Controversy still brewing over CCSF administrative pay raises

Faculty and students gathered at CCSF Fri/24 to protest a proposal to raise administrative pay that continues to spark questions

A string of recent emails have led City College of San Francisco faculty members to believe that college administrators are already being paid according to the higher salary ranges that were proposed and then hastily withdrawn from an action agenda last week. Now, they're waiting for answers about a controversy that has only ballooned since Fri/24, when it seemed that a proposal to raise administrative pay had been brought to a halt and tabled for further discussion.

The retraction was made just as a protest by students and faculty members was getting underway. The recommendation called for increasing salary ranges for certain administrative positions by 19.25 percent, sparking an outcry from faculty members who have endured cutbacks in recent years. 

In an email that was widely circulated among CCSF faculty members, City College of San Francisco Chancellor Arthur Tyler seemed to imply that the recommendation was put forth to reflect current pay ranges – in order to comply with an audit requirement.

“We had not published an approved schedule that matched what people were being paid,” Tyler wrote in an email obtained by the Bay Guardian, which had a timestamp showing it was sent a couple hours after the Fri/24 protest and was addressed to Special Trustee Bob Agrella and several faculty members. “There wasn't any intent to increase Administrative pay.”

In another email obtained by the Guardian, Tyler wrote, “The existing salaries did not match the schedule which was outdated. That inconsistency needed to be fixed before the audit.”

Tyler’s explanation seemed to imply that the proposed higher salary ranges, for the classifications Vice Chancellor, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Technology Officer, had already gone into effect – even though they were higher than the formally approved pay schedule that can be found on CCSF’s website.

As of 5pm today (Tue/28), faculty members and reporters were still waiting for Tyler, Special Trustee Bob Agrella, and other top administrators to offer a clear explanation as to what, exactly, what was going on with this supposed pay increase.

“This is what I surmise from your email and other comments: This outrageous increase in pay for administrators listed is a fait accompli because you say the old pay scale is outdated for the upcoming audit. The employee who published did so innocently, thinking it was already known by the employees, since in the past there was a great deal of transparency in the policy changes here,” faculty member Patricia Arack wrote in an email to the chancellor that was widely circulated.

“I think it safe to say we are all very concerned about this divisive situation,” she went on. “The release of this pay scale has incited very strong emotions among employees, and I hope that you and Dr. Agrella, in the [swiftest] and most transparent way possible, confirm that the true administrator pay scale is the one currently online on the Pay Roll web page, and clearly explain why that pay scale released last Friday exists at all. All explanations have seemed very ambiguous to me. Please provide clarity so the speculations will cease and harmony can be restored and we can move forward to restore the reputation of CCSF.”

The Bay Guardian also sought clarity on this situation, but we have not yet received a response from CCSF administrators. Last we heard, communications director Peter Anning had forwarded our questions to Chancellor Tyler and Special Trustee Agrella and they were planning to respond.

Faculty members and students are scheduled to meet with Chancellor Tyler tomorrow, Wed/29, to discuss recent class cancellations. "This is not the time to close the door to students eager and willing to enroll at City College," organizers with AFT 2121 wrote in an email newsletter to CCSF faculty. "Displacing students undermines their confidence in our college and interrupts their educational progress."

In related news, Assembly Member Tom Ammiano introduced legislation Mon/27 seeking to “end undemocratic power grabs,” specifically the sort that stripped CCSF’s Board of Trustees of its voting powers.

Under the new system, Agrella, in his capacity as special trustee, can unilaterally make decisions that previously required the approval of the entire board. Approving the salary range modification on last week’s action agenda is one such example of what the special trustee may approve independently.

“Under a vague section of California code, the 17-seat Community Colleges Board of Governors has taken over faltering community colleges and effectively deposed the elected trustees of those colleges,” Ammiano’s office wrote in a statement announcing the proposed legislation. “They appoint a special trustee to make decisions in place of the elected board.”

Ammiano's bill seeks to eliminate arbitrary actions that can lead to the disempowerment of an elected board, by clarifying and restricting conditions under which the state’s Board of Governors may take control.

“Aside from being undemocratic, I think it’s pretty criminal,” Ammiano told the Bay Guardian in a phone interview. “People can vote people out, people can recall people, and acknowledge that they’ve made mistakes. But it’s very upsetting to think that some appointed board can capriciously remove duly elected people.”


were criminal. Clearly he's never spent much time in LA.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

LA is criminal.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 10:09 pm

L.A. is criminal.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

So lemme get this straight, the accreditors threaten CCSF's accreditation because of alleged long term fiscal irresponsibility and then the special trustee appointed to fix what the accreditors determine was wrong turns around and tries to raise administrator salaries which is probably fiscally irresponsible?

