Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dean Edley Says to UC: Give Me More Money

The UC's highest paid individuals are asking the Regents to make good on a 1999 promise to extend executive benefits along with the IRS imposed ceiling. In 2007, the IRS allowed executives making over $245,000 year (roughly 4 times the median CA income, for those of you keeping track) to increase their benefits and still keep them out of that dreaded top tax bracket. Now, Dean Edley, and 35 other UC employees want their already handsome pension plans increased further to keep in line with the new cap (enriching themselves while avoiding paying "excess" taxes).

Of course, this request ignores the fact that the UC's pension fund has a $21.6B gap in funding and this request would only exacerbate that gap. Where will the money come from? Maybe from more layoffs for UC employees making the least and more fee hikes (since that seems to be how the UC continues to deal with its budget issues). Instead of sucking it up (like Dean Edley continues to suggest we do at town hall meetings), these executives have said in their letter to the Regents that it would be "highly demoralizing" to not receive these extended benefits.

There are only two executives from UC Berkeley asking for this increase: Dean Edley and Dean Richard Lyons, of Haas.

I'd love to hear Dean Edley explain how continuing to raise student fees and tuition, plus a $21.6B shortfall in existing pension obligations equals the "ethical" outcome of him getting more money. This isn't 1999, Dean Edley. The country has been hit by a continued financial crisis that has plunged many into bankruptcy. It has weakened the job market. It has forced most of us making below the top 5% in the United States to adjust our budgets and our ways of living to meet new financial realities. But, I guess if you're on top, you have the power to just keep holding your hand out and demanding what's yours. 'Tis the season, as they say.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. But I'm only surprised by this in a somewhat limited capacity:

It seems that over the last 2.5 years I've been at Boalt, Dean Edley's credibility among progressive students has really plummeted. I know in the past he's had a good reputation, but the way he's dealt with tuition hikes, the contempt he's shown for his students at town halls, and his silence on a number of important issues has really eroded that. I've lost a ton of respect for him, and I think many other students have, too.

Which is to say, the letter itself doesn't surprise me in the least anymore.

But what DOES surprise me is how utterly tonedeaf it is. However spineless you think Dead Edley is, he's always been at least a competent politician. I'm more aghast that Edley thought people would be okay with him sending something like this. Terrifying how out of touch he is...

12/29/2010 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate Dean Edley.

12/29/2010 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Dean Edley, I will gladly pay more and more money so you can make more money than I'll ever earn.

12/29/2010 2:38 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I like Dean Edley.

I'm not exactly sure how to value his “credibility among progressive students” but I do have a rough idea of the market value of his professional skills. He could wander into the private sector with his eyes closed stumble over far, far more money than any of us could shake a stick at. That he prefers to continue managing our public school (and with enormous success, naysayers notwithstanding, as anyone who attended Boalt before about 2005 will tell you) matters a great deal more to me than his “credibility among progressive students,” most of whom will happily put their progressive views on the back burner for the first BigLaw paycheck they are offered.

The topic has been beaten to death on this blog and elsewhere but if the complaint is that he is somehow not “bona fide” enough, well, neither are many of the boalties who grumble about it.

12/29/2010 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BigLaw schmucks aren't really progressive.

And if Edley wants more money, maybe he should go to the private sector. I wouldn't care one bit if he were gone.

12/29/2010 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The school used to be TERRIBLE(!!!!) so SHUT UP!" isn't really a strong argument, Patrick.

12/29/2010 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


'"The school used to be TERRIBLE(!!!!) so SHUT UP!" isn't really a strong argument, Patrick.'

Yes, but it is backed by some truth.

As a non-progressive biglaw shill, I'm glad to see DE is willing to say that top talent (which he is) should be compensated commensurate with what the market bears. Whether that makes the progressive community uneasy is not my concern.

12/29/2010 5:29 PM  
Blogger James said...

