Tag Archives: CSU Presidents’ Pay

Failure is Success: Charlie Reed Cited for Leadership Abilities

In an act of supreme irony TIAA-CREF last week awarded CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed the 2012 TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, “one of the most prestigious honors in academic stewardship” according to a press release from the Chancellor’s Office.

Maybe Charlie Reed is equally astonished that he was awarded for his leadership.

Stephanie Bell-Rose the head of the TIAA-CREF Institute cited Reed for his “remarkable, collaborative leadership styles reinforce the need to build bridges both within an institution and throughout the surrounding community.”

I am not exactly sure with whom they consulted in making this award, but faculty surely were not in the mix. Everything that I have learned about the Chancellor in my five years working in the CSU suggests that his lack of collaboration has failed to build bridges, at least bridges with the faculty and students (two groups often thought to be important in a university).

Indeed, much of this blog has focused on his shortcomings as a leader in an educational institution.

Reed’s inability to deal respectfully and forthrightly with faculty is well documented. The California Faculty Association is headed toward a strike vote that would be completely unnecessary if the Chancellor had vision and leadership skills.

His lack of  “concern” for students is illustrated by his treatment of students at a Board of Trustees meeting and repeated tuition and fee increases while failing to address problems of administrative bloat in the CSU. How is it that a university can spend only 35% of its budget on direct instruction and get away with it?

The one thing the Chancellor has been truly good at is advocating (often overly vehemently) for pay increases for campus presidents. Ultimately he got what he wanted: The beginnings of a series of pay increases for his campus presidents (that will ultimately result in a raise for himself–just as his golden parachute opens).

Failure is success. Frankly, it is almost Orwellian.

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Limiting CSU Presidents’ Pay: Proposed SB 755

News comes today of SB 755. Sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu the proposal would cap CSU Campus Presidents’ pay at 150% of the salary of a California State Supreme Court Justice.  If the proposal passed today a CSU President would be entitled to a top salary of $343,269. Pay increases for campus presidents could not occur until three years after a tuition increase, and must occur during an open session of the Board of Trustees.

I support limiting the salaries of top executives in the CSU. I am pleased to see our legislators begin to take this issue seriously.

A few things occur to me about the proposed legislation based on the Senator’s description (I have not seen the text of the legislation).

  • Why link salaries to State Supreme Court Justices? It seems to me that a Campus President’s salary should be linked to some feature of his or her campus. As I argued months ago, linking presidents’ salaries to a measure of faculty salary would set a salary cap at a reasonable level and minimize the soaring inequality between faculty salaries and presidential salaries.
  • Salary versus Total Compensation. There is a difference between salary and total compensation. Currently CSU Campus Presidents are salaried and receive an allowance for housing and for a car. In addition to their benefits (e.g. health and dental insurance) their average total compensation already exceeds $300,000. It seems to me that the cap should be on total compensation; otherwise the Board can simply provide additional “benefits” to skirt the pay cap.
  • Limit the Chancellor’s Salary Too. According to the proposal as described, the CSU Chancellor’s salary would be exempted. The limitation only applies to a president who governs a single campus; this does not apply to the Chancellor.
  • Beware Fee Increases. The proposed three year ban on increases should include increases in tuition and fees. A creative Board and Chancellor could skirt the spirit of the law by increasing student costs by increasing only fees and ignoring tuition.

I commend Senator Lieu for his leadership on this issue. I hope we will see legislation this year that addresses this crucial issue.

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Chancellor Claus: Some of us have been better than others!

You may have missed this. I know that I did. Our “dear leader” (California State University Chancellor Charles Reed) with presents for everyone (but more presents for some!).

Apparently some of us have been better than others!

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Why Students and Faculty Rebel

The CSU Board of Trustees recently cancelled their December meeting. At the December meeting the Board was expected to consider recommendations regarding executive [read: campus presidents'] compensation. CSU Chancellor Charlie Reed and the Board approved large increases for campus presidents at San Diego State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo over the summer, and since then the Chancellor has been on a crusade to increase compensation for his other campus presidents.

