Inexplicable UC Executive Pay Bonuses Draw Fire Once Again

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universitycat.pngOn Thursday, UC’s Board of Regents approved roughly 3.1 million dollars in incentive to 38 senior medical executives for meeting their 2009 performance goals.  The payouts would range from 30,000 to 220,000 dollars in bonuses.  The move comes six months after top executives received a 25 percent pay hike.

Amazingly according to multiple reports the incentive was simply the reduction of infection in hospitals which triggers tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands in bonus pay.  According to a release:

The CEO of UCLA’s Medical Center is set to receive $218,728 on top of his $739,000 annual salary and the CEO of the UCSF is set to receive a bonus of $181,227 on top of his $739,000 salary.

This is the same UC system that has furloughed employees, cut wages and salaries, reduced classes, and imposed a 32% fee increase on student on top of previous fee hikes in the double-digits.

Writes Bruce Maiman in an editorial published in the Sacramento Bee Friday:

” The UC system is broke. It’s raising tuition and fees. Rank-and-file hospital employees are taking pay cuts and suffering layoffs. The board says it doesn’t like doing this but there’s no state money and they have no choice, so everyone has to share the pain.

Yet they’re paying bonuses? Know what they’re based on? Lowering infection rates and increasing patient satisfaction. At a hospital.

In other words, we’re hiring a professional at six figures to run a hospital, the expectation being that it’s infection-free, but he gets paid a bonus if he cuts down the rate of infection.”

As he writes this should obviously be a goal of salaried employees, not something they need to add incentives to:

“Obviously, no hospital is infection-free and not every patient is satisfied, but you’d think that keeping a hospital clear of infection would be a primary function for any salaried hospital employee, not something to be incentivized.”

The San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday reported that UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellman said:

her hospital saw a more than 5 percent drop in one type of infection, and that 89.5 percent of patients surveyed reported being satisfied with care.

“This is how you run a great medical center,” she said, referring to incentives.

It is also may be how you run an institution that is going broke.  This is the same Desmond-Hellman who took a 12 percent pay hike over her successor for a $450,000 salary last summer at a time when UC was announcing their huge cuts.

Naturally the lucrative awards for such a mundane incentive structure have spawned angree from employees who have been laid off or forced to take painful paycuts.

Kevin Rooney from UPTE, which represents thousands of nonnursing health professionals:

“They say we all have to share the pain, but managers never seem to share the pain.”

Also angered are the nurses, who according to the Chronicle say that

“instead of improving safety, hospital executives are squeezing hospital staffing to dangerous levels in order to meet financial goals.”

Beth Kean director of the California Nurses Association at UC:

“These bonuses reward chronic understaffing of nurses and other health care staff.”

AFSCME President Lakesha Harrison also expressed outrage:

“Excessive pay and extravagant perks is yet another example of UC executive’s misguided choices and misplaced priorities.  Workers are being asked to put less food on their families’ tables while UC executives continue to enrich them themselves. Students are asked to pay more but get fewer services. This is outrageous and unacceptable. It is the reason why Californian’s need to reform the UC to make it accountable to taxpayers, not their own self interest.”

Naturally Senator Leland Yee is outraged.

“At a time when the university is increasing student fees and issuing furloughs and layoffs for low-wage workers, it is outrageous that they are finding new ways to enrich their top executives.  You would hope that the exorbitant salaries and perks would be enough for administrators to do their jobs without further taxing students, taxpayers, and patients.”

Governor Schwarzenegger who has spent the last few years cutting back salaries and attempting to furlough state workers vetoed legislation authored by Senator Yee that would have prohibited executive pay raises during bad budget years at the UC and the California State University. 

Said the Senator:

“The public is tired of the UC administration acting like AIG.  We can ill-afford an administration that continues to disrespect taxpayers, students, and low-wage workers and faculty.”

This really falls into the category of “what are these guys thinking.”  The incentive structure here makes zero sense, particularly the amount of the bonuses during a time of budget crisis.  It also sends the wrong message to the workers who are being asked to suffer while top executives already making good salaries are getting large bonuses.  I am simply baffled at the arrogance of UC on this matter.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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33 thoughts on “Inexplicable UC Executive Pay Bonuses Draw Fire Once Again”

  1. Greg Kuperberg

    After a period of relatively mature discussion about budget realities, we are back to smoking crack vials of anger over UC executive compensation. This time it’s compensation for medical executives.

