Tuesday, July 12, 2011

$400,000 Salary Riles Governor But Not at Stem Cell Agency

High public salaries made the news again today in California. And again it involves a $400,000 pay package but not at the California stem cell agency.

This time it involves San Diego State University. Gov. Jerry Brown says the school, which has 35,000 students and a $794 million operational budget, doesn't need to pay $400,000 for a new, fulltime president. Ironically, Brown and other state officials nominated a man who is being paid $400,000-a-year for part-time (80 percent) work as the new chairman of the California stem cell agency, which has an operational budget of $18 million and a staff of about 50.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Brown wrote the California State University trustees, who are considering the salary today,
"I fear your approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service that we cannot afford."
He continued,
"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."
The point in all this salary hooha is not whether the chairman of CIRM or San Diego State really deserves the salary. It is how it is perceived by large segments of the public, in this case, including the governor. In the case of CIRM, the salary flap is also likely to have an impact on its ability to pass another multibillion dollar state bond measure to continue its existence.

We are querying the governor's office about how it squares the San Diego state salary letter with Brown's nomination for CIRM chair. So far, the governor's office has failed to answer other, earlier queries concerning Brown's role in the CIRM chair nomination process.

For out-of-state readers, the California State University system is separate from the University of California.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:34 AM

    HYPOCRISY???Newsom and Brown sure support the public’s perception that politicians are slimy. Consider the political position these two take: A back room deal supporting a $400,000 salary for a part time Chair of CIRM (when there's an arguably more qualified candidate in Frank Litvack who would serve as Chair for a "public service minded" and "politically correct" salary of $123,000) and an open public forum where they argue that $400,000 for a much larger job, requiring many more talents than "bond financing" be considered egregious. Who is egregious here?