10:23 PM PDT on Monday, July 11, 2011

By MARK MUCKENFUSS
The Press-Enterprise

Local college students uniformly expressed dismay to learn what the leaders of their state universities were earning.

Last week, State Controller John Chiang released salary figures for nearly 380,000 state workers, including 123,000 employees of the California State University system. The figures were no secret: compensation for state government workers is a matter of public record.

The data showed that Cal State San Bernardino President Al Karnig is one of the highest-paid presidents in the 23 campus system. Karnig’s salary for the past four years has been $290,000 with an additional $50,000 housing allowance. His actual pay last year was about 10 percent lower due to furlough days imposed on the school as a result of state budget cuts. Still, he is the sixth-highest paid president in the Cal State system.

UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy White was paid $295,000 last year, a drop from his previous year’s pay of $325,000 that was also due to furlough days. White was paid $325,000 in 2009, his first year at the campus. His predecessor, Robert Gray, was paid $300,000. And in 2007, France Cordova, received $303,000.

Caroline Gikuru, 25, of Alameda, was stunned by the figure. She graduated from UCR in June.

“It’s crazy,” Gikuru said. “That number is ridiculously high.”

Aaron Jimenez, 21, of Fontana, is the president of the Associated Students Inc., at Cal State San Bernardino.

“I think a lot students would be probably really upset knowing that,” he said after hearing Karnig’s salary.

But Karnig said both state schools lag behind what similar positions in the private sector would pay. It’s necessary for the state systems to attempt to be competitive in order to attract talented leaders, he said.

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