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Brown urges trustees to rethink $400,000 pay for SDSU president

July 12, 2011 | 10:51 am

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the California State Association of Counties Legislative conference in Sacramento June 1.

Gov. Jerry Brown has sent a strongly worded letter to Cal State University trustees, expressing concern about a recommendation to pay the new president of San Diego State $400,000 a year -- $100,000 more than his predecessor. Trustees are scheduled to vote on the plan Tuesday at a meeting in which they will also consider another round of tuition increases.

Brown said he had reviewed the compensation study that Cal State officials have used to justify the planned package for San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman. "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," the governor wrote. "I reject this notion."

"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," he wrote in the letter, which was sent Tuesday to the trustees' chairman, Herbert Carter.

"These are difficult times and difficult choices must be made. I ask that you rethink the criteria for setting administrators' salaries."


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-- Rebecca Trounson

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the California State Assn. of Counties legislative conference in Sacramento on June 1. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press