Some State Lawmakers Seek More Control of UC System

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
A group of state lawmakers is introducing measures that would require the University of California to answer more directly to the legislature.  They say the UC system isn’t accountable to taxpayers.  UC officials disagree.
Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports...

Los Angeles area democratic assemblyman Anthony Portantino is the author of one of the bills.  He says it would require the UC Board of Regents to provide lawmakers with more information about salaries.  Portantino says in the past lawmakers have passed non-binding resolutions urging UC to do this but they’ve been ignored... 
“You’ve had an opportunity University of California to self-police.  You’ve had an opportunity to embrace oversight to embrace transparency to embrace good government and you’ve not done that...”
Portantino says his bill is a constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to pass legislation that affects UC fiscal policy. Right now they can’t do that.
But, UC office of the President spokesman Pete King says UC doesn’t need more oversight from lawmakers... 
“UC is working. It’s still a world-class operation.  It’s still able to attract top leaders to its campuses.  Even though its an easily verifiable fact that we compensate them well below the national average for comparable institutions...”
Democrat Leland Yee of San Francisco is the author of a similar bill in the senate.  Both would require a two-thirds vote by the legislature before voters would have their say on next year’s ballot.    

Another, related bill by Yee would ban California State University Trustees from giving out pay raises and bonuses when state funding has been cut for their system.