    [i]The UC system is broke.[/i]

    No, it isn’t. Academic instruction at UC is going broke. UC medical centers are financially autonomous. It would be at best financially questionable, and at worst illegal, to use significant medical revenues to subsidize calculus instruction. Even if it were used to eliminate my own furlough, and even if it came from million-dollar compensations, it’s not something that I can ask for. It would be like taking money from the Davis police department to pay teachers at Davis High School.

    Since the lion’s share of high salaries at UC are medical, really this is what the unions and the Leland Yees have been asking for over and over again. They have suggesting fatuously that cancer surgery should pay for calculus.

    [i]This is the same Desmond-Hellman who took a 12 percent pay hike over her successor for a $450,000 salary[/i]

    That may be, but she took a 70% pay cut from old her salary. There is a big list of doctors at UC medical centers who are getting paid more than Susan Desmond-Hellman, and that drives up the salaries of the people who manage them. UC medical centers are not like DJUSD, where the superintendent is paid more than anyone else.

    The idea of paying doctors and medical managers based on social justice and union slogans, rather than market levels, was tried in the California prison system. The result was patients who were treated by Dr. Zorro, Dr. Bacardi, Dr. Giggles, and Dr. Unfilled Position. The federal receiver is forcing California prisons to pay doctors salaries that would “outrage” a lot of people, to keep prisons in compliance with the 8th Amendment.

    [i]Naturally Senator Leland Yee is outraged.[/i]

    When Schwarzenegger recently proposed restoring hundreds of millions of dollars to UC academics, Leland Yee said nothing. Last year, when UC leaders begged Sacramento not to eliminate Cal Grants, Yee did not join their pleas. Now, once again, he’s “outraged” by the tyrannical crooks who run universities and public hospitals.

    I have read that Leland Yee wants to be the next mayor of San Francisco. If that happens, I’ll feel sorry for the people who work for that fair city.

    [i]I am simply baffled at the arrogance of UC on this matter.[/i]

    Yeah, right. While you have had so much to say about this head-scratcher, you have not said one word about the two highest paid people in the UC system, Coach Tedford and Coach Howland. $2 million each. Not one word about Karl Dorrell, who is paid more than Susan Desmond-Hellman [b]not[/b] to coach the UCLA Bruins, and who on top of that has another coaching job in Florida.

    If you are “baffled” by some high salaries that are not as high as the coaches’ salaries, it’s because you want to be “baffled”. This whole story is a sad exercise in selective outrage.

  2. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]The CEOs of the hospitals make twice the Chancelor’s salary?[/i]

    SODA, Karl Dorrell is a coach who was fired from the UCLA football team. UC pays him 50% more than Linda Katehi just to get lost. He also has another job. Were you thinking that Katehi is paid more than anyone else, or almost as much as? If so, you were sorely mistaken.

  3. E Roberts Musser

    Greg, I am outraged at all salaries that are becoming out of whack with reality. Conan O’Brien is being paid $45 million to quit the Tonight Show (don’t get me wrong, I think Conan was treated very badly and Leno is a shmuck for his selfish behavior)! Nor do I agree with college football coaches being paid in the millions, just as you do not. I don’t like corporate CEOs of failing companies being paid huge salaries and bonuses. I don’t like the retiring head of the NYSE getting an $800 million golden parachute. (How do you even spend $800 million dollars in a lifetime?)

    But I also don’t think you give some UC management a raise, at the same time the economy is tanking and you are asking every other employee to “share the sacrifice” and take paycuts/furloughs, students to absorb a 32% fee hike, etc. It does send the wrong message – it cuts into Yudoff’s hypocritical plea that employees and students must “share the sacrifice”, which becomes a literal joke. Most students I know are working minimum wage jobs, while they go to college, to help defray the costs of tuition/books. What do they have to do now, work two jobs? And what two jobs? The job market is drying up!

    Furthermore, why should hospital administrators be given a bonus for just doing the job they were hired to do? A hospital administrator is supposed to keep his/her hospital infection free and patients satisfied already.

    And I would add the following point – to give hospital administrators a pay hike in this economy while the UC system is begging the state for more money 1) gives the asker (Yudoff) no credibility; 2) gives Leland Yee the political traction he is looking for to insist on legislative oversight of the UC system. Why hand Leland Yee ammunition? Why cut the chances of the UC system getting any reasonable amount of state money? I’m with DPD, this is crazy, unless there is something going on that we don’t understand!

    What it says to me is UC is now in the business of putting all its energy towards raising private funds, will head towards privatizing the UC University system altogether, so the only kids who can afford it will be those of wealthy parents, or the lower income if and only if they can get gov’t subsidies. The middle class kids will be left out in the cold. Many I have talked to are feeling the same way.

