Outrageous community college perks are indefensible

It’s not very often that you see the AFT Guild and the UT Editorial Board in agreement on a topic…


Outrageous community college perks are indefensible

By San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board | 12:01 a.m. Sept. 19, 2015 |

One of the largest groups that participated in Occupy movement protests – which targeted a corporate-dominated economy that allegedly is rigged to benefit the high and mighty – were college students. Against this backdrop, the decision of the board of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District to lavish benefits on the presidents of Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College look particularly objectionable.

Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, hired in June at a base salary of $189,000 a year, also is receiving $600 a month as a car allowance, a preposterous $200 a month for his cellphone bills and $850 a month for expenses that he doesn’t even have to document. The incoming president of Cuyamaca College, Julianna Barnes, is going to be given the same extra benefits.

Officials with the union representing those who teach at the colleges say board trustees have never previously allowed the paying of expenses without documentation. They suggest the intent is to get around public records requests that might reveal extravagant or dubious spending.

That might be the case. Or it might just be an effort to pad the presidents’ pay in a way that doesn’t increase their tax burden. But whatever the reason, it is an outrageous perk straight out of the Wall Street playbook. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for such perks.

Abu-Ghazaleh and Barnes should document their expenses, whatever their board decides, if they want to avoid being seen as part of the culture of greed that many of their students loathe