Nanette Asimov

Heralding what the University of California regents promise will be a new era of pay increases at the public university, the governing board gave 20 percent raises Thursday to their three lowest-paid chancellors – with some regents expressing regret that they could give so little. The lone “no” vote came from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a regent, who opposed the raises without comment.

The salary increases came a day after finance executives told the regents at their meeting in San Francisco that academic quality is in jeopardy, thanks to years of budget shortfalls. They said UC lacks the funds to keep the student-faculty ratio from rising, replace aging technology, close salary gaps for faculty and staff, and address other “unmet needs related to graduate and undergraduate education.”

The regents raised the base salary of chancellors Dorothy Leland of UC Merced and George Blumenthal of UC Santa Cruz to $383,160 from $319,300. They raised UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang’s base salary to $389,340 from $324,450.

The regents also gave a 5.1 percent raise to another chancellor, Kim Wilcox of UC Riverside, boosting his base pay to $383,160 from $364,620.

“At first I was concerned about how this will look to the general public,” said Regent Bonnie Reiss, who serves on the compensation committee. But she said she changed her mind after recalling that UC Irvine lost its chancellor, Michael Drake, last year when he quit to run Ohio State University, where the base pay was $851,303, the nation’s highest for a public university.

“We’re starting today with our lowest-paid chancellors, but the Board of Regents feels it’s still not enough,” she added.

The higher pay is “correcting injustices” done to the chancellors, whose base salaries are the lowest of the 62 leading research universities – including 26 top private universities – that make up the Association of American Universities, said Regent Russell Gould, who also serves on the compensation committee.

Salaries below average
The 10 UC chancellors’ base salaries average 7 percent lower than the chancellors’ at the 28 other public universities on the list. The gap widens to 24 percent when compared against the seven universities without medical centers, a lucrative source of income. The gap rises to 45 percent when UC is compared with the 26 private universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and New York University, whose president was the highest paid on the list with a base salary of more than $1.2 million.

“This is just the first stage of remedying what has been a problem,” Gould said. “Within the next six months (UC President Janet Napolitano) will come back to address what are internal inconsistencies” compared with the pay at other universities. “World-class institutions require world-class leadership.”

Labor union representatives said later they were aghast at the pay increases.

“At a time when resources are needed to prevent tuition hikes and perform much needed safety maintenance, huge raises for UC’s highest paid executives sends the wrong message about UC’s priorities to the public we are here to serve,” said Todd Stenhouse, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, the union for custodians, food and health care workers and other lower paid employees.

At the meeting, Regent Norman Pattiz said he would support the pay increase reluctantly “because I think it’s wholly inadequate based upon the results (the chancellors) have delivered.”

He did not elaborate on those results. Instead, Pattiz turned to UCLA’s Chancellor Gene Block, who was not among those to get a raise Thursday, and thanked him for his patience while he waits for his promised raise. Block’s pay – $428,480 – “in other businesses would be ridiculous,” Pattiz said.

Hopes for all staff
At this point, Donna Coyne, associate director of admissions at UC Santa Barbara and staff adviser to the regents, spoke up.

“I wanted to point out that the issues are not dissimilar for all staff,” Coyne said. “I hope the regents will look at doing this for all staff.”

Mary Gilly, the faculty representative to the regents, said she echoed Coyne’s point for faculty.

Regent Dick Blum reassured her.

“It may start with the chancellors, but it certainly won’t end there,” he said.

[Source]: SF Gate