How wasteful is Cal's Admin? They won't tell you.

Seeing as UC Berkeley is starting to decimate funding for undergraduate teaching across several majors, including my own, Computer Science, I decided to try and find out how wasteful the administration really is. Some basic facts: Out of the $3 Billion budget, $100-150 Million is spent on TAs. For context, that means that of the nearly $1 Billion in tuition receipts and fees (from the most recent financial report), around 10% is spent on teaching? This seems a little low, but if we just accept that professors, facilities, and the rest are all very expensive (especially you, stadium), we should give the financial wizards of the UC Berkeley administration a pass, right? Right?

Of the places salaries and expenses being cut, you never hear about administrative pay cuts. Why would you? What's the incentive for any financial officer to reduce how much they are paid? Lower paid staff like facilities will be furloughed some for sure, but god forbid Joe Finance made $120K instead of $150K. For example, I doubt this wonderful man (one of many vice chancellors, Marc Fisher), would take any pay cuts. Who would tell him to?

Luckily in California, we have Transparent California, a site that aims to "provide accurate, comprehensive and easily searchable information on the compensation of public employees in California." Mr. Fisher's salary is right there:

$440k is quite the salary! We can also look at the Vice Chancellor of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Rosemarie Rae, someone who would have a very strong input on their salary. Unfortunately for us, finding her salary is slightly more difficult:

Well our friend Rosemarie here is a public employee, so her salary must be here! This was surprisingly hard to find. Oddly, she isn't listed under her name that appears on Cal's website or the name she goes by on LinkedIn, "Rosemarie Rae", but instead goes by "Rosemarie Balla". Google that name. You find almost nothing. Google Rosemarie Rae and you see everything. Convenient that it's mis-listed, but her listing is still there nonetheless:

Slightly less than Mr. Fisher, but it turns out being a financial person at a university is still a very nice gig. We can look at other execs too. Just for fun let's look at the chancellor:

Or the football coach who must be suuuper busy right now with Covid and all:

Incredible! Very tidy bags of cash that are clearly being spent well. So how many people could it really take to run the financial operations at Cal and how do they get paid? If you try to find a listing of all the financial analysts or something of that sort which Cal has hired, you won't. Trust me, it's hard. I wonder why. Also, Transparent California isn't specific to which university, only the whole UC system, so you can't use it to find people only in Cal. Searching for this on Cal's website will lead you nowhere.

If instead you search for excel files on google that just *happen* to be hiding out on the Office of the Vice Chancellors of Finance's website... well then you might get somewhere... This is what I found:

first couple rows of "sar_reportrecipients.xls", names redacted

An SAR (Suspicious Activity Report) is a report that details some degree of financial wrongdoing. Doesn't sound like something you'd want to leave up on the public internet, but what do I know. Looking at the first couple lines of this document:

We see the organization code "COLLE" which stands for colleges, and "CENVD" for the division, which is listed as "Col of Environmental Design" by the controllers office here. I think this means that if you are thinking about laundering money in the College of Environmental Design, you should be careful around those two fellas on the right, who would be tasked with looking into you. The important thing that this document gives us is a relatively clean list of people intimately connected to the financial office at Cal. Now we can cross-reference this list with the latest data from Transparent California and we're golden, right?

The people listed definitely do work at Cal, but we run into the same issue of them conveniently not showing up in Transparent California, much like our friend Rosemarie. The important part is that enough of them show up to get a sense of what the distribution of their salaries are like.

Out of the 133 unique individuals listed in this document (yes, you heard that right, 133), I was able to match 77 of them. The data is very tricky to work with: people are listed multiple times with vastly different salaries (likely once for each job), and far from all the names are present. The distribution of their incomes gives us a beautiful picture of how well the 'lower tier' of the staff in the financial office are paid:

Wow! The 25th percentile of them make $121,126/year! Take a look at all this aggregated data in it's beauty, and remember that you pay these people. Names have been removed.

