Thursday, March 24, 2016

Listen to the Regents session of March 23, 2016 (AM & PM)

As promised, we have preserved the audio from the March 23, 2016 session of the Regents. Links to the morning and afternoon session are below. (Scroll down for links.)

The morning session of the Regents dealt mainly with the intolerance/anti-Semitism resolution of the Regents and the Tier 3 plan for the pension. It might be noted that the politicos (ex officio Regents) were nowhere to be seen, given the potential contention. The public comments session was largely devoted to those two issues. Also mentioned were student fees, divesting from Wells Fargo (because of its doing business with private prison firms).

There were interruptions when UC prez Napolitano gave her report and the live stream of the meeting was briefly switched off. (We edited out the silence during that episode on the link below.) Faculty rep Dan Hare provided a list of potential perverse behavioral effects of the new pension tier. The Committee on Educational Policy then took up the intolerance/anti-Semitism report. But an amendment to the report – which we posted about yesterday – averted the potential contention and the report was adopted by the Committee unanimously. There was then a session on mental health staffing issues.

The pension issue at the Committee on Finance was more contentious but not much more so. All the Regents who were present, except Pérez, were happy with the proposal. The UC prez acknowledged that cutting the value of the pension was a cut in total compensation and that something – which she said she would come up with at a later (unspecified) meeting – would need to be done about salaries, recruitment, and retention. As noted, Pérez (who is not a member of the Committee) was apparently the only Regent who will vote against the new tier. His objection was to the defined contribution (DC) option to be offered as an alternative. Pérez, who had been Assembly Speaker when the so-called PEPRA cap was adopted for non-UC public pensions indicated that a DC option had been expressly rejected for the other pensions. He opposed UC offering one because it transferred risk to individual employees which, as individuals, they were ill-equipped to handle. Pérez noted that a traditional pension pools risk so that individuals are not affected by swings in the stock market. There were also objections expressed to the differential in the DC supplement (offered with the defined-benefit option) between faculty and staff. It also came out that permission from the IRS will be needed before the DC-only option is offered. Members of the Committee on Finance adopted the new tier unanimously.

The Committee on Finance then approved a payment for a settlement with a construction firm involved in building the new UCLA Santa Monica Hospital.

The (open part of the) afternoon session was devoted to the Dept. of Energy labs, especially Los Alamos.

Link to the morning session: (Note: The sound quality streamed was distorted but understandable at the beginning.)
Link to the afternoon session: (Note: The first few minutes of the stream were sent without audio. The recording below starts when the audio began.)

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