Senate confirmation uncertain for Cal State board chairman
Suspense is building over whether the chairman of the California State University Board of Trustees will be able to win Senate confirmation this month because of his role last year in granting administrative pay raises while also raising student fees.
Chairman Herbert L. Carter needs at least two Republican senators to join the Democrats and give him the two-thirds vote needed for confirmation, but GOP leaders signaled this week that they may oppose the nomination. Carter did not get any Republican votes in the Rules Committee on Wednesday; Sen. Jean Fuller of Bakersfield voted against him, and Sen. Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga abstained.
Carter was nominated to a second term on the board by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011 and must be confirmed within one year to keep the chairman's post.
With a vote required by Feb. 29, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has asked Brown what he wants to do with the nomination, Steinberg spokeswoman Alicia Trost said Friday. The governor's options include lobbying Republicans for the needed votes or withdrawing the nomination.
Carter was part of the board votes last July that hiked student tuition by 12% while also agreeing to pay a new president at the San Diego campus $400,000. Even Brown questioned pay levels at the time and asked the board to "rethink" the criteria used to set executive pay.
Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar said the Senate Republican Caucus shares Brown's concerns about Cal State executive pay.
"I cannot recommend that Trustee Carter's nomination be confirmed by the Senate until such time as Californians see real evidence that the CSU Trustees are making the tough decisions needed to control escalating costs that are being passed onto students and their families," Huff said Thursday. He would not say whether the GOP Caucus is united in opposing Carter.
Cal State spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp acknowledged that Carter's chances of confirmation are uncertain. "We are seeing what we can do. We would need some votes to change,'' Uhlenkamp said.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Cal State Chancellor Charles B. Reed listens as Board of Trustees Chairman Herbert L. Carter, right, addresses his colleagues. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times