Governor Jerry Brown’s nomination of Chairman Herbert L. Carter for the California State University of Board of Trustees has failed. The Republicans argued that Carter, whose appointment would have marked his second term as chairman, is responsible for tuition hikes and ill-timed executive salary increases. “Today the Senate sent a clear message to the students, parents and taxpayers that we deserve better from higher education than skyrocketing tuition, poor planning and little oversight,” stated Republican Senator Joel Anderson in an article by the Los Angeles Times.
Governor Brown and other Democrats, however, asserted that Carter should not be held responsible for the current crisis at CSU campuses. “[Carter] has a long and distinguished record of service and commitment to higher education and he deserves the consideration and support of all senators,” stated Governor Brown’s spokesman Evan Westrup. Despite the fact that the Democrats dominate both legislative houses, Carter’s renomination was far from guaranteed since it required a two-thirds vote; the vote was eventually cancelled by Democrats after Republicans revealed that they would not supply the necessary votes.
“Since 1984, Herbert Carter has been near the center of every CSU pay hike scandal. The CSU trustees don’t seem to understand that their ‘compromise’ of setting a CSU’s president’s pay at $325,000 is insulting to California students, parents and taxpayers,” Senator Anderson wrote in a letter to Governor Brown. The compromise is a reference to a proposal brought up by Carter which sought to cap the pay of new executives at a salary 10 percent higher than their predecessor.
The issue of executive pay came to public attention when the Board of Trustees agreed to set a salary for Elliot Hirshman, San Diego State University’s new president, at $400,000 ($100,000 higher than his processor’s salary). The decision was especially criticized since student fees had recently been raised by 12 percent. Carter was amongst the members who approved of this decision, which consequently prompted outcry even from Democrats. Similar criticisms have been made in the past few years regarding UC regents’ decisions to increase the executive salaries of highly paid employees.