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Cal State trustees raise executive pay by nearly 12 percent


Despite criticism from lawmakers and others, California State University leaders moved ahead Wednesday with substantial pay raises for top executives.

The 23-campus system’s Board of Trustees, meeting in Long Beach, approved by a voice vote hikes averaging nearly 12 percent for campus presidents and other senior administrators.

Administrators of CSU, which with more than 400,000 students is the nation’s largest four-year system, say they need to pay competitive rates to get the best people. They point to a salary survey showing the average salary of CSU top administrators close to $260,000 is 46 percent less than the $380,000 average earned by peers at comparable institutions elsewhere.

The raises, which cover more than two dozen executives, follow a policy, also approved by the board Wednesday, that sets a target of closing the gap by 2011.

“California State University needs to attract, hire, motivate and retain highly qualified employees to advance the goals of this university,” said system Chancellor Charles Reed.

But critics, who include the faculty union and lawmakers, said the move was a blunder considering the steady increases in student fees.

“It’s a very serious mistake in terms of public policy,” said Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who is also a trustee and was one of two board members who voted against the raises. “I see no evidence that we are having trouble recruiting outstanding people.”

Pay for top administrators has been a contentious issue in California public higher education. Officials at the state’s other public university system, the 10-campus University of California, were harshly criticized last year for paying executives millions above their publicly reported salaries at a time when student fees were being raised due to state funding cuts.

–Associated Press

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