The press release was delivered to us Thursday about mid-afternoon with a bold headline:
"CSU Fails to Fully Disclose Compensation of Top Executives"
"University officials refuse to answer inquiries, say it’s unnecessary to respond to public scrutiny"
The release came from Adam Keigwin, Chief of Staff in the office of Senator Leland Yee. It made for some pretty interesting reading.
According to Keigwin:
"Records show officials from the California State University system are failing to fully disclose the compensation of several of their top executives."
The Chief of Staff suggests "there are major compensation discrepancies when comparing IRS filings (Form 990) to records at the State Controller’s office and what CSU discloses on their website or in public records requests. In several cases, top administrators appear to be receiving tens of thousands of dollars more than what is being disclosed by the university."
Keigwin cites specific examples:
"CSU claims their campus president in Los Angeles has a total compensation of $325,000, whereas records at the Controller’s office show a salary $372,461 and IRS records show he received $515,612.
"CSU records show Sacramento campus president’s compensation at $295,000, whereas the Controller’s office reports a $351,541 salary and the IRS reports his compensation at $429,244.
The release goes on to cite other examples.
Here's a spreadsheet indicating the variances in reported income based on data received from Senator Yee's office:
CSU Reported State Controller IRS CSU-LA President $325,000 $372,461 $515,612 CSU-Sac President $295,000 $351,541 $429,244 CSU-SF President $298,749 $356,366 $423,536 CSU Chancellor $421,500 $399,326 $488,827 CSU Vice-Chancellor $240,000 $274,694 $295,007
Keigwin says that in March, Senator Yee and Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge) sent a letter to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed asking for an explanation into the discrepancies.
According to Keigwin, "After a number of requests for the Chancellor’s office to respond, Yee’s office received an email on May 8 from an Assistant Vice Chancellor stating, 'Not sure we felt it was necessary to respond to the ongoing and never ending critical communications.'"
Yee’s office says it has also contacted the San Francisco State University president’s office, but has not received a response.
“The CSU administration needs to stop hiding and come clean,” said Yee in the press release. “While they may not like the public scrutiny into their executive pay practices, they have a responsibility to the students and taxpayers of California to be fully transparent.”
“I am so disappointed in the CSU administration for continuing to hide compensation practices from public view,” said Portantino. “Our students, families and taxpayers demand and deserve better.”
Yee had the final word. “They simply do not have the right to use tax dollars as their own private piggy bank.”
What do you think? Is the CSU system brass hiding something? If they really are making more than they're reporting publicly, does it matter? Or is this more a situation of political hyperbolae?
Additionally, is it important to pay university administrators these large salaries to insure the best education for kids attending school in the CSU system? Does it give the CSU system competitive advantage to be able to offer big salaries in order to recruit the best educational minds?
What do you think?
Let us know, with your comments, and by voting below in our poll.