    Not only that, more and more students will come from out of state or outside the country, bc they pay the much higher out of state tuition. So our state becomes the higher education provider for all other countries, but won’t even educate our own? Students of wealthy parents who give big fat donations to the UC system are a shoe-in (sp?) for enrollment, especially from the Middle Eastern oil rich countries with money to burn (pardon the pun!). Look at the Bin Laden debacle at Harvard as a prime example.

    Its become all about the money at UC rather than its mission – money to pay upper management fatcats, money for research instead of teaching, money to pay for frilly things like the new Stadium, new music auditorium, new convention center, ad nauseum – to heck with the core programs of English, Math, Science. But middle class students will have to start out at their local community college, and hope to heaven they will be accepted as transfers to the Cal State system if they want a college education.

    The legislature is not blameless here, but neither is the upper management at UC. The vision that is evolving for higher education is bleak, IMHO. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I have grave concerns where this is all heading for CA higher education…

  4. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]UC medical centers are financially autonomous. It would be at best financially questionable, and at worst illegal, to use significant medical revenues to subsidize calculus instruction. [/quote]It’s odd that the same person who understands this is so critical of paying high salaries to football and basketball coaches at Cal and UCLA. All of the money paid to men like Jeff Tedford and Ben Howland comes from the billion-dollar TV contracts. None of it comes from taxpayers or from student fees*. Yet I recall Mr. Kuperberg getting on his high horse and calling for lower salaries for coaches in basketball and football**.

    *Davis is an exception. And the fact that former UCD students voted to impose fees on later students to subsidize D-1 athletics is an outrage.

    **I think a better argument can be made that big-time intercollegiate sports is incongruent with the mission of an academic institution, especially when players don’t otherwise meet the criteria for enrollment and are unable to do their work.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    “*Davis is an exception. And the fact that former UCD students voted to impose fees on later students to subsidize D-1 athletics is an outrage.”

    We did it when I was at Cal Poly in the early 90s as well and then just like at Davis we got hit by wave after wave of fee hikes and it was too late to stop.

  6. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]It’s odd that the same person who understands this is so critical of paying high salaries to football and basketball coaches at Cal and UCLA.[/i]

    Rich, of course I understand that Tedford and Howland have $2 million salaries because of free-market competition. Of course I understand that an athletic department is unlikely to significantly subsidize the rest of its university. But, first and foremost, I never started a campaign to chop their salaries. I’m not in the state legislature, I don’t represent a major union, and I don’t run a major political blog. I’m not the one with a double standard.

    “Chop from the top” sounds like the top salaries. If it actually means aim below the top and hit management, then it’s a dishonest campaign.

    Moreover, there are major business differences between varsity athletics and university hospitals. Hospitals may be expensive, and hospitals may pay big salaries, but even so, hospitals don’t brag to their patients about salary. By contrast, even UCLA portrays seven-figure compensation for a head coach as an achievement ([url]http://www.uclabruins.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/100307aaa.html[/url]). Once it gets to that, I won’t exactly call it corrupt, but it means that university athletic programs openly cater to stupidity. These coaches are like televangelists whose fans want them to be rich.

    Also, when you say “billion-dollar contracts”, that figure is not on the correct scale. The NCAA across the entire United States deals with billion-dollar contracts; UCLA does not. The UCLA basketball team gets about $10 million per year, of which one-fifth goes to Ben Howland. One fifth of ten million, in a unit with assistant coaches, other employees, and players, is an outrageous cut for anyone other than a public hero whose fans want him to be rich.

    Finally, UC’s athletic departments usually lose money, while as far as I know, its hospitals do not. I understand that physical fitness is important for students, but for spectators, Division I football and basketball are the opposite of exercise. Spectator sports are a distraction for the University of California. If they rationalize the highest salaries in the system, then they do not deserve one red cent in subsidies, neither in bad budget years nor ever again.

  7. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Why hand Leland Yee ammunition?[/i]

    The part of this question that makes sense is that Yee is an enemy of higher education in California. Sometimes it makes sense to cater to enemies, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    [i]Why cut the chances of the UC system getting any reasonable amount of state money?[/i]

    The amount of money that UC gets from the state is already well below what is reasonable, in the sense that it bears no resemblance to expectations. In constant dollars per undergraduate, the state compact is only one-third of the historical baseline that held until about 20 years ago.

    When UC is down to its last third of state support, when state funding is only 1/6 of the overall UC budget, then it’s a little late to warn, “Don’t provoke the state legislature! They’ll cut your funding!” The state budget is a shambles, and Leland Yee is not that important because he is a bull in a junk shop. The real credibility that UC has left is to raise fees in response to giant budget cuts.

