Reports from the Standing Committees
Fiscal and Governmental Affairs Committee (FGA)
Praveen Soni (Long Beach), Chair
The FGA Committee accomplished much at this meeting, but the highlight was making contact via conference call for the first time with the Governor’s Department of Finance (DOF) - the department that assists the Governor in developing a first draft of next year’s state budget - which is presented on January 10. Subsequently, the DOF also assists with revising the budget in May after the filing of tax returns, prior to discussion and action by the legislature. There was a productive exchange of ideas and comments between the committee and representatives of the DOF. The meeting ended with a request for information from the committee on faculty views about online education as well as recognition by DOF folks that senate leadership should be invited to attend the next stakeholders meeting. The committee, in turn, requested the DOF folks to share with us documents pertaining to performance measures and the Governor’s long-term funding and performance plan.
It was the unanimous opinion of the committee that the first meeting was a success and we expect that such interactions will continue throughout the year and into the future.
Robert Turnage, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Budget telephoned from Sacramento and provided both a budget update and information regarding transition in personnel in the Division of Budget and Finance. Executive Vice Chancellor Ben Quillian’s position will be filled on a temporary basis by Sally Rausch of San Diego State University.
The CSU Board of Trustees (BOT) budget request for 2014-15 specifically includes monies for the hiring of up to 500 new tenure-line faculty and an allocation linked to student success, advising, and removal of bottlenecks. Turnage also stated that mandatory cost increases had been revised down to about $14 million from $20 million since it was difficult to forecast increases in energy costs. Thus, these costs had been removed and will be added on to next year’s budget. This is good news since mandatory cost increases must be met before all other CSU needs can be dealt with. (For comparison purposes, 2013-14 mandatory cost increases were $48 million).
The FGA Committee also heard from Andy Merrifield of the California Faculty Association (CFA). Merrifield reported that faculty members are scheduled to get a modest increase of $80 per month in compensation starting December 2013, retroactive to July 2013. He also provided an update on sunshine proposals in collective bargaining and reported that the results of the faculty survey regarding priorities for bargaining will be made public soon.
The committee worked on five resolutions incorporating comments from the September plenary. The first two resolutions are companion resolutions that deal with the adoption of Legislative Advocacy Principles and Guidelines designed to allow the ASCSU and its duly elected and appointed agents to become more agile and nimble in dealing with legislation on higher education, especially since the ASCSU does not meet often enough to respond frequently during the legislative session. The third resolution supports the CSU BOT 2014-15 budget request and thanks the BOT for specifically requesting more money for the hiring of tenure-line faculty to make the goal of 75% tenure density under ACR 73, a reality. The fourth resolution thanks the Office of the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees for assisting with the appointment of a faculty trustee, and urges the ASCSU leadership to work closely with the Chancellor to develop a mutually acceptable change in legislation that would ensure continued presence of a faculty trustee on the CSU Board of Trustees. Finally, the committee polished a resolution on commending Robert Turnage for his tireless service to the CSU. (See Resolution Summaries in this newsletter.)
The committee is starting to plan ASCSU/FGA Advocacy in Spring 2014. The date is likely to be in April, soon after the legislative recess. We intend to include the Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst’s Office on our visiting schedule this year.
Finally, we had a rich discussion, prompted by a summary handed out by Senator Ornatowski (San Diego), on the impact of global issues and trends on local education; we have shared the summary with the entire ASCSU for further input.