It's not about fair executive compensation (and he's obviously being fairly compensated). It's about his consistent appeals to all of us to understand the CA financial situation on one hand, while signing on to a demand letter that completely disregards the current state of the economy. We're not asking Dean Edley to do what is selfish, we're asking him to do what is right.

I think Dean Edley loses credibility among all students because of these demands. Progressive or not, the economy has made it more difficult for everyone to get jobs. Despite this, Edley is demanding the UC schools increase their pension gap to his benefit, an act that will have an impact on student fees, including those at Boalt. This goes beyond fees good/rankings bad. Edley is asking for something he doesn't need at the expensive of the UC system, while telling students to pipe down and pay more.

12/29/2010 5:48 PM  
Anonymous David said...

As an alum, I'm extremely disappointed to see Edley join in this letter. Leaving aside the legal question of whether there's an enforceable agreement, the letter writers also make a moral and ethical case, threatening to be "demoralized" if they don't get more money. Tuition hikes, staff furloughs, a bankrupt state government, and a tanking economy - how tone deaf can you be?

Makes me sick.

12/29/2010 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck you, Dean Edley.

12/29/2010 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dean Edley is a lying, hypocritical piece of shit. The "talent" and "professional skills" that the neanderthals think he has are subjective and not quantifiable. Anyone with half a personality and an 11th grader's understanding of math could do the job he did in "turning" the school around. It's funny how setting up a Ponzi scheme as the law school's funding model is considered a "turnaround" by the mouth breathers.

Progressive, conservative it doesn't matter. Edley is a conniving piece of garbage any way you slice it. He says once thing and does another. It's actually hilarious that he's conned so many for so long.

12/29/2010 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, because it's so easy to convince donors to give money to a "public" school, to fend off the legislature and the Regents, to deal with the faculty, and to appease students.

Plans that are simple in theory can be somewhat more difficult in execution. Our school's cadre neo-revolutionary progressives offer simple utopia solutions, safe in the knowledge that they will never be held accountable for results.

12/29/2010 10:06 PM  
Blogger Jackie O said...

It sure isn't 1999, but we can all party like it is. Or at least Dean Edley can.

12/29/2010 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the poster above: You know what will make it easier to convince people to contribute money to Boalt? Front-page articles about how the Dean is threatening to sue the Regents --- URGENTLY reminding them of their "ethical" obligations --- to pay him more money.

Given the amount of debt I'm currently in, I probably wouldn't be making a contribution any time soon. But were I on the fence, Dean Edley would have put be squarely in the, "Are you fucking kidding?" category. Not the kind of thing that gives one a lot of confidence in the school's leadership.

12/29/2010 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is way out of proportion. Those who bothered to read the article know Dean Edley is only one of dozens of people in the UC system who signed the letter. Dozens. It may be right and it may be wrong but it is not just DE against the world.

12/29/2010 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, this is a boalt blog, so it's only natural to be discussing Edley, rather than the rest of them. Also, I'd venture there are a whole lot more top executives who would benefit from the increase, but who chose NOT to sign. I wonder why.

12/29/2010 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't fully understand this. Is Edley asking for extra money or is he asking the UC to pay him what they promised?

12/30/2010 1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edley sure wasn't around in 1999 so no one promised him a thing.

12/30/2010 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

". . . some pigs are more equal than others . . ."

12/30/2010 2:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same Dean Edley who fought tooth and nail to defend J. Yoo? On ethical grounds? Bless him for being so consistently ethical!

12/30/2010 2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things:

1) Edley was one of only two people at UCB to sign this outrageous letter. So, yes, it's fair to single him out.

2) Here's part of what's so outrageous about it. I was one of the students who met with Dean Edley last year to ask him to sign on to a letter that close to 500 Boalt Hall students signed to AG Holder asking for a prompt release of the DOJ report on Prof. Yoo. It was an extremely tame letter --- balanced, not pointing fingers, etc. --- and Dean Edley agreed to sign it.