    And yes, when only 1/6 of the UC budget comes from the state compact, UC has to behave like a business to get the other 5/6. It has no choice. Despite Yee’s threat, it seems far-fetched that they could get their hands on so much money that they don’t provide.

    [i]Not only that, more and more students will come from out of state or outside the country, bc they pay the much higher out of state tuition. So our state becomes the higher education provider for all other countries, but won’t even educate our own?[/i]

    All that state taxpayers have to do to get UC enrollment is pay for it. You might think that out-of-state students displace in-state students at UC, but you’d be wrong. Out-of-state tuition is not only more than in-state fees, it’s more than in-state fees [b]plus[/b] the per-student state compact. When UC admits out-of-state students, in the long run it actually creates room for more in-state students, not fewer. The funding model is that far out of balance.

  8. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]I understand that Tedford and Howland have $2 million salaries because of free-market competition. [/quote] You understand incorrectly. It’s not a free-market at all. The players, whose performances generate fan interest, TV ratings, gate revenues, clothing sales, etc., are prohibited as “amateurs” from being paid. The reason coaches get such a large share of the revenue is partly because players (that is, the best players) are not fairly compensated. (I am not calling for paying players. My preference would be to divorce academia from what is essentially a minor league pro sport.) [quote]I never started a campaign to chop their salaries. [/quote] I never mentioned a campaign. I mentioned that you said (or implied) some time ago that you want their salaries chopped. [quote]These coaches are like televangelists whose fans want them to be rich. [/quote] They are paid to produce winners. Ask Tom Holmoe. [quote] One fifth of ten million, in a unit with assistant coaches, other employees, and players, is an outrageous cut for anyone other than a public hero whose fans want him to be rich. [/quote] If the players were paid what they earned, the coaches would be paid much less.

    Hero or otherwise, as a business model, I don’t share your outrage over one guy making 20% of the take. If one employee is producing 20% of the revenue, then he’s going to make that much. Michael Jordan made far more than 20% of the Bulls’ revenues. The Jordanaires benefitted from him being their teammate. [quote] UC’s athletic departments usually lose money. [/quote] That is a non sequitir. The loss of money is not due to Cal football or UCLA basketball. It’s due to the non-revenue sports which are almost entirely paid for by football and basketball.

    What is unfair is that, for reasons of Title 9, the NCAA does not deal with the money-losing sports on an even keel. They take all the extra money from men’s basketball and football and give most of it to women’s sports at the expense of non-revenue sports played by men.

    The result is an imbalance in scholarships ([url]http://www.educationplanner.org/education_planner/paying_article.asp?sponsor=2859&articleName=NCAA_Scholarship_Limits[/url]):

    Women’s tennis gets 8 scholarships; men’s gets 4.5. Women’s golf 6; men’s golf 4.5. Women’s T&F 18; men’s T&F 12.6. Women’s water polo 8; men’s 4.5. Softball 12; baseball 11.7. Women’s gymnastics 12; men’s 6.3. Women’s soccer 14; men’s 9.9. Women’s swimming & diving 14; men’s 9.9.

    The list goes on and on discriminating against men’s non-revenue sports. Even in basketball, the women get more scholarships, 15-13. There are also 7 additional sports for women to get scholarships in that men don’t have.

    The justification for this is the large number of scholarships given to male football players. But there is a big difference between a 350 pound lineman on scholarship at Cal and a woman with one of the 12 squash scholarships. (Men cannot get a squash scholarship.) The big fat lineman is attracting the fans to the games and to the TV which is largely paying for squash and rowing and fencing and field hockey. The female playing golf or skiing is worth no more or no less to a college than the male golfing or skiing.

    The only differences are 1) that the female gets a far better scholarship and 2) that for every 1 female who puts in the work from age 8-18 to play college golf there are 100 males. (In some sports, like gymnastics, the female:male interest ratios are reversed.)

  9. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]You understand incorrectly. It’s not a free-market at all.[/i]

    All I meant was that the coaches can get the universities to bid for them. I don’t need to be tutored in how the system is stacked in their favor.

    [i]Hero or otherwise, as a business model, I don’t share your outrage over one guy making 20% of the take.[/i]

    It’s certainly far-fetched to justify it on the basis of team performance. If coaching were that important, then it would make more sense to have a balanced team of coaches.

    No, this is clearly paying a hero to be a hero, sometimes more than to coach.

    As for outrage, the only thing that really gets my goat is when people attack UC management, by playing stupid and pretending that they could never tolerate a high six-figure salary. If they know anything about college sports, then their outrage is bogus.

