Pay raises for Cal State presidents rile Senate leader


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The Legislature needs to crack down on pay raises for top California State University executives, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters on Thursday.

Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was angered that trustees approved salary hikes for two new school presidents just one day before a Senate committee considered legislation limiting raises.


“The CSU folks are tone deaf,” he said. “It requires us to send them a message in a way that is even stronger.”

State lawmakers are wrestling with growing outrage among college students, who face increased tuition and fees while top executives are awarded bigger salaries.

Steinberg said he wants to strengthen a bill approved Wednesday by a Senate committee that would cap pay raises for Cal State presidents at 10%, which is already the limit set by the Cal State Board of Trustees.

“I don’t think that’s enough,” Steinberg said. He suggested that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara), should be tougher and apply to other top executives besides presidents.

The Senate committee rejected a proposal from Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) that would prevent pay raises during bad budget years and within two years of student fee increases.

The day before the committee vote, a panel of Cal State trustees voted to pay the new presidents at the system’s Fullerton and East Bay campuses 10% more than their predecessors. Mildred Garcia, at Fullerton, will make $324,500 and Leroy Morishita, at East Bay, will make $303,660. Supporters have argued that higher salaries are needed to attract top talent in a competitive market.


Meanwhile, Cal State tuition costs are expected to rise 9.1% for the upcoming school year.


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-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

Twitter: @chrismegerian


Lawmaker’s bid to stop Cal State executive raises falls short