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Executive pay capped at $325,000 a year by Cal State trustees

Corey Moore/KPCC

Faculty union members staged an informational picket last November at Cal State Dominguez Hills ahead of a planned one-day strike regarding faculty pay.

Trustees at California State University say they’ve heard the protests, loud and clear. The trustees are changing how much top executives get paid.

From now on, any new president of a Cal State school will make no more than 10 percent above his predecessor’s pay — and never more than $325,000 a year.

"Which I think gives a moderate and reasonable predictability to salaries moving forward," said trustee Lou Monville, "that both taxpayers, the Legislature and other members of the CSU can understand."

What many of those people didn't understand was why the incoming president of San Diego State received a $400,000 salary last year. That decision set off a wave of protests.

Trustee Gavin Newsom says that this new salary cap is not ideal, but it’s necessary.

"It’s frustrating, but at the same time we need to be competitive, Newsom said, "and I think what we did was appropriate and measured under the circumstances. Had we not made the amendment, I think there would have been, let me say respectfully, hell to pay."

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Cal State trustees approve limitations to executive pay

Corey Moore/KPCC

Faculty union members staged an informational picket Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Cal State Dominguez Hills ahead of a planned one-day strike.

At their Long Beach meeting Wednesday, trustees of the California State University voted to cap the salaries of incoming campus presidents.

Under the new rules, the incoming presidents of Cal State’s 23 campuses cannot earn more than 10 percent more than their immediate predecessors.

Executive pay became a big deal last year as students, faculty and California’s governor protested the $400,000 salary trustees had approved for San Diego State’s incoming president. That salary was 33 percent more than the previous president’s salary.

Cal State has calculated new presidents’ salaries based on compensation at a list of universities that included private institutions. Trustees approved a new list of comparable institutions they say are more similar to Cal State campuses.

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