At a Board meeting in November–during which the Board increased tuition once again–some attendees became unruly causing the Board to close the meeting, and voting for the tuition increase behind closed doors. In a letter distributed to CSU campuses the Chancellor claimed that:

…the protests became disruptive and resulted in personal injury to three California State University police officers and the arrest of four individuals. The glass entrance doors to the Chancellor’s Office were shattered. The damage to our building is estimated at $30,000.

His rant continued:

…demonstrations that turn disruptive and result in damage and injury are intolerable. The disrespect shown by several protestors was inexcusable.

The one issue that the Chancellor never seems to consider is this: Why? Why did the students turn to disruptive tactics? Why did the faculty choose to participate in a one day strike on November 17th, which he also referred to as a “disruption?”

Why people rebel has been the focus of students of politics for millenia. What students of rebellion agree on is this: Rebellion is not the first option of individuals; it is the last choice of people who feel that their grievances are not being taken seriously by political leaders.

Individuals are not likely to risk personal injury or arrest to promote collective interests except under the most dire of circumstances. The men who wrote the Declaration of Independence understood that much:

…all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Rebellion, revolution, protest, strikes: These are the last, desperate actions of individuals who are being ignored. It is not “hippies” and “troublemakers,” not “a few bad apples.”

Until the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees understand that protests and strikes are a symptom of a deeper dis-ease within the CSU, protests and strikes will continue to flare and even intensify. They will not become less destructive they will become more destructive.

Chancellor Reed, Trustee Hauck: Do not try to explain them away. That is not what effective leaders do.

Even the most casual student of American history knows that the Boston Tea Party–which was “disruptive” and led to “damage”–ended in the American Revolution. Why? Because King George failed to listen; he failed to hear and respond to the many, many grievances of the Colonials.

Repression also, ultimately, fails. Whether it is pepper spray or bullets and bombs, people rebel and win. Ask dictators like Mubarak, Gaddafhi, the Shah of Iran. Ask resistance leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr..

Chancellor Reed: CSU students, CSU faculty, CSU staff, the people of California are asking you, they are begging you to listen. You ignore their pleas at the great peril of the CSU.

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A Bottomless Pit of Idiocy

Oh it just could not last, could it? On Tuesday I posted a list of my top 10 favorite albums of all time. It was an attempt to divorce myself from the idiocy of the CSU leadership.

I tried.

But now comes this: More maneuvering by the Chancellor’s Office to raise the pay of campus presidents. The “leadership” is proposing some potential ideas for paying for the pay increases that the Chancellor so desperately wants for his presidents.

Among the ideas proposed are a 1 percent surcharge on such services as housing and parking, creating a fund where donors could chip in, and offering a CSU credit card for alumni in which a percentage of charges would go to presidential salaries.

In order to pay presidents more the Chancellor thinks it might be a good idea to charge faculty and students more for parking, and students more for housing (increases over and above the tuition increase he and the Board of Trustees just imposed). Perhaps that was what was behind his last offer to faculty in collective bargaining to remove the negotiated cap on the cost of faculty parking: “Let’s charge the faculty more for parking so that we can pay presidents!”

Why is it that the leadership cannot find a similar elan for finding ways to find funding to support academics, and raise the pay of staff and faculty? Well that is easily explained says CSU Spokesperson Claudia Keith:

Asked why these methods would be considered for executive pay but not for shoring up CSU’s cash-strapped academic program, Keith said it was less expensive to bolster the presidents than the entire faculty.
I explained this very logic in an earlier post. As I explained:

This is how administrator salaries rise incrementally. No single increase will break the system. No single act of holding the line will solve the problem. And so we can “afford” the increase! Brilliant.

More like a bottomless pit of idiocy.

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Who Wins and Who Loses?

This week faculty will take “concerted action” at the campuses of CSU Dominguez Hills and East Bay. What is at issue? A picture is worth a thousand words.

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The Charlie Chronicles: Values Edition

Leaders establish values for their organization. They structure policies to achieve those values, investing in initiatives that promote leadership values and ignoring strategies that do not promote their chosen values. In this edition of the Charlie Chronicles we look at Chancellor Reed’s values and how they are borne out through his policy choices.

