Commentary: U.C. Executive Pay Too High

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, May 15, 2009

Here’s an interesting phenomenon. Even during a major economic downturn and state budget crisis, executive pay at the University of California continues to go up and up and up.  I call it a supersized ratchet effect.

Here’s a prime example at UC Davis, in our backyard.  The current chancellor earns a base salary of $315,000 a year.  The incoming chancellor’s salary and perks will be more than half a million dollars.

This kind of lavish pay at a public university would be excessive even during flush times.  But during a bust, it is unconscionable.

Here’s more. The departing chancellor is taking a one-year leave before returning to the faculty. But instead of giving him a faculty sabbatical salary in his year off, UC will give him his executive salary of $315,000.

As the nation’s most prestigious public university system, UC ought to take a leadership role in driving the market to moderation – not following the herd over the cliff. They need to put a passion for public service back into our public university system – and bring executive pay back down to earth.


Pia Lopez writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.