Capitol Alert

California State University extends 2 percent raise to top executives

CSUS President Robert Nelsen greets Faculty Senate members before he is formally introduced during a news conference on July 1
CSUS President Robert Nelsen greets Faculty Senate members before he is formally introduced during a news conference on July 1 rpench@sacbee.com

A 2 percent raise for California State University employees authorized earlier this year will extend to 30 of the system’s top executives, including the new president of California State University, Sacramento, Robert Nelsen.

The university’s governing board approved the increase Tuesday for 23 campus presidents and seven system administrators, including Chancellor Timothy White.

“Recruiting and retaining high-quality leadership ... for the CSU is important in both the short- and long-term health of our enterprise,” White said. A committee report indicated that the executive salaries, between $236,484 and $422,300 per year, lag behind comparable institutions by an average of 25 percent.

The California Faculty Association, which represents 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and athletic coaches, was at Tuesday’s board meeting in Long Beach in protest.

“There’s a model we should chase as a public institution: comparing our already overpaid executives to other even more obscenely paid presidents across the country,” past-President Lillian Taiz said.

The faculty association is in contract negotiations with the university, seeking a 5 percent compensation hike, with additional 2.65 percent increases for about 12,000 members who are at the lower end of their pay rank.

After years of “salary stagnation” during the recession, union President Jennifer Eagan said in an interview Monday, faculty found CSU’s initial 2 percent offer “insulting” and “way too low.” The union argues that the university should focus more on the employees who work most directly with students.

“CSU management actually compensates their executives quite well, and they pay more attention to that,” Eagan said. “It shows a sort of consistently misplaced priority, as well as a tone-deafness to the negotiations that are going on.”

Nelsen, who started at Sacramento State on July 1 at an annual salary of $303,850, will now make $309,927.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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