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Charlie Reed Loses It…Over Executive Pay

In an interview with the student newspaper at Humboldt State during his recent visit CSU Chancellor Charlie Reed became irate when a student reporter asked him about the recent $100,000 raise for the new San Diego State University president. The question comes at about 4:35 of the video.

He tries to pin the public reaction on inaccurate media reportage (a common trick for politicos). “They never want to get anything right!” he yells, turning a special color of red. “Nobody has written the truth about that” he complains. Well, he is simply wrong.

He complains that the raise only involves $50,000 in state money. The other $50,000 comes from the SDSU Foundation. I am yet to read a story that does not explain that point. Critics of the raise, including myself, simply wonder whether a pay increase of any size, from any source, communicates “shared sacrifice.”

He then claims that the President of SDSU had not received a raise in “five years.” This is true. But between 2006 and 2007 the president received a $27,000 raise from 272,000 to $299,000.  Faculty in the CSU have not received a raise in four years and, given that the Chancellor is offering nothing for the next three either, we can count on no pay raise for seven years! Excuse me if I do not feel sorry for someone who already made more about four  times what the average faculty member makes.

Furthermore that $299,000 does not include the car and housing allowance that the president receives. As I like to point out my mortgage and car payments are the two biggest bills I pay every month. If someone else was paying those bills for me I would be pretty well off.

He concludes his rant by saying:

Students, faculty, staff, and community deserve the very best leadership I can possibly find, and you’re not going to get that for nothin’.

Stop me if I am wrong, but $299,000 is not “nothing” — that is more than a good living, especially when someone else is paying the two major bills that most households pay. If $299,000 is “nothing” then faculty are, on average, being paid about one-quarter of nothing.

The fact is that the compensation of CSU presidents is nowhere near as bleak as the Chancellor claims. His own consultants concluded that total compensation for CSU presidents is only 25% below market in our peer group (that’s not what he says in the interview–listen to him carefully).

If only the Chancellor could summon the same passion about how faculty, staff, and students have sacrificed. But he can’t.  While all the rest of us have suffered for the cause the top leadership in the CSU has feathered its nest very nicely indeed.

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Link CSU Presidents’ Salaries to Faculty Salaries

In today’s LA Times Professor of History J.E. Sefton rightly criticizes a reported proposal to link the salary of CSU Presidential salaries to campus graduation rates. Sefton argues that CSU Presidents have little to no influence over graduation rates. While the goal of graduating students in a timely manner is laudable, linking presidential salaries to graduation rates ignores the complex reasons why CSU graduation rates, at least on some campuses, are lagging.

In the spirit of offering constructive ideas I propose the following: Link CSU Presidential salaries to the average pay of full time, tenure track faculty on their campus. A CSU campus President should be paid no more than three times this average salary.  Given that the average salary for all tenure track faculty in the system is about $65,000, that results in a very reasonable $195,000 salary for the Presidents.

If the Chancellor would like to see the Presidents paid more he can accomplish the task quite simply: Increase faculty pay.

And, frankly, this proposal makes a lot more sense than linking to graduation rates; it is a lot more economically reasonable since it is linked to the value added by faculty and presidents.

Think about it for a second. If a campus president gets sick and cannot come into the office how many students miss out on class? Zero. Classes go on. Education is delivered.

What if a faculty member gets sick and cannot come in to campus to teach? How many students miss out on class? Dozens. In some cases hundreds of students are deprived what they paid for.

In which case are more economic resources squandered? Obviously the second. But we are still paying the Presidents four times more, which, it seems to me, is MORE THAN fair, all things considered.

Never let it be said that CSU faculty do not offer constructive ideas when it comes to labor relations.

Of course my proposal is inconsistent with the Chancellor’s current pay proposal for CSU faculty. The Chancellor proposes a ZERO percent pay increase for the 2011-2012 contract year. Over the following two years he  proposes contract language that will allow him to open the contract for REDUCTIONS in faculty pay and benefit.

So, at the same time that he proposes INCREASING pay for campus presidents he is proposing CUTS in faculty pay.

Thanks but no thanks, Charlie.

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