A group of highly paid executives at the University of California has adopted an unseemly attitude best described as "gimme, gimme." Although each of them already earns at least $245,000 a year, along with generous pension benefits, they're threatening to sue if the university, which has imposed hefty tuition increases on its students over the past two years, doesn't give them more.
The Board of Regents clearly intended, back in 1999, to give its highest-paid administrators a retirement boost by asking the Internal Revenue Service to lift a cap on pension benefits for those earning the biggest salaries. If the IRS agreed, the regents said, the president and two members of the board would come up with a plan for implementing the higher benefits.
The cap was lifted in 2007. Different year, different world. By then, the state's financial woes were beginning to put its public colleges in a stranglehold. Now, no one is implementing any plans that increase costs. Instead, the university has chopped course offerings, recruited more out-of-state students who pay higher tuition, raised in-state fees and reduced pension benefits for rank-and-file employees. UC is rightly balking at granting additional retirement perks to people who are sitting pretty with salaries of several hundred thousand per year and pensions of close to $100,000 a year once they retire after 15 years of service.