    [i]The loss of money is not due to Cal football or UCLA basketball. It’s due to the non-revenue sports which are almost entirely paid for by football and basketball.[/i]

    Most days I really don’t care that Tedford and Howland get $2 million each. Likewise, I really don’t care that some football programs subsidize other varsity athletics. Since Title IX requires them to do it, it’s just a cost of doing business. And as you argue, the whole thing should be separated from universities anyway.

    But if you’re going to analyze this, you should get the economics right. Only Division IA football ever makes a lot of money. Division IA basketball is smaller and closer to break-even, and everything else either loses a little money or a lot of money. Even some Division IA football and basketball programs lose money.

  10. Joshua

    Greg,

    You are wrong on a number of fronts especially Senator Yee’s record. He was on TV and quoted in several newspapers saying he was pleased the Governor finally was prioritizing higher education (you can also read his press release on his website stating such). In terms of Cal Grant, he was the most outspoken Legislator on the elimination of Cal Grants and even voted against the Budget and all cuts to education. That is why he has been named Legislator of the Year by UC workers, faculty, and students several years running. You may want to read the newspaper a little more often, or at least visit his website before making such ignorant comments.

  11. Joshua

    Also, UC has a $7 billion dollar reserve not even including the medical centers. So it is completely inaccurate to say that the system is underfunded. Even the state budget allocation, which is a minor piece of their overall funding, has only decreased in 2 out of the past 6 years.

  12. David M. Greenwald

    Greg: Someone told me tonight that UC Med Centers are cutting back on basic antibiotics because of budget shortfalls. So now we’re not even talking about employees from other parts of the system, we’re talking about basic medical supplies.

  13. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]He was on TV and quoted in several newspapers saying he was pleased the Governor finally was prioritizing higher education (you can also read his press release on his website stating such).[/i]

    I don’t watch TV and I can’t search it, but I just did look in Google News and on Yee’s web site, and I don’t see what you are talking about. Even if I did find some vague statement in support of education in general, that would not address universities in particular. It would not change Yee’s consistent hostility to university administrations.

    Here is the web page of Yee’s 2010 press releases ([url]http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={EFA496BC-EDC8-4E38-9CC7-68D37AC03DFF}[/url]). As of today, 3 of the 16 press releases on that page say that university administrators are corrupt, overpaid control freaks. I don’t see any statement in support of Schwarzenegger’s proposal to restore university funding.

    I also did some Google searches for Cal Grants and Leland Yee, and again I didn’t find any statement in support of university pleas to restore funding. If I’m truly so ignorant about all this, then you should post a link, because I did check before I posted my comment.

    [i]Even the state budget allocation, which is a minor piece of their overall funding, has only decreased in 2 out of the past 6 years.[/i]

    So now we are arguing in the alternative. Of course Leland Yee has argued to restore funding; in any case there isn’t anything to restore. Although Leland Yee hasn’t helped, you were more correct the first time. State funding in constant dollars, per student, has been cut by more than half in the last three years. Maybe you didn’t think to divide by inflation, or by the number of students. Without those two steps, the comparison makes no sense.

    [i]Someone told me tonight that UC Med Centers are cutting back on basic antibiotics because of budget shortfalls. So now we’re not even talking about employees from other parts of the system, we’re talking about basic medical supplies.[/i]

    Whoever “we” is. As I was telling Rich Rifkin, there is no logical way to analyze anonymous verbal rumors. In particular, that is absolutely the worst way to discuss something like a shortage of antibiotics. That’s like an anonymous rumor that a restaurant has roaches.

    Besides, if million-dollar CEO salaries cause shortages of antibiotics, then there aren’t any hospitals to go to in Yolo County. You certainly wouldn’t want to go to Sutter Davis or Woodland Memorial, because their CEOs are paid more than UC medical center CEOs.

  14. Joshua

    Yee Regarding Governor’s Ed plan: http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={88EAF772-1FBB-43AB-A2F4-8910D9AC3405}&DE={7F31F3CC-633D-4CEC-89AB-2711744C8C44}

    Yee standing up for education funding and voting against the budget cuts: http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={3FAFD1FE-DDB1-4B4E-980D-0779C3F23EC5}&DE={38120873-281A-48A4-97BA-58AEB61620FC}

    http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={3FAFD1FE-DDB1-4B4E-980D-0779C3F23EC5}&DE={44419686-4B76-4701-BBBA-C0819C618402}

    Thank goodness Senator Yee is standing up against the currupt and overpaid administrators. And clearly students, faculty, and teachers agree as evident by list of awards and honors he has received from them. It is those individuals that make our universities what they are, not executives.

