Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Abuse of Power

However, this time it's not the Bush Administration, fount' of all things bad in the country today, indeed the world, mostly perpetrated by the secretive and generally abominable DICK Cheney and his brutish minions.

No, this time I refer to the UC Regents, who approve the things described in a series of articles recently in the SF Chronicle.

Start
here, then go here, then here, then here, where a measure of questioning finally takes place.

I have a personal interest in this whole thing since I am a mid-level campus administrator. I can't complain too loudly lately because some breaks have gone my way. However, none of us had any breaks at all for years. I know some people on this campus who just got their first raise after nearly seven years. More and more students are having to consider dropping out because of the expense of attending. More and more employees are suffering layoffs, which is something no one around here ever had to worry about until about 14 years ago when the first such occurred, one of which happened to me.

Here we have people layering on the perks under that old saw about getting the best talent. Nonsense. With all the talented adminstrators lurking just below these levels in the UC system, are we supposed to believe that none of them, who could be paid at a much lower rate, are unable to fill these positions? About twice a year, we all get an email from the President of the system via Chancellor's Office. It always says a few words about a few major achievements (implying that we should all be proud because we've all contributed, etc.), then it says something about how things are slowly getting better, and no effort is being spared to see that the staff get major improvements. They know it isn't enough, but gosh darn it, they're trying their best, blah blah blah blah blahaaghghghagaaaagggghghghghghghg!!! We got one just recently, just before these revelations. Interesting timing, no? What did the president know, and when did he know it?

As you can see if you read those articles, it's major hogwash. As I said, breaks have gone my way lately. I've been lucky. So I shouldn't complain? Balls. That's the point. I had to get lucky to get anywhere. All my ability, hard work and honesty have mattered only enough for me to not get fired. Otherwise, those qualities have been as much worth economically over the years as dried ball of pony dung, slowly eroding in the winds that sweep across the Gobi. I can live without automatic cost of living raises as a consequence of a bad state economy, but it really is too much to have to swallow what these people have done when I couldn't even earn one fucking more dollar by being good at what I do and working hard at it and staying with it. On top of which, this place deserves better. It's a great institution staffed by professors who are brilliant, and provides an incredible education if you want it. As a result of this kind of greed, it's staffed by a staff that is deeply, thoroughly demoralized. Either the Jefes don't know, or they don't care. It's, it's...I don't know. I'm too pissed to put it clearly. Shame on all of them.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:20 PM  
Blogger Don said...

"Last fiscal year, UC paid 496 people more than $300,000, up 54 percent from two years ago."

That alone tells me how fucked up it is. There's just no fucking way either part of that makes sense. You have to be pretty damned amazing to be worth that kind of money. The only exception is in business, where high salaries can be justified by the profit principle. But UC is not a for-profit institution. They simply do not need that many people who "demand" that level of compensation. Not to denigrate their abilities, but what to they really do? What makes them worth any three of the more talented managers and directors in the business world? I say give them a choice between losing half their pay or staying on as consultants just long enough to train up people like you.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

"but it really is too much to have to swallow what these people have done when I couldn't even earn one fucking more dollar by being good at what I do and working hard at it and staying with it."

If I have learned one thing in my trade, it doesn't matter how good you are, how solid your attendance record is, or how devoted you are. No one wants to pay you what you're worth, and only a very few at the top make a lot of money for doing fuck-all. But then, I guess it isn't limited to just our businesses.

I have also learned that the more honest I am, the less likely I am to become a "success" (read "wealthy") in the construction industry.

Aggravating and I empathize....

5:00 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

I actually don't begrudge people in upper management high salaries, but these are indeed waaay too high for a non profit. Over the years, I have met several incredibly sharp individuals who could easily handle business on the systemwide level and I'd be surprised if they couldn't handle these jobs.

One of the most aggravating things is I've been here too long to quit, and I don't really have experience in anything else anyway. If I could afford it, I'd walk out of here and publish an open letter to the Regents in every major paper from the Fresno Bee to the Sac Bee to the SJ Mercury News, and maybe even the Washington Post, denouncing the whole thing.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

This is shaping up to be quite the scandal. I heard more about it on the radio on the ride home from work.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

You bet. The state legislature is making noises about investigations, hearings, and so forth. About bloody time, in my opinion.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

I've been reading about all this in the Chron, of course. His nibs, who taught at UCSB when dinosaurs walked the earth, sez academic perks are the way of the world, but these perks seem way out of line.

To whit,
In addition to his salary, he received a one-time relocation allowance of $125,000, plus $30,000 for six months' rent and a low-interest home loan.

There was more. He was reimbursed for his actual moving costs from Connecticut, and his family received round-trip airline tickets to go house-hunting in the Bay Area.


I question that $125K relocation allowance. Shouldn't that allowance have included the 6 mos. rent and the actual moving costs and the round-trip tickets to go househunting that were also paid for separately?

Isn't that what relocation allowances are for? Why did this new hire get a relocation allowance and 6 mos. rent and moving costs and plane tickets? What's up with that?

Sure, fine. Give the chancellors their houses. That's fine and a common thing at universities. The president's/chancellor's house belongs to the university and is a bribe to keep the chancellor living on campus with a big enough house s/he can throw parties for well-heeled alums. Stanford does the same thing.

(According to our older son, MRC Greenwood wouldn't stay at the chancellor's house on the UCSC campus because of um. well, because all the students knew where the chancellor's house =was=.)

I'm also amazed that the regents say they were not told about the breadth and depth of these compensation packages. If the regents aren't told ...

6:19 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

"I'm also amazed that the regents say they were not told about the breadth and depth of these compensation packages."

I am quite certain the Regents are lying. But yeah, I had that same question about the relocation allowance. It's basically a monster bonus...well over twice what I earn in a year just to shift his ass out west for a few months to try to locate the appropriate mansion. Jayzus, Mary and Joseph!

Nice portrait by the way. Is that a younger version of you?

10:20 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Oh yeah, Sal, I like the idea of your perch on Filbert Steps. That's one of my favorite parts of The City.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

Nice portrait by the way. Is that a younger version of you?

Far, far younger. Dorian Gray's portrait in the attic has nothing on me.

Here's a more current self portrait.

I'm usually the person behind the camera, you see, and when my pic's been taken, it's seldom solo. Let's see. [rummaging through photo archives]. Here's one, cropped to preserve his nibs' mysteriousness. Hair's pulled back because of the wind. I'm standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in June 2005, although you can't tell because le tour is to the left, behind his nibs, and got cropped out as well.

Oh, well!

12:08 PM  
Blogger Wiggy said...

I am quite certain the Regents are lying. But yeah, I had that same question about the relocation allowance. It's basically a monster bonus...well over twice what I earn in a year just to shift his ass out west for a few months to try to locate the appropriate mansion. Jayzus, Mary and Joseph!

All ll I can say is that I am not surprised about the levels of compensation that the higher eshelons of admin and the Regents are receiving. This has been one of my biggest beefs about public education: all the money pours in and the people who REALLY deserve it don't seem to receive it: a warped version of "trickle down economics"? WTF?

9:08 AM  
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