Sacramento Update

Legislators go after #JanetNapolitano’s secret cash

Janet Napolitano’s racketeering enterprise at the UC may be coming to an end.

The revelation that the University of California president’s office kept $175 million in secret funds and paid executives and staff extra-fat salaries has led state lawmakers to wag their fingers furiously at UC leaders in recent days.

Some held a hearing. Others called for subpoenas. One proposed a new law.

But unlike California State University — where lawmakers can order changes to how CSU does business — UC is largely immune to the wishes of the Legislature.

Why? Because 138 years ago, state leaders transformed UC into its own, separate branch of state government “equal and coordinate with the Legislature, the judiciary and the executive,” as California Attorney General Edmund G. “Pat” Brown characterized Article IX, Section 9 of the state Constitution in 1957.

“The autonomy from more than 100 years ago is a worn-out strategy that doesn’t work anymore,” said state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, who is proposing a constitutional amendment that would punish UC whenever it pays administrators too much.

Galgiani said she has long been frustrated by the regents’ “tone deaf” decisions to raise pay while cutting student services, and to give highly paid administrators even more money. But she said it was state auditor Elaine Howle’s probe of UC President Janet Napolitano’s office, released April 25, that prompted her to introduce her bill last week.

Galgiani’s bill to rein in the university is one of many such efforts by lawmakers and governors over the years to get around UC’s hard shell of autonomy and take aim at its soft underbelly.

The weapon is money.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

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Categories: Sacramento Update

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