As Furloughs Begin, Another UC Executive Compensation Debate


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(Berkeley, CA)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Last week, the UC Board of Regents approved furloughs for all university employees –top to bottom. At that same meeting, officials disclosed that over the last few months, about two dozen top executives were hired at salary levels greater than their predecessors ... or given stipends or promotions for taking on new duties. The University Professional and Technical Employees union pointed the compensation records out to reporters. Jelger Kalmijn is the union’s president.
 
Kalmijn: “This, for us, is really a kick in the face, from a UC president who is making twice what his predecessor made – nearly a million dollars a year.”
 
The union is frustrated with how the university is handling labor talks – and upset over the furloughs. Members are taking a strike vote this week. Kalmijn says the perks for executives make matters worse.
 
Kalmijn: “Our workers who are already paid 20 to 30 percent under market rates and are extremely dedicated to working at the university, should feel it’s OK for us to take a cut while he and his peers keep handing out the perks. It’s unconscionable.”
 
King: “There’s about 25 or 26 of these cases, and each one has a different back story.”
 
UC spokesman Peter King says some execs got promoted to new positions. Others are taking on extra responsibilities. For example, he says, at the UC San Francisco Medical Center, three officials are splitting up the duties of a fourth position that’s being left unfilled after the previous official left. He says that’ll save the university more than a hundred thousand dollars.
 
King: “Nobody in any of these scenarios that we’re talking about is getting paid more money to do the same thing. These are all people who are taking on different, greater duties than they had before.”
 
Both the UC and California State University systems have come under fire in the past for what their critics call excessive executive compensation.