California State University trustees today approved a salary for the new San Diego State president that is $100,000 higher than his predecessor's -- despite receiving a letter this morning from Gov. Jerry Brown telling the board that its "approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service that we cannot afford."
Trustees voted 11-4, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Margaret Fortune, Melinda Guzman and Steve Glazer voting against the compensation package for Elliot Hirshman, who began earlier this month as the president of San Diego State. The package called for a salary of $400,000, with $50,000 of it paid for with private funds from the university's foundation.
Hirshman's predecessor, Stephen Weber, earned an annual salary of $299,435 at the end of his 14-year tenure at the helm of San Diego State.
Newsom argued that CSU shouldn't approve such a large pay increase on the same day it raised tuition for students. Before voting on Hirshman's compensation, the board approved a second tuition increase for the fall that will make undergraduate education about $1,000 more than it was last year.
"I caution us today with these two decisions, and I feel compelled to make this point," Newsom said. "There are plenty of people watching, and people we need as supporters."
Newsom said he had heard from two lawmakers earlier in the day who were concerned about the proposed salary hike. One of them, state Sen. Ted Lieu, posted his thoughts on Twitter:
"To CSU full board, let me be very clear: I will find it extremely difficult to vote to restore CSU funding if SDSU Prez salary is approved," Lieu wrote.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Trustee Melinda Guzman also voted against the compensation package for Hirshman, making the vote 11-4 in favor Corrected 1:56 p.m., July 13, 2011