Base Pay Overtime Pay Other Pay Benefits Total Pay Total Pay & Benefits Job Title
0 115070.0 0.0 0.00 22900.0 115070.0 137970.0 Admin Mgr 1
1 181277.0 0.0 0 41062.0 181277.0 222339.0 Admin Mgr 1, Admin Mgr 1
2 76657.0 0.0 1600.0 19542.0 78257.0 97799.0 Comm Spec 3
3 50818.0 0.0 0.0 10599.0 50818.0 61417.0 Financial Anl 4
4 55403.0 0.0 0.0 17012.0 55403.0 72415.0 Financial Anl 4
5 85646.0 0.0 0.0 20233.0 85646.0 105879.0 Financial Anl 3
6 98787.0 0.0 33957.00 22542.0 132744.0 155286.0 Exec Advisor 4
7 118654.0 0.0 1948.00 32912.0 120602.0 153514.0 Admin Mgr 1
8 132119.0 0.0 14257.00 30808.0 146376.0 177184.0 Admin Ofcr 4
9 111590.0 0.0 0.00 40073.0 111590.0 151663.0 Financial Anl 4
10 222385.0 0.0 0 51340.0 222391.0 273731.0 Financial Anl Mgr 1, Pat Comm Repr
11 51423.0 0.0 500.0 16009.0 51923.0 67932.0 Admin Ofcr 3
12 108534.0 0.0 87303.00 25903.0 195837.0 221740.0 Payroll Supv 2
13 138393.0 0.0 0.00 42586.0 138393.0 180979.0 Organizational Cnslt 4
14 133675.0 0.0 0 33011.0 135571.0 168582.0 Financial Anl 3, Hr Generalist 1
15 157492.0 0.0 500.00 32201.0 157992.0 190193.0 Financial Anl 5
16 187246.0 0.0 24493.00 39795.0 211739.0 251534.0 Accounting Mgr 3
17 144574.0 0.0 500.00 28606.0 145074.0 173680.0 Project Policy Anl 4
18 151220.0 0.0 500.00 29537.0 151720.0 181257.0 Admin Mgr 1
19 22500.0 0.0 0.0 5945.0 22500.0 28445.0 Vice Chan Ast
20 156942.0 0.0 0.00 40035.0 156942.0 196977.0 Admin Mgr 1
21 92180.0 0.0 0.0 12905.0 92180.0 105085.0 Admin Mgr 1
22 106737.0 0.0 1000.00 21733.0 107737.0 129470.0 Financial Anl 4
23 95101.0 0.0 1800.00 20356.0 96901.0 117257.0 Admin Ofcr 4
24 180316.0 0.0 10000.00 47169.0 190316.0 237485.0 Admin Mgr 1
25 96192.0 0.0 7167.00 20840.0 103359.0 124199.0 Financial Anl 4
26 15200.0 0.0 8569.0 3069.0 23769.0 26838.0 Exec Advisor 4
27 107334.0 0.0 38234.00 27816.0 145568.0 173384.0 Financial Svc Mgr 3
28 141540.0 0.0 0.00 32922.0 141540.0 174462.0 Financial Anl 5
29 86605.0 0.0 3000.0 13763.0 89605.0 103368.0 Financial Svc Anl 4
30 102725.0 0.0 10245.00 22467.0 112970.0 135437.0 Acad Hr Anl 4
31 110210.0 0.0 0.00 31166.0 110210.0 141376.0 Financial Anl 4
32 130213.0 0.0 0.00 24031.0 130213.0 154244.0 Contracts And Grants Mgr 1
33 137153.0 0.0 0.00 25548.0 137153.0 162701.0 Admin Mgr 1
34 130630.0 0.0 0.00 30390.0 130630.0 161020.0 Admin Mgr 1
35 45762.0 0.0 0.0 23951.0 45762.0 69713.0 Admin Ofcr 4
36 136640.0 0.0 0.00 27495.0 136640.0 164135.0 Admin Mgr 1
37 125739.0 0.0 7131.00 36752.0 132870.0 169622.0 Admin Mgr 1
38 210901.0 0.0 0.00 35492.0 210901.0 246393.0 Financial Svc Mgr 3
39 17500.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 17500.0 17500.0 Admin Mgr 1
40 205793.0 0.0 0.00 36716.0 205793.0 242509.0 Financial Svc Mgr 3
41 117673.0 0.0 500.00 24840.0 118173.0 143013.0 Financial Anl 4
42 113025.0 0.0 0.00 40274.0 113025.0 153299.0 Admin Mgr 1
43 87396.0 0.0 500.00 36686.0 87896.0 124582.0 Admin Ofcr 3
44 73074.0 0.0 3000.0 17021.0 76074.0 93095.0 Financial Svc Anl 3
45 111610.0 0.0 500.00 22416.0 112110.0 134526.0 Financial Anl 4
46 261192.0 0.0 1846.000.00 68189.0 263038.0 331227.0 Revenue Cycle Hc Supv 2, Admin Mgr 1
47 147684.0 0.0 5963.00 32743.0 153647.0 186390.0 Financial Anl 5
48 91308.0 0.0 500.00 32086.0 91808.0 123894.0 Financial Anl 3
49 138918.0 0.0 7500.00 38562.0 146418.0 184980.0 Admin Mgr 1
50 94241.0 0.0 0.00 27185.0 94241.0 121426.0 Admin Ofcr 4
51 87129.0 0.0 500.00 22182.0 87629.0 109811.0 Dir
52 80049.0 0.0 0.0 17998.0 80049.0 98047.0 Admin Ofcr 3
53 114234.0 0.0 2000.00 26588.0 116234.0 142822.0 Financial Svc Supv 2
54 41394.0 4425.0 2488.0 15311.0 48307.0 63618.0 Blank Ast 1
55 117171.0 0.0 0.00 30999.0 117171.0 148170.0 Admin Mgr 1
56 180683.0 0.0 0.00 40234.0 180683.0 220917.0 Financial Anl Mgr 1
57 133880.0 0.0 0.00 36805.0 133880.0 170685.0 Academic Coord Ii-Fy
58 137210.0 0.0 0.00 27575.0 137210.0 164785.0 Fac Mgr 2
59 144037.0 0.0 0.00 24431.0 144037.0 168468.0 Admin Mgr 1
60 88733.0 0.0 0.00 31726.0 88733.0 120459.0 Financial Anl 3
61 100278.0 0.0 500.00 33342.0 100778.0 134120.0 Financial Anl 4
62 97764.0 0.0 7420.00 31211.0 105184.0 136395.0 Admin Ofcr 4
63 244801.0 0.0 0.00 61375.0 244801.0 306176.0 Admin Mgr 3
64 180784.0 0.0 0.00 46672.0 180784.0 227456.0 Admin Mgr 2
65 166863.0 0.0 0.00 41424.0 166863.0 208287.0 Financial Anl Mgr 2
66 84803.0 0.0 0.00 36323.0 84803.0 121126.0 Admin Ofcr 3
67 140113.0 0.0 0 37668.0 152655.0 190323.0 Contract Adm 4, Procurement Mgr 1
68 193913.0 0.0 0.00 42870.0 193913.0 236783.0 Admin Mgr 2
69 188125.0 0.0 10839.00 49781.0 198964.0 248745.0 Admin Mgr 2
70 82867.0 0.0 4092.0 18965.0 86959.0 105924.0 Fac Mgt Spec 3
71 199338.0 0.0 4881.00 30229.0 204219.0 234448.0 Financial Anl Mgr 2
72 213049.0 0.0 17552.00 23153.0 230601.0 253754.0 Financial Anl Mgr 2
73 211167.0 0.0 10000.00 47741.0 221167.0 268908.0 Bus Sys Anl 5
74 130364.0 0.0 0.00 25042.0 130364.0 155406.0 Admin Mgr 1
75 216890.0 0.0 0.00 49836.0 216890.0 266726.0 Exec Advisor 5
76 97042.0 0.0 500.00 16877.0 97542.0 114419.0 Financial Anl 3

