12 October 2009

All hat and no cattle

If one needed any  proof that Gov. Schwarzenegger's emphasis on transparency and accountability is just for show, one would have to look no further than the Governor's veto of  S.B. 86, S.B 218 and S.B 219.

S.B 86 would have imposed limits on executive compensation at CSU and UC; S.B. 218 would amended the California Public Records Act to include organizations performing auxiliary functions for CSU and UC; and S.B. 219 would have extended whistleblower protection to UC employees. All three bills were introduced by Sen. Leland Yee, and approved by the Legislature. All three were opposed by senior management at UC and CSU.

We had already commented on Sen. Lee's laudable efforts. It does look like Sen. Lee and Lt. Governor Garamendi are the only ones left in California public life who have any sense at all.

Schwarzenegger defended his veto of executive compensation caps by claiming that
A blanket prohibition limiting the flexibility for the UC and CSU to compete, both nationally and internationally, in attracting and retaining high level personnel does a disservice to those students seeking the kind of quality education that our higher education segments offer.
But even if we agreed with the Governor's (and UCOP's) privatization strategy, this seems backwards: if it wanted to guarantee students the best education experience California has to offer, the University should be actively recruiting and appropriately compensating its faculty, not the administrators. Let me ask you: When's the last time you heard of universities and colleges being ranked by the quality of their administrators? I can imagine it already, US News and World Report advising students to attend such and such a school — they have lousy teachers and no facilities, but their administrators rock!

The other lesson we learn from this (besides the fact the Governator talks the talk but does not have the balls to walk the walk), is that UC's (and CSU's) lobbying efforts paid off handsomely, at least for senior management at UCOP and across the campuses. The lobbyists UC employs (at an annual cost of $1.6M in payroll only) obviously managed to get the Governor's ear, convincing him to overturn the decision of elected officials in the California legislature.

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