A couple weeks later, having heard zero from Dean Edley, we met with him again to ask what was happening. His answer was (verbatim), "Oh, did you think we had a binding CONTRACT that I'd sign it. Sorry." His big explanation, though, was that he NEVER signed on to group letters. He didn't think it was becoming of a dean of a law school.

Whatever you think of Prof. Yoo --- and I don't want to sidetrack the conversation here --- it was a wildly insulting backtrack. And what makes it all the more flabbergasting that apparently he's more than happy to sign onto group letters when it's his bloated paycheck he's fighting for.

12/30/2010 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a simple solution: simply dismiss all those who signed the letter demanding increased pensions...they are all "at will." Send 'em packing!

12/30/2010 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see Dean Edley fired. :)

12/30/2010 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 points:
1) I think it is appropriate to single out Dean Edley considering no other Dean of a law school signed the letter (UCLA, UC Hastings, Davis, Irvine), and as previously mentioned in the comments, only 2 Deans from UCB did so.

2) I find it amusing that, after wasting money changing Boalt's name to Berkeley Law fka Boalt, he signed onto the petition as Dean of 'Boalt School of Law'. He doesn't even like the product of his own campaign? big fat LOL.

3) This dilemma again just goes to show how UC as an organization needs to move towards a DC plan model or at least a hybrid plan.

12/30/2010 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dean Edley is the anti-christ and will bring about the apocalypse. 2012.

12/30/2010 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One or two people said "tone-deaf" above; to me that's at the heart of it. As Patrick notes, Edley is almost certainly making less money than he could elsewhere, so it doesn't really make sense to treat him as a greedy opportunist. And based on my own experiences at Boalt, I don't think it necessarily reflects badly on him that his "credibility among progressive students has really plummeted," if that's the case.

But after what James rightfully calls Edley's "appeals to all of us to understand the CA financial situation," I can't help finding this letter distasteful. It's pretty standard, and probably reflects good leadership, for leaders during difficult times to convey the message that we're all in this together. I get the opposite message from this letter.

12/30/2010 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the follow-up SF Chronicle article:


Alumni and union leaders were not moved.

Attorney Geoff Van Loucks of Carmel said he was about to donate money to the Berkeley Law School but stopped when he read that Edley was among those demanding a higher pension.

"This is the kind of stuff that gives the university a bad name," he said. "I am just outraged."

Read more:

12/30/2010 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just as outraged as Van Louck. Next time I get a letter from the school asking for money, I'm sending it back with a big fat $0 right to Edley.

12/30/2010 6:49 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

What is happening here? One of the more liberal posters on this blog (and I include myself in that group) did a righteous anger piece and... nearly everyone agrees with him? That alone is proof that Edley really stepped in it here.

12/30/2010 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With leaders like these it should now be obvious even in Berkeley why the state is in such financial trouble. If you are surprised at this type of arrogance by UC leaders (or other groups of CA public employees), then you need to get out more. For example, start reading multiple newspapers and commentary websites out of the Bay Area. Get out of your comfort zone and re-think your opinion on just about everything.

12/31/2010 8:32 AM  
Anonymous J said...

I'm an '07 alum. I still have significant debt. Yet I work in BigLaw and I dedicate a significant portion of my salary to charitable contributions--which up to now included Boalt. I usually ignore the letters and pleas and do all my donations in a big chunk at the end of the year, so this news couldn't have come at a better time for me to be able to avoid giving to Boalt this year. I've been hearing for six years from DE how CA is in dire financial straits, the UC can't afford anything, the law school needs private donations just to operate, let alone to be able to award scholarships, pay for tech improvements, embark on building campaigns, etc etc etc. I dutifully--and happily--contributed. Boalt did a lot for me and I wanted to give back. But I'm done until DE leaves or provides me a convincing explanation for why he deserves an even fatter pension when he knows damn well UC and the state can't afford it. Yes, he could make more in the private sector--sort of. For anyone who can show me a private sector job with the same sort of salary and guaranteed retirement benefits, I can show you 100 where the salary is the same (or even lower) and most compensation comes from stock and options. I think the last several years taught us how to value those--and "dice roll" is putting it gently.

