With recession looming and tax revenues falling at an unprecedented rate, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the legislature are threatening draconian reductions in state spending, including closing state parks and releasing “low risk” prisoners. So far, though, it appears that University of California administrators are immune from any radical cost cutting. Take the case of Robert Sullivan, dean of UCSD’s Rady School of Management, which opened in 2005, offering master of business administration degrees to those yearning to make big money in the world of high-tech venture capital. Until recently, Sullivan was paid the relatively heady salary of $286,500. That amount, however, was apparently not enough. So last month UC regents, voting in closed session, approved a 19.7 percent raise to $342,800.

The unusually high boost was justified in a special report to the regents: “Mr. Sullivan has been actively recruited by another university,” it said. “He is a remarkable individual with the special talents and qualities needed to ensure that the Rady School of Management ranks among the world’s best management schools in the 21st century.” The memo’s rationale sounded similar to a letter Sullivan wrote to the Union-Tribune in January 2006 justifying an extra $248,000 in sabbatical pay given to his boss, UCSD chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “As someone who has known Chancellor Fox for 15 years, working with her at the University of Texas at Austin and also in North Carolina, I support the decision made by the university for recruiting her to UCSD,” Sullivan wrote. “When compared with the total compensation packages for chancellors and presidents at other public institutions reported in recent Chronicle of Higher Education surveys, her compensation is not out of line.”

At the same January meeting, the regents also approved smaller percentage boosts for three lower-paid administrators. Warren College provost Steve Adler got a 15.6 percent bump to $140,200; Thurgood Marshall College provost Allan Havis received a 17.4 percent increase to $144,300; and Mark H. Thiemens, the university’s dean of Physical Sciences, was given an 11.8 percent raise to $265,400. The extra pay was justified, the report said, because recent faculty pay increases had “significantly improved faculty compensation” and therefore the “Senior Managers’ salaries are not keeping pace with their adjusted professorial salaries.”

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