Posted by marcos on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

Yep, you got it!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 10:51 pm

When CCSF's new chancellor Tyler was made special trustee at Compton College, the then state chancellor Drummond's office provided this release:

SACRAMENTO and COMPTON, CA - This morning California Community Colleges Chancellor Mark Drummond installed Arthur Tyler, Jr., as Special Trustee for the Compton Community College District. Tyler, a highly respected and seasoned community college administrator, will act on behalf of the Chancellor to take appropriate actions as necessary to assist the district toward achieving fiscal stability and integrity. "Our first and foremost priority is to assure the fiscal health of the district so that students and the community continue to be well served by Compton Community College," Drummond said.

About a year later, the ACCJC, the same body that is threatening to close CCSF, decided to close Compton.
In their words:

“The serious and broad-based financial problems the institution was facing in 2004 which in part led to the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges in May of 2004 to suspend the authority of the Board of Trustees and substitute a “special trustee” to manage the affairs of the College, continue to this date.”

Exerpt from 2-3 pages

Tyler did not do the job he was hired to do at Compton. Now he is screwing up at CCSF. Thank you Special Trustee with Extraordinary Powers Bob Agrella for hiring Tyler. History seems to be repeating itself as tragedy the first time and tragedy again to the detriment of students, faculty and staff.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

Were there pay raises for administrators at Compton as well?

Posted by justice4all on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 8:44 pm

Tyler was brought in as Special Trustee to clean up the mess of the previous administration, and was succeeded by two more STs before ACCJC's Closure, when Compton was put under El Camino's CCD's administrative trusteeship by CCCCO.

Unlike at CCSF, Compton's administration had been using district funds for personal gain (i.e. corruption), and he was only there June 2004-January 2005, before the 2nd ST took over. Tyler did bring in a bunch of six-figure a year consultants, though. Any top administrators that worked for the CCC Chancellor's Office raises red-flags for me.

Worth reviewing Compton's governance agendas & minutes from his time there.

Posted by saintlennybruce on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 2:41 am

As I find myself in myriad meetings to help all of those who educate themselves, work and give their time to making the college the best it can be WHICH IS WHAT WE HAVE DONE ALL ALONG AT CCSF all point to the reality that CCSF is and has been for TWO YEARS NOW, under fire from political attacks. Our faculty, staff and student population has been and WILL BE, in future semesters: a college whose faculty and staff are committed to make the STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE the best it can be given the diversity of the student population of an urban area. We have been and continue to be a model of exactly what that is. A place where a citizen of AMERICA and those who come from abroad can learn to be a good citizen of the planet and be the best they can be in the field of their choosing.

What happens when you open the door for an arbitrary accrediting commission hell-bent on taking down a progressive-thinking faculty and citizenry who realize that the only way to a good and trustworthy society is to educate the people who live in that city, county, state, country to be the best you can be?

I have always thought that this builds the character of a true society. Not aiming at the best "buck" but one that makes a place for anyone, worldwide, to envy as a place to live. Every tourism brochure seeks to incline a population to move to to a particular place. WELL, you have to give someone a reason to relocate.

City College of San Francisco has seen NUMEROUS people from all over the world seek an education at OUR WONDERFUL COLLEGE.

Somehow, in today's data driven, number-crunching "productivity" model of making things work, this isn't enough.

Posted by DEEjay on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

"Remove duly elected people." --The corrupt DCCC elects/reelects the failed and "clueless" BoT's. Can you imagine returning power to the idiots that ran the place into the ditch. Ammiano and Pelosi are left wing crooks themselves taking up for their extreme left wing idiot friends like "Teflon John" Rizzo and Chris "Hot-check" Jackson. Why do you think City Cesspool is in such a mess. Thank goodness for term limits. At least we get rid of Ammiano next time around.

None of the failed and "clueless" BoT's have admitted that they made mistakes.

Don Griffin is a coward and refuses to address the issues he helped cause.

Remember the FCMAT report?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 7:33 am

"capriciously remove duly elected people"--The corrupt DCCC elects/reelects the BoT's. Can you imagine turning back over control to the failed and "clueless" BoT's.

Crooks like Pelosi and Ammiano are helping their extreme left wing "progressive" friends like "Teflon John" Rizzo and Chris "Hot-check" Jackson. Both profess to love CCSF so much, yet neither would be on the BoT's if they had won their bids for SF Supervisor.

At lease we won't have the idiot Ammiano when his term limits expires.

Why haven't we heard from the coward Don Griffin. He refuses to explain his culpability in this debacle.

Don't forget the FCMAT report! The failed and "clueless" BoT's are a bunch of clowns.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 7:46 am

A) The man is fighting brain cancer! Former Chancellor Don Griffin was the only competent, universally well-respected Chancellor of SFCCD with impeccable integrity in the past decade, as well as the only one with institutional memory, since Chancellor Day was forced out.