If we assume this sampling is representative of the whole 133, we get that UC Berkeley spends ~$21.5M on the salaries of these particular financial analysts and administrative managers. This doesn't include the big bag-chasers like our friend Rosemarie, this is simply a collection of some of the smaller fish in the financial part of the administrative system. This is only one small group of the administrative bubble. It also doesn't include any of the actual operating expenses of these people: travel, computers, software, etc. So who knows how much the University actually spends on them.

To put some context to these numbers with other salaries, I worked as an 8 hour TA for two semesters and made exactly $11865.52 including tuition remission (a portion of in-state tuition which gets paid for), which is quite a bit! Each 8 hour TA accounts for teaching ~20-30 students 4 units each semester. $21.5 Million amounts to ~1,800 eight hour TAs for two semesters. That's ~72000 student seats in a year. This is an insane amount of money in the context of teaching in a department like EECS/CS.

And this is only a little piece of a little piece of the administration. So how big and expensive is the administration in total and where is our tuition spent?  I have no clue. They are very, very careful about what information they give you. I encourage you to look. Try it. The only people who actually know are likely some of those listed above, Marc, Rosemarie, maybe the Chancellor, I don't know.

To be clear, I don't care if some talented financial administrators make a good amount of money. Salaries need to be competitive, I get it. But how much money is being diverted from education? Is this an amount that the actual members of the University agree upon? To me it seems apparent to me that admin has no intentions of giving concrete answers to these questions.

The only thing I actually do know is that I'm shocked by the University's move to cut teaching when it seems blatantly obvious that we should know how much is diverted to other sources. We should really only trust this information from a third party too, given how unlikely our own administration is to give us honest answers (again, what is their incentive?). If an independent financial auditor comes in and says that undergraduate instruction is the a reasonable area to cut, I'll accept it and be on my way. Until that happens, I'm convinced that tuitions are siphoned away while the University fails to serve its purpose in educating and enhancing the minds of it's real funders--I mean, students.

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