UC President To Revise Severance Pay Terms
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Category: News > University > Higher Education
UC President Mark Yudof announced in a statement yesterday that he intends to revise the terms of the voluntary separation program mandated by the UC Office of the President in January 2008.
Originally launched to reduce spending by the central administration, the separation program currently allows Office of the President employees to receive a severance package upon leaving their positions and to be re-employed elsewhere in the university with no change to the package.
"I and the regents recognize this may appear to the public as an objectionable use of resources even though the program is reducing our central administrative spending," Yudof wrote in the statement.
Yudof said that if the program is offered again, it will include provisions requiring employees who have been rehired by other departments in the university to repay a proportion of their buyout.
The proportion would be determined by the length of time elapsed between when the employee left the Office of the President and when he or she was rehired.
Yudof's statement comes roughly two weeks after UC Berkeley's Associate Chancellor Linda Williams received more than $100,000 in a severance package from her previous position in the Office of the President.
Williams served as associate president to former UC President Robert Dynes from October 2003 to April 2008 before becoming UC Berkeley's associate vice chancellor of government, community and campus liaison this May.
She was the only UC employee out of 155 program participants who received a buyout package exceeding $100,000, a figure determined by the university based on her years of service and previous salary.
Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles said Williams should return her severance package to the university because it should never have been issued given the state's budget constraints.
"You shouldn't get money in your back pocket to walk across the hallway. The money should be used for the fullest extent possible for the benefit of students," she said. "It really is very hard for us as legislators to see these administrators increase tuition rates for students year after year while they get all the perks."
This is not the first time that the university has fielded criticism for its rehiring and executive compensation policies. During his tenure as president, Dynes was found to have violated compensation policy on at least 22 occasions, including 17 instances of failure to obtain regental approval for elements of compensation packages.
State legislators also criticized the campus for rehiring UCPD Police Chief Victoria Harrison about a month after she retired with a lump sum package of about $2.1 million.
If Yudof's unofficial proposal to restructure the separation program is implemented, employees like Williams-who already accepted the terms of the previous program-will retain their severance packages, Yudof said.
Dan Mogulof, the campus's executive director of public affairs, said a change to the program should only be considered if it would ultimately better the public interest.
"Any policy that assures the public that the university and all of the campuses are the best possible stewards of public resources can only be a good thing," he said.
Deepti Arora covers academics and administration. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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