12/31/2010 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of giving zero, I suggest giving some trivial amount between one to three cents to show how much we appreciate this. We know that it would gladly be cashed by the school.

Anyways, I've figured out why I dislike this current DE regime so strongly. When I picked Boalt, I liked the unique at least somewhat lower in state tuition and the students who couldn't seem to give two shits if they were studying law in a pile of dirt. DE has taken the strategy to make Boalt EXACTLY LIKE EVERY OTHER LAW SCHOOL. Every class is more filled with super competitive types who would love to pay an extra 10k to sit in a nicer chair in the law library.

If you understand business, which DE does not, as they do not concern themselves with mere monetary factors in the ivory towers, you understand that the FIRST RULE is to DIFFERENTIATE your product. Boalt is now exactly like every other law school, and attracts progressively more people who pick it because that's the highest US News ranked school they got into because there is no other reason to pick it. The irony of these efforts is in addition to attracting a less desirable student body, we are attracting a dumber one (see lower scores for 1Ls), because people have no reason to pick Boalt over any other top school.

DE tried to create the Harvard of the West, guess he should have opened his eyes to the fact that the option is already available in Palo Alto.

12/31/2010 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... his response to criticism, we should demand his resignation.


12/31/2010 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 11:27 can you please link where we can see the stats that say our 1Ls are dumber? I'm a 2L not smart enough to find it on my own. Happy New Year to all!

12/31/2010 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Median LSAT: 167 (170 = 75th percentile, 163 = 25th percentile)
Median GPA: 3.80 (3.89 = 75th percentile, 3.64 = 25th percentile) (school took down 2012 profile)

# GPA/LSAT Scores

LSAT Median: 168
LSAT 25/75 Percentile: 165-170

UGPA Median: 3.83
UGPA 25/75 Percentile: 3.69-3.95

Ladies and Gents, your dumber 2013 class!

12/31/2010 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all of DE's detractors there was still, before this boneheaded move, a valid argument to be made that DE added value because of his fundraising ability. This completely negates that argument and I imagine he can look forward to a 2011 full of fruitless calls, meetings and mail merges. Knowing that he is not a dumb man, I think this would signal that he is already halfway out the door, no? Does anyone know how long he must serve before his pension is fully vested?

12/31/2010 12:13 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Funny, 12:13, I just wondered the exact same thing to someone in a private email.

12/31/2010 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. the sky is falling. pretty soon we'll be admitting 3.79/167 people.

12/31/2010 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: 2013 profile:

12/31/2010 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Give me more money" also motto of $500,000 salaried public employee at UC Berkeley. University of California Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.

A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.

It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.

In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. Merely cutting out inefficiencies will not have the effect desired. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC President, Board of Regents, and California Legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple oversight check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donors, benefactors await the transformation of senior management.
The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way senior management work.

(Cal ranking tumbles from 2nd best. The reality of University of California Berkeley’s (UC Berkeley) relative decline are clear. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked UC Berkeley the second leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.)

12/31/2010 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a product of CA's public schools, a UC undergrad, and then Boalt '10. I work in the public sector, am a "progressive" (btw, certain boalties have made turned this into something i'm embarassed to be associated with), and HATE the rising fees, but the best argument put forth so far belongs to good ole erwin down in the OC:

none of us like to pay more and be saddled with the debt, but as UC alums, i feel that we should all take on the extra responsibility of now shouldering its staggering losses. albet, edley already makes a boatload of money, but deservedly so, no? remember the debacle before him and how boalt had dropped to 13th? we ALL know rankings matter, so stop saying that it doesn't.

most of the comments here point the finger at edley being selfish. for some of us, it's time to turn that finger around and stop being so damn self-righteous.

12/31/2010 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All those saying that Edley could find a better and higher paying job elsewhere, please, elaborate on this?