    Sad that you care more about the administrators than the students, faculty and workers who have joined Yee in his efforts to save our universities.

  15. Joshua

    Yee Regarding Governor’s Ed plan: http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={88EAF772-1FBB-43AB-A2F4-8910D9AC3405}&DE={7F31F3CC-633D-4CEC-89AB-2711744C8C44}

    Yee standing up for education funding and voting against the budget cuts: http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={3FAFD1FE-DDB1-4B4E-980D-0779C3F23EC5}&DE={38120873-281A-48A4-97BA-58AEB61620FC}

    http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={3FAFD1FE-DDB1-4B4E-980D-0779C3F23EC5}&DE={44419686-4B76-4701-BBBA-C0819C618402}

    Thank goodness Senator Yee is standing up against the currupt and overpaid administrators. And clearly students, faculty, and teachers agree as evident by list of awards and honors he has received from them. It is those individuals that make our universities what they are, not executives.

    Sad that you care more about the administrators than the students, faculty and workers who have joined Yee in his efforts to save our universities.

  16. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]And clearly students, faculty, and teachers agree as evident by list of awards and honors he has received from them.[/i]

    Boy, you are quite the fan of Leland Yee. You take two words here and three words there in favor of “education” as proof that Yee supports universities. Then you say that students, faculty, and teachers agree because look at all of these awards and honors. However, his awards have barely any connection to students, faculty, or teachers. He does have some awards for journalism education, but other than that I see no connection at all.

    It’s great that journalism educators like Leland Yee. Seriously, I like what Leland Yee did for student newspapers.

    But when Yee slams university administrators [b]in general[/b] as crooks, instead of just standing up to those who truly are crooks, he doesn’t do UC or CSU any favors. I am a UC faculty member, and maybe I know something about it. It is not honest and not helpful to tell the state of California that UC is run by crooks. Besides, Yee’s favorite audience at universities isn’t faculty, teachers, or students; it’s unionized staff.

  17. Alphonso

    What an enormous PR blunder. Both the UC Universities and associated med centers are public institutions. It is clear that every effort is made to publicly link the med centers to the universities – most people think UC Davis and the UC Davis Med Center are one in the same. Clearly the universities are in dire need of money and both the universities and the med centers constantly ask for donor money. To grant bonuses (or whatever you want to call these payments) during times of such fiscal turnmoil will cause many people to turn away – demanding less State support and denying requests to make donations. If they can not manage money why give it to them?

    As for Football coaches, the salaries are out of control. College football was just as good when football coaches got 10% of what they earn today. Again the University administrators do not know how to manage money, they have allowed the “Football is God” conferences (SEC, Big 10) to dictate the market. The UC system could say no, slice salaries in half and they would still have lines of coaches willing to sign up. They might have to offer the players a little more, but then the players are not paid and they are the people who win and lose games.

  18. Joshua

    Anyone who is a fan of higher education should be a fan of Senator Yee who has done more for higher education than any current legislator. If the Legislator of the Year awards from the Faculty Association and the Students Association mean nothing (despite the obvious connection to students, faculty and teachers) then maybe the fact that he is 100 % rated by UC Students, CSU Students, CSU Faculty, and Calfironia Teachers does.

    You seem to also fail to address that he was the only Democrat to stand up against budget cuts to higher education. That is certainly more than a few words, but courage to stand up against his own caucus leadership.

    In addition, he has passed laws to protect faculty from retaliation for reporting waste and fraud, open university actions to the public records act, fought to give faculty and workers a voice on their pension plan, provide loan forgiveness for students entering mental health fields, provide unemployment benefits to community college faculty, and oh, yes you are right, a lot of work on protecting student speech and journalism teachers.

    And yes he does slam the university administrators that are crooks and that plague our public universities.

  19. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]If the Legislator of the Year awards from the Faculty Association and the Students Association mean nothing[/i]

    Yes, you’re right, the faculty of California Community Colleges and ASUC at Davis both made him legislator of the year. I missed that section when I looked at the page before.

    Leland Yee could well be a good friend of faculty community colleges. I don’t really know that he is, but I can believe it. But Davis ASUC is sorely mistaken. There is no chance that Yee would win any award from UC faculty.

    Yee put millions of dollars in student aid at risk by attacking UC executives the very day that those executives were in Sacramento to plead for Cal Grants. As for “standing up against budget cuts”, that was a useless stand at best. There wasn’t going to be a budget without a budget agreement, and his vote was not part of an agreement with anybody.

