union, State Employee’s Trades Council, University of California Student Association and California State Student Association were present. Yee was late to the press conference, but was available at the end for comment.
Taiz said the CFA funded television and Internet advertising in support of the bill, but did not know the cost of the advertising. The commercials will run only in cable television in the Sacramento area, but the ad can be viewed on www.signab1413.com. The ads will run until the governor signs the bills.
Do you have more to say than a comment? Want any feedback from the writer? Story ideas? Click on The Gripevine.