But California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who also serves as a trustee, said the raises were a “very serious mistake,” arguing that the hikes were excessive and inappropriate at a time when students have faced a recent string of fee increases. He also said that he saw no evidence that salary levels were affecting recruiting and retention. “If any of the presidents are leaving, that’s news to me,” said Garamendi, who joined trustee Ricardo Icaza as the only votes against the raises. Garamendi also questioned whether there is a gap in total compensation, which includes salaries and benefits. But Reed said the university has had difficulty recruiting the best candidates for presidential openings because of the salary gap and caps on contributions to the state retirement system. “I have been turned down numerous times because of the compensation lags” in the CSU system, he said. Reed said an analysis of other institutions shows that there is not a gap in benefits. Students at the meeting said the salary increases were unfair considering that they have experienced fee increases and overcrowded classrooms. “We simply do not understand why our funding is lining the pockets of CSU executives instead of investing it in the classroom,” said 22-year-old Angela Stubbs, a senior at California State University, San Marcos. The CSU system is pursuing the pay increases to help offset a salary gap it says exists between the Cal State system and a comparison group of 20 academic institutions tracked by a CSU-hired consulting group. In July, the firm – Mercer Human Resources Consulting – noted that the average CSU president’s salary of $259,435 is 46 percent behind the comparison group salary of $378,774. In addition to salary, CSU presidents can live in a university residence or, if none is available, receive an annual housing allowance. Presidents also receive a vehicle or a monthly car allowance of $1,000. In a separate action Wednesday, trustees approved a new goal of increasing faculty and executive salaries over the next four years to the point where they match the average salaries of the same group of 20 comparison institutions. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The board voted 14-2 to raise presidents’ salaries by an average of 11.8 percent, retroactive to July 1, in an effort to reduce a pay gap calculated by a CSU-hired human resources consultant. The board also increased the salaries of several high-level CSU executives, including Chancellor Charles B. Reed, whose salary will jump from $377,000 to $421,500. F. King Alexander, president of California State University, Long Beach, will get a nearly 10 percent pay increase – from $291,208 to $320,329. Mildred Garcia, president of California State University, Dominguez Hills, did not receive a salary increase Wednesday because she is new to the job. Some trustees said the pay increasees were necessary to retain and recruit high-quality presidents and executives who often can find better salaries and retirement benefits elsewhere. SALARIES: Boost in pay is to attract and retain talent, university system’s board says. By Kevin Butler STAFF WRITER Facing objections from some students and faculty, the California State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday voted to increase the salaries of university presidents to make them more competitive with other institutions.