Pension “reform” at UC — links and comments

May 21st, 2010

This post provides links to several statements on possible changes to “post-employment benefits” at the University of California. Public sector pensions are in the news and there is much coverage in the traditional press. I only reference a few of those items when they are particularly relevant tothe situation at UC. Everything else has a narrow focus on UC itself.

(April 23, 2010) Letter from Berkeley’s Committee on Faculty Welfare analyzing several of the likely proposals and stating its opinions on them. (4 page PDF)

“Can States Fix Their Pension Problems?”, opinion pieces from the New York Times (May 20, 2010). Interesting statements by 9 experts (list growing). Possibly the most relevant for the UC situation is this:

“In contrast, in good times many states and municipalities speculated that their funds would earn high rates of return so they could contribute less: their taxpayers, by the way, benefited in the short-term and shouldn’t complain now that it is payback….” [Quote from Teresa Ghilarducci, emphasis added.]

(April 2010) The Senate Source: “Changes to Post-Employment Benefits under Discussion” [pdf]

(April 2010) Dan Simmons: “Glossary of Post Employment Benefits and Design Options” [15 page pdf] (Although Dan, the Vice Chair of the Academic Senate, calls this a “glossary”, it is much more. If you need one introduction to the current situation, the issues, and possible solutions, this is it.)

Webcast of the November 2009 forum at UC Berkeley.

Powerpoint slides from the above [PDF version]

Quicktime video of the April 2010 fourm at UCSF.

Powerpoint slides from the above [PPT version]

Will fee increases reduce diversity?

December 21st, 2009

One of the major complaints about the coming increases in fees (tuition to non-UC types) is that there will necessarily be a reduction in the percentage of under-represented minorities. Take this statement, for example:

“Student fees are detrimental to access, affordability and diversity in our system,” said Victor Sanchez, president of the University of California Students Association. “We have reached a point to which the University of California can no longer call itself affordable.”

Source: (Sept 16, 2009)

While this may sound reasonable, it is not correct. The UC “Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan” covers systemwide fees for undergraduates with family incomes under $70,000 (in 2010-11; $60,000 currently). This includes approximately 75% of African-American and Latino students who are California residents.

Union comment on UCRS: “We won’t pay without a say”

December 21st, 2009

From the SF Chronicle, Feb 9, 2009 story about a Regents meeting:

Although the changes dominated the meeting, few members of the public addressed them. Most, instead, were angry about soon having to contribute to their retirement fund without being represented on the pension board.

“We won’t pay without a say,” they chanted.

One protester was Ellie Corley, 72, an administrative assistant in the UC controller’s office who has worked at the university for 33 years and makes $35,000 a year.

She got laid off in January and will leave in March.

“The university talks about equity and inclusion,” Corley said. “I’ve never seen it.”

I do not know Ms. Corley or her employment history, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation is that she will retire with approximately 105% of her salary from the defined-benefit part of UCRP and Social Security (assuming she elected Social Security when that was an option). More

Welcome to UC truth

December 21st, 2009

This website has been created to inform interested observors about some of the controversial issues concerning the UC budget, student fees and access, salaries and fringe benefits, and retirement plan issues. I shall try to set up separate sections to deal with each topic.

You can navigate this website using the tools on the right or with the links below. I plan to combine “posts” and “pages”. I’ll start posting items and then continue then to the topical pages. If this works as expected, you can also navigate by following the “more” links at the end of the longer posts. (At least at the start, ignore the posting dates as I am catching up with several items collected over the past few months.)

Two warnings:

  1. I am learning to use this software, so expect broken links, wierd categories, etc.
  2. My spelling is hap-hazard at best.

Quick links: