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Under Pressure, CSU Execs Struggle to Justify Poor Budget Practices

CSUEU members from throughout California came to the Capitol on Wednesday to be part of a public hearing that left CSU administrators struggling and stammering to explain why management positions have increased at twice the rate of other staff positions, why campus budgets are not properly monitored, and why managers receive raises without any performance evaluations.

CSU Management attempted to justify increasing management positions by 15% overall since July 2007 while staff positions grew only 6% during the same period.  These findings were documented in the State Auditor’s Report issued last April. Notably absent from the hearing were Chancellor Timothy White and all 23 campus presidents.  Junior-level administrators were sent instead (an Assistant Vice Chancellor and two Associate Vice Presidents).

Read media coverage - http://www.fresnobee.com/news/business/article168931427.html

The hearing was a direct result of an audit which was requested by CSUEU members, whose work everyday helps students succeed. These past months of bargaining for our contract have shown the CSU needs to show more accountability and transparency with its employees. And it appears that state legislators agree!

Said Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (AD 48): "As a teacher, the first thing we are asked is student achievement and to show the data. I'm disappointed you don't have (the data for) how all this money is helping students."

When asked how the CSU determines that a management position should be added, Brad Wells, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance, admitted, “We do not currently have a formula for adding positions.”  CSU repeatedly apologized for absent or ignored policies and lack of budget review.  Legislators said they expected real changes to meet the Auditor’s recommendations and would continue to scrutinize CSU budget decisions.

Wells also claimed that much of the hiring of management personnel was “related to improving graduation rates,” another claim unsupported by data. Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber (AD 79), a former CSU educator, noted that most of the positions that would serve to improve graduation rates would be faculty and staff, i.e., instructors and counselors. Pete Rauch - Present of San Marcos Chapter

During public comment period, CSUEU members were joined by representatives from multiple organizations – from the Cal State Student Association to California Faculty Association - who all called for more CSU oversight.  (Shown right - Pete Rauch - President - Chapter Pre 321 San Marcos)

“I remember 10 years ago when the state auditor first looked at executive compensation. Now we find the auditor’s recommendations in 2007 were ignored by CSU resulting in salary discrepancies,” said Pete Rauch, Chapter President CSU San Marcos. “We have numerous employees who are part of the working poor because their salaries have remained stagnant. I ask that you restore the salary step increases for CSU support staff that others state employees receive.”

Shondra Kaufman, who works as a Campus Travel Coordinator at CSU Stanislaus, questioned the “no-cap” policy for managers’ relocation reimbursements.

“Should the CSU implement a system-wide cap on moving and relocation allowances, in my experience as a travel coordinator, $10,000 to $15,000 is MORE than sufficient,” said Shondra. “Furthermore allowances should be awarded based on the number of miles an employee is moving rather than the level of their classification. There needs to be more restrictions and oversight and the dollars saved can be re-directed to the support and success of our students.”

Committee chairman Al Muratsuchi concluded the hearing saying that “This is just the beginning,” of the close scrutiny CSU will be under going forward.

Read it yourself. “California State University: Stronger Oversight Is Needed for Hiring and Compensating Management Personnel and for Monitoring Campus Budgets” (Report #2016-122) Go to: http://www.bsa.ca.gov/repo rts/2016-122/index.html

Watch the hearing

CSU staff knows that our Union is making a difference for employees.  Our active members, our staff and lobbyist, have worked hard to provide the Auditor information and bring testimony to the Legislature.  Our voices influence budget priorities and demand CSU accountability.

In these times when public employees are under attack, it is more important than ever to have an active and engaged Union.

CSU has 6 to 12 months to respond to recommendations from the audit. We will keep monitoring the situation – so stay tuned!