Brown slams CSU on pay packages

Steven Greenhut:

Here is a letter Gov. Jerry Brown sent to Herbert Carter, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the California State University:

Dear Mr. Carter,

As this Board well knows, California is still struggling to overcome the effects of the great recession which forced tens of billions of dollars in state budget cuts.

The state university system has been particularly hard hit with painful sacrifices on the part of faculty and students alike. As trustees, you have to make tough calls and strive as best you can to protect our proud system of higher education.

It is in this context, and prompted by the salary decision you are about to make today, that I write to express my concern about the ever-escalating pay packages awarded to your top administrators. 

I fear your approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service that we cannot afford.

I have reviewed the Mercer compensation study and have reflected on its market premises, which provide the justification for your proposed salary boost of more than $100,000. The assumption is that you cannot find a qualified man or woman to lead the university unless paid twice that of the Chief Justice of the United States. I reject this notion. 

At a time when the state is closing its courts, laying off public school teachers and shutting senior centers, it is not right to be raising the salaries of leaders who–of necessity–must demand sacrifice from everyone else. 

These are difficult times and difficult choices must be made. I ask that you rethink the criteria for setting administrators’ salaries. 

With respect,

Edmund G. Brown Jr.

This is good. Now Brown needs to write to his union allies about the excessive pensions their members receive, especially to the police and fire unions that support him. Brown believes there’s nothing that can be cut, which is why he lobbies for higher taxes. But even he is acknowledging here that there are many ways that the state government wastes money. Basically, the public works for the government — to support the outrageous pay and benefit packages enjoyed by the servants who are now our masters.

JULY 12


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