SACRAMENTO BEE: Viewpoints - We want it all; we just don't want to pay for it

February 01, 2012

By Bruce Maiman
Special to The Bee

A small victory for California taxpayers last week.

The CSU Board of Trustees unanimously adopted pay structure reforms for campus presidents. They include a salary cap, consideration of fiscal conditions before determining pay, and using pay scales in other states as a guide rather than a determining factor.

It appears Senate Bill 755, by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, was a determining factor in these concessions. His bill, with several provisions to address the CSU board's longtime tone-deafness, seemed poised for passage. With these concessions, Lieu withdrew his bill, though not as a quid pro quo, he tells me. If the board reverts to its previous behavior, he's prepared to reintroduce the legislation.

Now the bad news.

Last week, Sacramento County's retirement system approved pay raises of up to 22 percent for six six-figure executives. Raises like $130,000 to $147,000; $130,000 to $172,000; $175,000 to $198,000. Why? We're told salaries had fallen out of line with those at other public retirement systems in California, and that, without raises, the execs might leave for better paying jobs.

Gee, where have I heard that before?

The system has endured four straight years of budget cuts – cutting services, pay and jobs – yet it sees the need to increase the pay of the "1-percenter" executives who already rake in big bucks.

Last month, more than 400 legislative employees received pay hikes ranging from 3.6 percent to more than 7 percent, records show. We're told the aides hadn't seen pay raises in three years.