The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

    New Bill Puts Executive Salaries Out in the Open

    In an effort to increase financial transparency within
    California’s public university administrations, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
    signed a bill last week that will require any university decisions on executive
    pay to be made at public meetings.

    Senate Bill 190, the Higher Education Governance
    Accountability Act, will affect both the UC and CSU systems. Authored by state
    Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), the bill’s primary purpose is to shed light
    on proceedings pertaining to executive compensation when they occur within
    meetings of the UC Board of Regents and the CSU Board of Trustees.

    According to the bill, university officials are now required
    to vote on all executive compensation packages in an open session of a
    subcommittee and a full board. Additionally, the bill requires full disclosure
    of any compensation package, along with an accompanying reasoning for the
    package and public comment on the item at hand. SB 190 also closes a loophole
    that allowed the UC regents and the trustees to sidestep state-mandated open
    meetings law.

    The UC Office of the President responded to the passage of
    SB 190 by citing the implementation of similar university policy regulations
    last year.

    “This legislation aligns with and supports the practice we
    put in place over a year ago that requires all compensation for UC senior
    managers to be approved in public,” UCOP spokesman Paul Schwartz said in an

    According to Adam Keigwin, Yee’s communications director,
    further codification of these regulations in the form of state law was
    necessary to ensure that such accountability remains a priority.

    “What they’ve implemented is just policy, and at any time,
    theoretically, they could go back and change that policy, and this law will
    prevent that from happening,” Keigwin said. “While we’re glad they’ve made some
    of those changes, we don’t want changes in leadership or changes in the board
    [of regents] to change that policy.”

    Last year, both university systems faced criticism when
    newspaper reports revealed a number of undisclosed compensation perks that were
    awarded to top executives without public knowledge. According to Keigwin, SB
    190 serves as a way for the universities to re-establish legitimacy and public

    “The board of regents violated the public trust by approving
    exorbitant compensation packages behind closed doors,” Keigwin said. “SB 190
    will hopefully allow us to regain that trust. At the end of the day this is the
    taxpayers’ money, this is the students’ money, and the students and the
    taxpayers deserve to know how this money is being spent.”

    Although SB 190 does not officially become law until January
    2008, the state Senate has requested that universities begin honoring the new
    regulations without delay.

    “There’s no reason they need to wait until January to
    implement the bill, especially in light of the fact that they’ve started their
    search for the new president, so the public should know what’s going on there,”
    Keigwin said.

    First introduced in February and co-authored by Assemblyman
    Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena), SB 190 was amended several times before
    receiving unanimous approval by the state Senate last month.

    A similar proposal, Assembly Bill 775, was rejected by the
    Senate Appropriations Committee last year.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal