Gov. Jerry Brown’s appointee to board of trustees refused by state senate

Melissa Simon

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Herbert Carter, Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent appointee to the CSU’s board of trustees, was refused reappointment from the State Senate Feb. 28.

There has been debate surrounding Carter’s appointment because he has made some controversial decisions over the course of his career with the board, according to state senator Joel Anderson.

In a letter to Brown, state Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, voiced his concern in appointing Carter for another term.

“Since 1984, Herbert Carter has been near the center of every CSU pay-hike scandal,” Anderson wrote in this letter. “The CSU trustees don’t seem to understand that their ‘compromise’ of setting a CSU’s president’s pay at $325,000 is insulting to California students, parents and taxpayers.”

The topic of salary and tuition increase was brought up “quite a bit,” during the Rules Committee’s discussion to approve Carter for reappointment, said Mark Hedlund, press secretary for state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

“It was a decision many did not agree with,” Hedlund said. “Overall, he has been doing a good job.”

Carter does not cast a vote when the board makes a decision. In the case of the raise, he was simply the chair when a new president started at San Diego State, according to Mike Uhlenkamp, director of media relations and new media for the CSU system, clarified that as chair of the board.

“(We) had to raise tuition because of the (state budget) cuts from 2007, and, in terms of leadership, it was a difficult decision. But without it, there would have been students turned away,” Uhlenkamp said. “As unfortunate as it is, it means others can get in.”

Brown’s office could not be reached on the matter, but Uhlenkamp speculated the governor realized the leadership that Carter brought to the CSU and the board of trustees.

“The fact that he was not reappointed is unfortunate,” Uhlenkamp said. “As someone with 40 plus years of experience, he had a lot of values.”

Hedlund echoed Uhlenkamp’s sentiments about Carter being denied for another term.

“We appreciate his service with the CSU and are disappointed that he was not reappointed, but sometimes that is life in the Capitol,” Hedlund said.

Anderson, on the other hand, felt that this was the right decision.

“Carter’s confirmation was being opposed because of his history of approving outrageous pay hikes,” said Anderson. “I’m not entirely sure why Gov. Brown appointed Mr. Carter since it was the Gov. who said to Carter: ‘I fear your approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service we cannot afford.’”

Carter’s career began with the CSU in 1974, when he held the position of systemwide affirmative action officer in the Office of the Chancellor, according to the board of trustees biography page.

There are a total of 25 trustees on the board, 16 of which are appointed by Brown, Uhlenkamp said. At the end of their service, each trustee is up for reappointment, and has one calendar year to be approved for another term.

Five of the remaining nine members are ex officio: the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the assembly, state superintendent of public instruction and the chancellor, according to the CSU’s page about the board of trustees. The CSU Statewide Alumni Council appoints the alumni trustee and the governor appoints a faculty trustee and two student trustees.

“The Senate votes on the reappointment and a two-thirds vote is required,” Uhlenkamp said. “The democratic side agreed and wanted to appoint Carter for his second year, but the Republican side did not agree to appoint him for various reasons.”

The Rules Committee approved Carter by a vote of 3-1, which is why his appointment was sent to the Senate floor for approval, Hedlund said.

“The Republicans openly said that they were not going to reappoint Carter, so the Democrats did not even bring up reappointment to the Senate because it would not have gotten the necessary two-thirds,” Hedlund said.

Anderson said that he was going to vote against Carter’s reappointment if it had been presented.

“The Senate President Pro Tem chose not to bring Mr. Carter’s confirmation vote up on the Senate floor,” said Anderson. “I planned to vote against his confirmation because it was absolutely inappropriate to approve massive pay-hikes leaving students to pay the bill through higher tuition.”

As of now, there are currently three seats open on the board. According to Uhlenkamp, the Governor will make the appointment and there will then be a one-year window for that person to be confirmed.

“(We) do not know how long the process will take or when the seats will be filled,” Uhlenkamp said. “There does not necessarily need to be all 25 members on the board.”