The Regents’ Task Force on UC Compensation, Accountability and Transparency released its review of compensation practices yesterday, issuing a recommendation to increase public accountability and transparency in the University’s payment policies.
In response to criticism raised by articles in the San Francisco Chronicle alleging that UC’s chancellors and executive employees were engaging in compensation improprieties, the Task Force issued a lengthy report that both acknowledged the problem and advised corrective measures.
The report was presented to the UC Board of Regents and Chairman Gerald R. Parsky at UCLA’s James E. West Alumni Center and was broadcast via teleconference to several other locations, including UC Davis and UC San Diego. According to a UC Office of the President press release, the report states that employee compensation practices at UC require additional transparency. It also makes 21 major recommendations to improve these practices.
“For the University to fulfill its responsibilities as a public trust, there must be an institutional commitment to public disclosure,” the press release said.
The report specifically asserts that UC policy “fails to specify consequences for violations or to contain adequate enforcement mechanisms,” and that the University had violated its own regulations by failing to document all the compensatory exceptions that were granted to UC executive employees – including the improper reception of extra benefits, paid leave and additional wages.
The report stresses the importance of the University’s ability to offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract and maintain superior faculty. UC spokesman Paul Schwartz echoed this concern.
“We must compete for faculty, staff and administrators and ensure that our programs are of the quality that the University is known for,” Schwartz said. “We must maintain the quality of the institution.”
In addition to remaining competitive in recruiting, UC President Robert C. Dynes emphasized in a statement the importance of public accountability.
“This honest and hard-hitting report represents a good roadmap for getting where we need to go in overhauling our compensation policies and practices,” Dynes said.
Though details about actual improvements are vague within the report, Schwartz said the Regents will now review the Task Force’s recommendations and begin considering which they will employ.
“The recommendations of the [Task Force’s] report and the findings if the upcoming audit reports will go to the Regents and be discussed with administrators,” Schwartz said. “[The Regents] will take a very comprehensive look at changes that need to be made in terms of the University’s policies and practices to ensure we are meeting public accountability and also make sure that our policies allow us to compete effectively.”
Parsky said in a UCOP statement that the Regents will commence implementation of the recommendations at their next meeting at UC San Francisco in May.