Double dipping and moonlighting at Cal Poly

December 1, 2011

Warren Baker


During a time of stagnant professor salaries, laid off lecturers, and increasing student tuition and fees, some California Polytechnic State University administrator compensations are increasing through raises, double dipping and moonlighting.

Former Cal Poly president Warren Baker is taking home about $572,622 a year for working part-time at Cal Poly, two directorships and his CalPERS retirement while another former CSU president, Robert Detweiler, is taking home $281,800 while working part-time.

Before Baker retired in 2010, his annual income for serving as the president of Cal Poly and two directorships was $538,724.

While serving as the highest paid university president in the California State University system with a salary of $328,000 a year, in 2009 Baker was also making an additional $210,724 in compensation for serving as director for John Wiley & Sons, Inc. – a publisher of higher education books – and Westport Innovations – a gas engine company in Canada, according to Forbes.

Known as elusive, Baker was rarely seen in his office; on a campus where parking space shortages can discourage the most determined student, Baker’s private spot often remained vacant. The Mustang Daily once offered a prize for any photo taken of Baker on campus. No one succeeded.

During the summer of 2010, Baker retired, was given a new office at Cal Poly, a new assistant and an increase in annual compensation.

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed gave Baker a new title, special assistant to the chancellor, with a yearly salary of $109,834 for working at least 18.5 hours per week, according to a July 2010 letter from Reed to Baker.

In addition to his CSU job salary, Baker receives $240,952 in CalPERS retirement and about $221,836 for his two directorships, according to the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility website. (While Baker is currently serving both directorships according the company websites, his last salary rate listed for Wiley John & Sons, Inc. is for 2010 and for Westport Innovations is for 2009.)

Another former CSU top administrator, Robert Detweiler, was formerly the president of CSU Dominguez Hills. He retired and was given the job of interim provost at Cal Poly in 2004. After a few years, he started teaching part-time for a salary of $50,701 on top of his annual retirement benefit of $189,000, for an annual compensation of $239,701, according to the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility website and the California state Controllers Office.

Detweiler is currently the interim Dean of the School of Education at Cal Poly working part-time at no more than 960 hours per year, said Stacia Momburg,  Cal Poly public relations spokesperson. He receives $100,800 for his current position plus his CalPERS retirement for a total yearly compensation of $281,800.

Meanwhile, CSU trustees voted to raise tuition by 9 percent last month, the second raise in a year. With increased fees and tuition, the cost of attending a CSU has more than tripled since 2002-03.

During the past two school years, CSU Chancellor Reed has spent about $6 million in award equity and pay raises to about 550 management employees. At the same time, Reed rejecting third-party recommendations to honor modest equity increases to almost 2,900 faculty members who were eligible for the program, according to the California Faculty Association website.

The CFA is currently asking members to approve a one-day strike on one or more of the CSU campuses because of issues with Chancellor Reed’s budget priorities.

“By prioritizing executive pay and perks over the needs of students, faculty and staff, Chancellor Reed has chosen a path that hurts the CSU and all of California,” the CFA says on its website. “Students are paying more for less. Meanwhile, we are working more for less.”

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Detweiler, was in effect, forced out as President of CSU Dominguez Hills.

From the LA Times: “Over the last year, the university (Dominguez Hills) has had a multitude of problems. The university was forced to borrow $441,000 from Cal State Fullerton to balance its books and an international recruitment effort fell nearly $500,000 short. Additionally, a $300,000 deficit in the Academic Affairs Department led to the cancellation of about 80 classes and the demotion of a top administrator”. There is a state Attorney General’s Office report on what happened.

His teaching position at Cal Poly was part of his retirement package. With that said, Detweiler actually does a good job of filling in on different vacancies IMO.

In the real world…

“We pay for results not for effort.” It doesn’t matter if someone is or isn’t ‘working their butt off’… it is the results that matter. If they –by virtue that they have a position of influence — can use that position to obtain a paid director’s position somewhere… that should be taken into account regarding their total compensation or disallowed.

Administrative salaries are out of touch with reality.

Yes. Administrative salaries are out of touch with reality.

So is $108k a year too much for an experienced PhD? Who should they hire then?

Administrative salaries are only part of the problem. The other part of the problem is the fact that the Cal Poly admin is extremely top-heavy. Worse yes, the system won’t change. These people take care of each other: they hire and promote each other and only their kind. And once you’re in the club, it’s apparently hard to get out. There are lots of high-ranking admin-types that are passed around between meaningless jobs and would be better off fired. David Conn, Cornel Morten, and Erhling Smith come to mind. These people would not last 10 minutes at a real job; they’d be fired. .