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Cal State University System Bloats Up Bureaucracy

Monday April 24th, 2017   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:34am PDT   •  


As we recently noted, the University of California is spending $504 million on UCPath, a computer payroll system that was supposed to cost $156 million. UC bosses have spent $327 million on UCPath, but it remains four years behind schedule. That’s quite a performance by a university system that regards itself as the greatest in the world, and tasked with educating the best and brightest. In bureaucratic inefficiency, however, the UC is getting some stiff competition from the Cal State University system, the nation’s largest, with 474,600 students and more than 49,000 faculty and staff at 23 campuses.

According to a new report from California’s state auditor, Cal State is adding management personnel – vice presidents, deans and such – at double the rate of other employees, including faculty, 15 percent to seven percent. While bulking up on non-teaching bureaucrats, Cal State bosses are also hiking management pay. According to the auditor, “at one campus at least 70 management personnel received raises totaling more than $175,000 annually and were not supported by current written performance evaluations, and another campus improperly classified eight assistant coaches as management personnel to increase their salaries.” And they say to themselves, what a wonderful world, but there’s more. “Many campuses cannot demonstrate that they are adequately monitoring their budgets,” and “state law exempts CSU from many budget oversight mechanisms applicable to other state agencies.” The state does not “require CSU to specify how it used state appropriations to improve student success.” So none of the spending is tied to actual achievement, and accountability is nowhere in evidence.

In the wake of the auditor’s report, CSU chancellor Timothy White explained, “it is important to recognize the CSU’s management staffing levels and administrative costs are lower than other similar higher education institutions both within California and nationally.” In other words, other places pay more, so we must have it too, regardless of need or merit. This is the sort of thing one would expect from a teenager complaining about her allowance, and all too typical of California government.

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April 2017