Where else can someone with his "talents" (i'm curious so while we're at it, please elaborate on what his talents are too) go and get paid $330k per year, have 100% job security, and an annual pension until he dies that's 100% of his salary in this economy?

If someone is stupid enough to give him these terms, he should take his "talents" there.

12/31/2010 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well! If it's financially important to HIS family, then we MUST do it!

I mean, what's financially important to MY family and the families of ALL the students, staff, and other faculty is simply not nearly as important as what's Christopher Edley's family.

We must sacrifice for the good of Christopher Edley.

12/31/2010 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could our BHSA representatives contact Dean Edley and request that he schedule another town hall meeting to discuss the pension issue? If you are on BHSA and read this could you please respond on this thread letting us know what action you have taken? Thanks in advance.

1/01/2011 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:28pm--he owes more than a town hall. He owes a letter (not another BS video--that was moronic) to the entire alumni community. (Not that you shouldn't get your town hall--I hope someone will liveblog it.)

1/02/2011 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are racist.

1/03/2011 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are racist.

1/03/2011 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attracting and keeping talented people in place to run the school seems important to me. That seems to be Dean Edley's real argument, not that his family will be forced to go without another BMW.

But that argument (the one Dean Edley is actually making) doesn't explain to me why the executive officers shouldn't have to do a little belt tightening too. Do we want the "top talent" that will be attracted to institutions that put them before their staff and students? Or to an institution that has its financial affairs in order?

1/04/2011 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top students, faculty, administrators come to Boalt over Stanford or Harvard or Yale because they think we're not a community of assholes. Seriously. That's all we got.

Dean Edley seems to be trying his hardest to disabuse people of that notion.

1/05/2011 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People don't choose Berkeley over Yale Harvard and Stanford.

1/06/2011 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:35AM--I did. Because Boalt was full of seemingly nice, happy, friendly people. And it was, when I was a student. Sounds like that's becoming less true with each passing year though.

1/06/2011 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also chose Boalt over Stanford.

-Class of 2010.

1/06/2011 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BHSA: Have any of you read the above request for a town hall meeting about this issue?

1/06/2011 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing I don't understand. People seem outraged at this issue but when a couple new blog posts appear on top of this post, the comments stop. Are people too lazy to scroll down past the top of the blog?

1/08/2011 12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:44, I too hope people continue to comment on this post, or that James does a follow up post once the semester is underway. I'm not a regular reader of this blog but have been carefully following this topic. It exemplifies a serious hypocrisy within the administration that even Edley's most adamant defenders cannot defend.

- '04 Alum

1/09/2011 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not too lazy, but it seems like what there is to be said has been said. Until something new happens.

1/09/2011 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember reading that the Regents will be taking up the matter in March. If that's right, that would be the time for some serious pushback against Edley's greed.
'09 alum

1/09/2011 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it surprising that so few people credit DE's recruitment argument. In a field of comparable law schools competitive salary matters. To analogize, look at the world of big law hiring. So many firms pay the market salary because, all else equal, the best salary yields the best candidates. Although, it might not be true all of the time, I know that in searching for law firms I didn't consider firms that paid below market. Why do we have such a hard time applying the logic here, when I imagine many of us thought this way in our job search. If I were in the market for a legal teaching job, and could command high salaries elsewhere, I can't imagine Boalt would have anything so special to compensate for a lower salary/benefit package.

1/10/2011 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:46 - no one is denying the school needs to compete in a competitive faculty recruiting market. But giving a big increase in pensions (not base salary) to present faculty is a real waste of resources. If they have a firm offer from another school, then UC can consider whether to match it. Giving it to them all at once is a give-away. Making it RETROACTIVE is just burning money.
Even if we continued with the present policy, we could still compete by offering higher base salaries and other incentives.
It's a hugely expensive giveaway that really won't have much effect, other than enriching the richest already. Much smarter ways to remain competitive.

1/10/2011 8:31 PM  

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