    Yee is a true ally of workers unions at UC Davis, especially AFSCME. When AFSCME won a good contract at Davis a few years ago, it directly led to higher dorm fees for students.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    “When AFSCME won a good contract at Davis a few years ago, it directly led to higher dorm fees for students.”

    That was always the claim of the administration, you have evidence that in fact happened?

    Incidentally the ASUCD supported them getting better wages even if it meant higher dorm fees.

  21. Don Shor

    Joshua, if you are going to use terms like “corrupt” and “crooks” then you need to provide evidence of illegal activities by UC administrators. That is what those terms mean. In the absence of such evidence, you are just maligning them.

  22. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]What an enormous PR blunder.[/i]

    It is true that a six-figure bonus to an executive comes at a cost in public relations. That is, unless the executive happens to be an athletic coach; then the public relations angle is generally positive. Yes, you may notice that the coaches are paid even more than medical executives, but the rabble-rousers know that that story has no traction.

    However, I’d rather live with sour public relations, than die in a hospital that doesn’t pay competitive wages. In the 2009-2010 US News Ranking of American Hospitals ([url]http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/best-hospitals/2009/07/15/americas-best-hospitals-the-2009-2010-honor-roll.html[/url]), UCLA is 3rd and UCSF is 7th. Many of the CEOs of these top hospitals in the US News list are paid more than those at UC hospitals.

    There are many things in this world that are bad public relations, but that are necessary evils or even outright good things. For instance, public relations are a major roadblock for vaccinations in the third world. As soon as some child dies after a vaccination, usually a child who was very sick before and had never seen a doctor, rumors spread that the vaccination is dangerous and that the Western medics are poisoning the locals. Sometimes you have to live with bad public relations to get things done.

  23. David M. Greenwald

    “However, I’d rather live with sour public relations, than die in a hospital that doesn’t pay competitive wages.”

    These aren’t even wages, they are bonuses.

    Also what if you are dying at a hospital because they can’t afford basic medicines?

  24. Joshua

    Greg,

    Read the bill anaylsis on the laws Yee authored that I mentioned above. The Coalition of UC Faculty Associations were major supporters of those bills. And the California Faculty Association is the sponsor of several of them.

    If there wasn’t so much waste on executives there would be more money for cal grants and other classroom improvements.

    You want to complain about cuts to UC, but then a legislator actually stands up against them and you call it useless. Sad.

    As for AFSCME workers, over 90 percent of them qualify for public assistance programs. The university is more concerned with giving millions in bonuses to those that already make half million dollar salaries than ensuring a livable wage for service and patient care workers.

    Greg, how unfortunate that you seemso committed to sticking up for millionares rather than the working families at UC struggling to put food on the table for their kids. You must be well on your way to becoming an administrator yourself. You must be proud.

    Don, one only needs to look at interviews of Yudof in the NY Times, Regents work on the Investment Advisory Board handing contracts to friends and family, doing their work behind closed doors on executive compensation, foundations, and signing contracts with private auditing companies that have anti-disclosure clauses, and Chancellors no-bid contracts on campuses to see the corruption.

  25. Don Shor

    David: Also what if you are dying at a hospital because they can’t afford basic medicines?
    This is based on your unsubstantiated rumor? I really don’t think this kind of comment is valid journalism.

  26. David M. Greenwald

    Don: I’m held to the journalistic standard in a comment I make? I put it in a comment not the article because I had not checked into it. However, I would consider the source credible as it came from a nurse at one of the UC facilities. I’m following up on it.

  27. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]That was always the claim of the administration, you have evidence that in fact happened?[/i]

    I guess that I just took the administration’s word for it that they were going to raise dorm cafeteria fees. On the one hand, even if cafeteria fees do go up exactly as they predicted, saying that it was because of the AFSCME agreement is just an interpretation and not a mathematical fact. On the other hand, in the large it has a lot of credibility. The raises for AFSCME have to come from somewhere; I don’t see why they would pull in a subsidy from the rest of the university.

    [i]Incidentally the ASUCD supported them getting better wages even if it meant higher dorm fees.[/i]

    That is a fair rebuttal, up to a point. ASUC often behaves like ordinary liberal California voters. They will sometimes vote for higher fees for students, if those fees go for a believable, named purpose. The problem is the same as in the state proposition system. Eventually there are too many named purposes to keep track, current students don’t know what past generations of students voted for, and eventually for both democratic and undemocratic reasons they can’t afford their fees.

