NO MORE $100,000 RAISES: BILL WOULD LIMIT SALARIES OF CSU PRESIDENTSBy Dave Wielenga
Responding to the $400,000 salary recently awarded to the incoming president of San Diego State—over widespread objections led by the governor and at the same meeting where tuition was again sharply increased—state Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) has introduced a bill that would limit the salaries that California State University trustees can pay to campus presidents.
A press release from Lieu’s office in Sacramento provided the parameters of Senate Bill X1 26—introduced as part of the Senate’s special session to address fiscal issues—and left no doubt that the legislation is motivated by Lieu’s frustration with the CSU trustees.
“They have not listened to my call to reverse the pay hike,” Lieu is quoted in the press release. “I’m pushing to limit salaries to a reasonable level of compensation.”
The $400,000 salary bestowed upon San Diego State president Elliott Hirshman—a first-time university president and a newcomer to the CSU system—represents a $100,000-a-year increase over the pay of his predecessor.
“I believe a $100,000 annual raise … was unreasonable,” Lieu said in the release, “especially while tuition fees for students were increased by 12 percent.”
According to the release, Lieu’s bill has three goals:
• CSU trustees cannot pay campus presidents more than 150 percent of the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court unless approved by the governor. The chief justice earns $228,856. Under Lieu’s bill, the pay for campus presidents would be limited to $343,269.
• CSU trustees cannot approve any pay hikes or bonuses if a student tuition increase has occurred within three years.
• When hiring a campus president, CSU trustees must give first preference to applicants within the CSU system. Secondary consideration will then be given to California residents. Out-of-state residents would be given last priority.
Lieu’s SBX1 26 is awaiting assignment to a policy-review committee, which is expected to occur within the next week. If approved and signed into law, it would take effect 90 days after the end of session because it is part of the special fiscal session.
(MORE TO COME)