Gov. Jerry Brown has sent a letter to California State University trustees asking them to reconsider plans to give the new president of San Diego State a salary that would be $100,000 higher than his predecessor's.
The board is gathered in Long Beach today to take up a number of issues, including setting compensation for Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State, and raising student tuition by 12 percent.
CSU Chancellor Charles Reed is asking the board to set Hirshman's salary at $400,000. His predecessor, Stephen Weber, earned an annual salary of $299,435 at the end of his 14-year tenure.
Brown, in a letter to CSU board chairman Herbert Carter, said he was concerned about "the ever-escalating pay packages awarded to your top administrators."
"I fear your approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service that we cannot afford," the governor wrote.
He wrote that he had reviewed a study CSU commissioned to examine executive compensation. The study found that CSU's top administrators make less than those at comparable institutions.
"The assumption is that you cannot find a qualified man or woman to lead the university unless paid twice that of the Chief Justice of the United States. I reject this notion," Brown wrote.
"At a time when the state is closing its courts, laying off public school teachers and shutting senior centers, it is not right to be raising the salaries of leaders who--of necessity--must demand sacrifice from everyone else."
Brown asked the board to "rethink the criteria for setting administrators' salaries."