SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom voted Tuesday against giving the new chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley a $50,000 pay raise over what his predecessor earns, saying salary increases for public officials are inappropriate given the state's bleak financial condition.
The two politicians said during a meeting of the University of California's governing board that they fully supported the selection of Columbia University Dean Nicholas Dirks as Berkeley's 10th chancellor, and they joined the rest of the board in approving his appointment.
But both said they could not endorse his $486,800 base salary even though the bump in pay is expected to be covered through private donations. It passed without their backing with an 11-3 vote.
"I believe a $50,000 increase from the incumbent — even though the incumbent did not get a pay increase for several years — does not fit within the spirit of servant leadership that I think will be required over the next several years," Brown said. "We can all agree this issue is much bigger than anyone's salary, but I want to put my marker down."
The governor added that he made a commitment to voters who approved Proposition 30, which raises the statewide sales tax and boosts income taxes on the wealthy, that he would spend the state's money wisely. The University of California as a whole needs to be restructured as part of that process, he said.