Retired Pomona campus prez ‘transitions’ to new life

Former Fresno president Welty is not the only past-CSU-campus-president to get well in excess of $200,000 for a year of “transitioning” to a new life.

In Welty’s case, it was a $223,000-salaried transition year so he can now teach a class at the Desert Sun satellite campus of CSU San Bernardino, where his wife is a dean, for a comely $149,000. 

Last week, the CSU Trustees University & Faculty Personnel Committee granted a one-year transition salary of $226,987 to newly-retired Cal Poly Pomona President Michael Ortiz.

As the Trustees’ minutes point out, “Trustee policy provides for an executive transition program for individuals appointed into an executive position between November 18, 1992 and November 14, 2006.”

The policy, begun under past-Chancellor Barry Munitz, was written into promises to top executives hired during that time period and apparently cannot be rescinded.

The policy ended in 2006 after much public criticism including a CFA lawsuit against the program, although a replacement “Executive Transition Program” with slightly changed benefits is still in effect. It remains a nice perk using university funds for a handful of very highly paid people.

The committee notes explain, “Duties during his [Ortiz’] transition assignment include:

  • To continue representing the CSU on the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities  Board through the end of his HACU term (November 2015)
  • To be available at the request of the new president of Cal Poly Pomona for advice and counsel on issues pertaining to the university
  • To assist CSU San Bernardino at the request of the president with enrollment, academic and philanthropic matters
  • To be available to the chancellor and other system vice chancellors for advice and counsel on matters pertaining to the California State University”

An editorial in the Desert Sun newspaper summed it up: “The public should have little sympathy for a university system whose leaders decry the constant battle for state funds while it lavishes its top administrators with what appear to be garish ‘working retirement’ plans.”