After two decades of mismanagement, the huge cost of digging out of the financial hole threatens to undermine the heart of the nation’s greatest public university system. Clearly, it’s time to rethink priorities — and re-examine the culture under which everyone, from faculty to staff secretaries, enjoys the same benefit structure.

The top-rate tenure-track faculty and the great minds at the medical centers must be retained. Without them, UC would be just another ordinary collection of colleges. Yet those elite comprise less than 15 percent of the employees in UC’s pension system.

Not to sound too harsh, but the other 85 percent are fungible. If they don’t like their salaries and benefits, they can be replaced. To be sure, we appreciate the work they do. However, UC, in its quest to preserve the best and the brightest, can no longer afford to offer the same packages to the rest of its employees...

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