Regents Revise UC Rehiring Practices

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IRVINE-The UC Board of Regents instated stricter restrictions on the rehiring of retired UC employees yesterday, a practice which came under fire after UC Berkeley's police chief retired with a large lump sum package only to be rehired soon after.

According to the new policy, reemployment must only occur under unique circumstances and due to a pressing need, such as understaffing or the campus's inability to find an adequate replacement for faculty or staff.

Lawmakers criticized UC Berkeley officials earlier this year after UCPD Police Chief Victoria Harrison was rehired despite having retired with a $2.1 million lump sum package about a month before.

The new policy, which was approved by the regents yesterday, does not identify all circumstances in which an employee can be rehired as the university cannot anticipate all possible circumstances the campuses might encounter, said UC spokesperson Paul Schwartz.

Under the policy, UC campuses will be required to document the circumstances surrounding a re-hire. The documentation will be subject to

executive approval in cases with a

high-earning employee or one in the UC Senior Management Group.

Furthermore, the university will check in twice a year with campuses' officials, who will be expected to report on the current activity of rehired workers at their location, Schwartz said.

The rehired employee will also be limited to part-time status-no more than 43 percent of full-time work-and employment for no more than a total of 12 months.

While Harrison had drawn criticism for the deal, campus officials defended the retirement package, arguing that it accumulated in the same way as with other UC employees.

"Everything we did was completely by the book and completely consistent with policies," said Vice Chancellor-Administration Nathan Brostrom.

But Adam Keigwin, spokesperson for Sen. Leland Yee D-San Francisco, has said that the problem with prior re-employment deals is the lack of transparency.

"They seem to be these decisions made behind closed doors, and once it becomes public, it's already happened and it's too late to do anything," Keigwin said.

These situations, in which the case surrounding Harrison is an extreme, have been characterized by exorbitant compensation from salary increases or arrangements in which wages increased, he said.

Legislators such as Yee will back the new policy if it clearly addresses the issues of transparency and compensation and ultimately serves the community effectively, Keigwin said.

"The reason for our concern is making sure the university's actions are what's best for the taxpayer and students at the university," he said. "If they're clearly addressing those things, the policy is a step in the right direction and something the senator would be in favor of."


Kelly Fitzpatrick covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]

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