    [i]These aren’t even wages, they are bonuses.[/i]

    Bonuses are just another kind of compensation. This is just a semantic point. The substantive point is that if you set medical compensation by social justice rather than market rates, the result is compromised medical standards. The California prison system is a notorious example.

    [i]Also what if you are dying at a hospital because they can’t afford basic medicines?[/i]

    I understand that you heard a rumor from an unnamed person that UC hospitals can’t afford basic medicines. US News, on the other hand, says that UCLA and UCSF are two of America’s 20 best hospitals. If there is a serious story about antibiotics at whatever hospital, you should pursue it in a serious way. Trading in anonymous rumors makes people more sick, not less.

  28. JustSaying

    So, who really was responsible for lowering infection rates and increasing patient satisfaction? Likely the “rank-and-file hospital employees…taking pay cuts and suffering layoffs…so everyone has to share the pain.” How could treating staff performance this way while giving six-figure bonuses to the executives for their leadership be viewed as “how you run a great medical center” (or any other organization that wants to stay great)?

    And, yes, David, we expect you to maintain your standards re. rumor mongering even if other commenters engage in it from time to time. We can depend on you to keep us honest, so you shouldn’t be surprised when someone calls you on it.

  29. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]So, who really was responsible for lowering infection rates and increasing patient satisfaction?[/i]

    That’s like asking which leg holds up a stool. You can think of a hospital as a huge disinfection organization, that also sometimes treats patients. Disinfection is the major difference between a hospital and a death ward. New strategies for how to disinfect hospitals are devised every year, and it is not as simple saluting rank-and-file employees who do a good job. It requires teamwork and good management at all levels. The rank and file has to be properly trained, properly monitored, and properly retrained.

    Many hospitals have decided to give incentive bonuses to managers when the infection rate goes down. I don’t know whether it works or not, but as a fraction of the total that a hospital spends dealing with infection and disinfection, this is not a lot of money. It would be interesting, and quite possibly a good idea, to give performance incentives to nurses for the same thing. However, unions generally don’t like performance incentives.

    [i]Likely the “rank-and-file hospital employees…taking pay cuts and suffering layoffs[/i]

    Despite what Bruce Maiman said about it, not all of the rank-and-file hospital are taking pay cuts. As I understand it, one reason that Lakeesha Harrison fumes mightly about UC executive compensation, is that it was her excuse for refusing to negotiate furloughs at all.

    Now, AFSCME has the right to play its hand this way. I’m not saying that AFSCME is evil. But if there is this rumor that UC hospitals supposedly can’t afford antibiotics, these hospitals are spending much more on the AFSCME contract than on bonuses or any compensation for a few executives. That’s because the hospitals employ a huge number of AFSCME workers.

    [i]…so everyone has to share the pain.”[/i]

    It is true that Yudof started using the phrase “shared sacrifice”, and I personally have mixed feelings about it. It could be good public relations, or it could be red meat for resentment politics. What Yudof is really trying to do is make ends meet, without driving skilled professionals out of the state. AFSCME views that as a conspiracy to steal from the poor.

  30. JustSaying

    Greg, your hospital stool analogy is a good one. I just tried to note that treating the legs differently–rewarding one while paining another–doesn’t seem like it’s a good approach to longterm management success. If one leg is lengthened while another is cut down, eventually the stool will….well, you know.

    Plus, the phrase “shared sacrifice” never can be good PR if subsequent actions belie it.

  31. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]I just tried to note that treating the legs differently–rewarding one while paining another–doesn’t seem like it’s a good approach to longterm management success.[/i]

    Look, AFSCME demanded zero wage concessions last year, and as far as I know, that’s what they got. And it has been said several times on this blog that low-wage workers get much better pay when they are in the public sector and unionized, then when they are in the private sector and not unionized.

    Also, in general, even though unions generally do not like performance incentives, they do have a big incentive to condemn management.

    [i]Plus, the phrase “shared sacrifice” never can be good PR if subsequent actions belie it.[/i]

    Well, it’s an invitation for completely unrealistic, jealousy-based proposals. For instance, David wanted UC management to take a 50% pay cut. The idea being that every manager should be willing to serve California for a lot less than what he was paid to do before, even if it was the exact same job for Texas or Illinois.

    Or in this case, that UC hospital CEOs should be paid a lot less than what some of the doctors under them make. Because, hopefully, a doctor would just jump at the change to become a manager, even for less pay.

  32. wdf1

    If you want to sell your house in the next 20 years, then it might be a good idea to see that state higher education is accessible:

    [url]http://educatedguess.org/blog/2010/02/02/protect-higher-ed-for-you-own-sake-boomers/[/url]

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