B) Former SFCCD Trustee Chris Jackson (2008-2013) resigned in November 2013. Chastising politicians for running for office is a pretty meaningless criticism in itself. If a Trustee is truly dedicated to public service, even if they have higher political aspirations, they can still try to do the best job they can while in office, based on THEIR priorities and values. If YOURS are different, run, or support a challenger's campaign. Personally agree that the Board could use a shake-up once they've regained power, but likely have different priorities from yourself.

C) Actually, the voting public of San Francisco elects SFCCD's Board of Trustees on staggered terms, so they can be voted out by the People, and should be if they are truly mismanaging the district.

D) CCD Board of Trustees elections are non-partisan in CA, but it makes sense that in an >80% registered Democrat city that many Dems would be elected. While I'm personally as skeptical of the Democrat Party as the next person (or more), ever since the SF Board of Supervisors composed enough SFDCCC members to warrant it, the SFDCCC has been complying with Ralph M. Brown Act & Bagley-Keene Act open meeting & public records laws, which is rare for a partisan County Central Committee, and allows public oversight.

E) Though not a huge fan of Pelosi, it is entirely because she does not govern as a progressive in the US House, rather as a neoliberal since becoming party leader for the House Dems. Rizzo may be an environmentalist, but he is also a neoliberal business Democrat.

Posted by saintlennybruce on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 3:52 pm battling brain cancer.

That's why Dr. Griffin resigned as Chancellor of CCSF.

Dr. Griffin worked his way up through the ranks at City College and is well-respected by his colleagues as a man of integrity and compassion.

I'd trade one Don Griffin for a thousand Dr. Agrellas.

Actually, I'd like to trade Robert Agrella for just about anybody else.

Remember: Pay cuts for the workers and 20% raises for "management". Because students always pick schools based on who has the highest-paid administrators, not because of the quality of the teaching.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 9:00 am

Cheap management is always bad. Maybe if we'd paid up for more talent earlier, CCSF would not have been the disaster that it is.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 10:58 am

The admins get a 20% pay rise and the faculty get a pay cut?

How do you think CCSF will attract quality teachers to replace the record number of faculty who are retiring this year?

Funny how people like you, who howl about a waste of the taxpayers' money, jump to defend increases for the executive class and cuts for the workers.

Just another lapdog, you are.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

insane healthcare and pension deals. And yet CCSF still sucked.

We tried the "throw money at CCSF staff" idea and it didn't work. Now it's time to bring in some professionals and see if we can salvage something from this mess.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

Bad management is even more expensive, esp. in the long-term.

Posted by saintlennybruce on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

wasting any more of the taxpayers' money, they will be worth twice the price.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

From my perspective most of the "mess" that "City Cesspool" is in right now is caused by the ACCJC acting as the attack forces of a political mentality that is against public education and emanates from the state CC Chancellor's office.
When education is seen primarily as a money making business, students get the short end of the stick.
No one, anywhere has said that CCSF's educational programs fall short in ANY way.
Having a "dictator" running CCSF instead of an elected board of trustees is the way that fascists like it.
Students can be squeezed out unless they attend full time and take out student loans, which are a great investment for groups like LUMINA, which are government backed, and which.are not forgivable under bankruptcy laws:
or they can attend for-profit schools where education is big business.
Dr. Griffin and the then Board of Trustees made decisions that kept classes available when money was short and made cuts in areas not immediately related to learning:- a "gutsy" move and, in retrospect is working out with state revenues rebounding.

Posted by Guest Conservative on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

People are quick to assign blame for this accreditation mess. But remember it is not about teaching quality, it is about $. CCSF is not a mess or an embarassment, it is a a great low cost learning environment and a reason I stay in SF. As a CCSF student I can report that the school is functioning right now. Students continue to seek learnng. Teachers continue to teach. It is simply wrong to close a school serving working people trying to better themselves, and for nonacademic reasons. California is wealthy, and when we see the city hosting a yacht race for rich guys, we have to wonder why money is so tight at CCSF that classes are overful and teachers made to accept pay cuts. Corruption is no reason to close it down. Any more than closing Wall Street or the US Senate or the SF board of Supes would help fix those places.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

Cost the City of San Francisco at least $500,000 (although a more honest estimate would be $3 million) *after* accounting for the extra tourist dollars that came in as a result of the America's Cup yacht race...

We have $500,000 for a rich boy's hobby but teachers are paid too much in the most expensive city in the United States? A studio apartment rents for $3500 in the Tenderloin for heaven's sake.

There are people who have been teaching 30+ years at CCSF who make $40,000 a year LESS than the starting salary of a 22-year old "software engineer" at Facebook.

Overpaid, huh?

So that was your Craigslist ad offering the Golden Gate Bridge for $20. Will you take an out of state postdated four party check?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

In a free market, what does it cost to replace them with someone who can do an equivalent job?

By that reasoning, one person can be overpaid at 40K, while another can be underpaid at 100K.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 03, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

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