ARTICLE FOR SPRING 2011 NEWLETTER--Alan Kirshner, President UFO
I sat at a Faculty Senate meeting the other day and listened to President Browning talk about the various possible levels of our budget crisis--and, mark my words we do have a budget crisis that will either be bad or disastrous. At one point she said that anything we add to our budget now just digs a deeper hole in the budget that becomes much more difficult to fill in the future. Disconnect!
I sat at the Board of Trustees meeting the other night and listened to Nick Nardorlillo present an articulate analysis of the causes of our present financial crisis. Among the things he touched on were the outrageous salaries presented to those on Wall Street and in the Boardrooms. Disconnect!
How can we change the mentality of those on Wall Street or those in the Boardrooms when the same mentality prevails at the local school districts--that even when there is no money for the students they can find loads for themselves and the elite few? Oh, there is always a rationale--fairness, irreplaceability or equal pay for equal work. Reality--no--Disconnect!
The scary part is our District is not alone. Other Districts, during this economic crisis, have also given outrageous increases in compensation to their CEO's. And, yes, with the same argument, bringing them up to the median of like Districts. So as the CEO's raise to a mystical median the median raises as well and soon a new round of CEO negotiations begin.
On March 21, 2011, The Sacramento Bee published an article titled, "Chancellors' pay leapfrogs in race to the middle." The author asked, "But the middle of what?" She continued: "Mathematically, the median is the point in a group of numbers at which half are higher and half are lower. But because California does not keep track of what community college leaders are paid, an accurate ranking is hard to come by." Statistics and further details followed as the column progressed.
I can't help but wonder if the individuals the CCC]] CEO's hire to negotiate or to advise them on their new contracts decided to present the same arguments to all the Boards. Or, do the Board members discuss strategy on selling the contracts to the minions at the breakout sessions at their State conferences. Since two of the Chancellors mentioned in the article are woman, I wonder if their community members were told it was an equity issue as well. From the article, I do know that each Board justified the need to provide their CEO's with large increases in compensation, despite the budget deficits, due to their outstanding accomplishments and their phantom fear (ok--my words) that they would lose them to another college.
I can say that we have one of the best Boards in my 40 years at Ohlone.
I have no doubt they mean well. Yet, for almost all the members there seems
to be a disconnect. Perhaps they do realize that their action and that
of our CEO have alienated the minions. No, not only because they dug a
new hole in the budget, but they ignored the expansive contributions of the
faculty. Despicable Me and Megamind (recent animated films) took a long time
it--that the minions were the foundation of their power and more likable.
Your UFO Executive Committee followed your call to write a letter to the
Board. Ninety-eight percent of those of you present (180 faculty?) at our
General Membership Meeting insisted that the Board needed to connect. I
do not know if we awoke the Board or reminded the Board and the Administration
of all that we have done and, of course, that we are likable minions. If
you have not read the letter, it can be found at our new UFO website: http://www2.Ohlone.edu/org/ufo.
From the myriad of e-mails the UFO Executive Board received praising the
letter, I know you appreciated what we told the Board of Trustees and indirectly,
the Administration. The UFO Executive Board was your voice of frustration
explaining to the Board that we were the leaders behind the success of Measure
G as we created the extremely positive image our college has in the community.
Sure a near 14% increase in compensation would be nice to say thank you--however, speaking for myself, I would like to hear those disconnected say publicly that they goofed. They need to apologize for digging a new hole in the budget. I would love to hear them thank us for our letter. I would love to hear the disconnected recognize point by point the contributions mentioned in the letter that we, the minions, have made. I am tired of hearing and reading rationals for their actions and asking us to thank them for what they have done for Ohlone. Don't tell me what I must do at the State or Federal level. Clean-up your own house and then I can listen. Then you will be able to connect.