Univ. of Cal. President Resigning in 2008

SAN FRANCISCO

Robert C. Dynes, the president of the University of California system who took responsibility for a pay scandal among top administrators, said Monday he plans to resign next year

Dynes’ tenure as head of the renowned public system began in October 2003 and will end June 2008, near the five-year mark he set for himself when he took the job. A physicist before taking charge of the 10-campus system, he plans to refocus on his superconductivity research and spend time with his new wife.

He said he was not pressured to leave because of the controversy over executive pay that clouded the last year of his tenure.

“I chose not to leave in the middle of that until we got it resolved,” he said at a press conference Monday. “I feel we’ve come through that.”

Under Dynes’ leadership, the university system overcame budget troubles and ensured future state funding by forging a deal with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, university officials said. It opened a new research campus in Merced and won three Department of Energy national laboratory management competitions.

The governor praised Dynes’ dedication to students and the state, saying Dynes “enhanced the prestige” of the UC system.

Dynes came under fire after top administrators were given millions in perks that included bonuses and housing allowances without proper disclosure to the public or to the system’s board of regents. The perks came at the same time student fees were raised significantly to offset state budget cuts.

University officials said their executives were paid less than their counterparts elsewhere, and the disparity made it hard to compete for top talent. Still, they acknowledged pay rules had been bent without authorization.

Audits found scores of abuses over the years. One audit found 113 cases where senior managers were given pay or benefits beyond those established in university policies.

Dynes accepted responsibility and gave up a raise in 2006, saying “the buck stops on my desk.” But three state lawmakers called for his resignation, Republican Sen. Abel Maldonado among the most vocal.

Maldonado said last year that UC regents were “thumbing their nose at taxpayers and students of California” and “sending a message that breaking rules is acceptable behavior at the University of California.” He said Monday there is an opportunity to hire someone “accountable to the taxpayer.”

Richard C. Blum, chairman of the UC regents board, praised Dynes for his leadership and said groundwork has been laid for “a more effective and efficient organization.” The regents are expected to form a committee to search for a new president within the next few weeks, university officials said.

— Associated Press



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