The tarnished legacy of ex–University of California president Bob Dynes — the onetime UCSD chancellor who was forced from UC’s top job following a series of high-profile payroll and administrative scandals — has taken yet another blow. Mark Yudof, who succeeded Dynes as UC president, has pledged to stop the practice that Dynes created of allowing university executives to collect fat severance checks and then be rehired at university campuses. “I and the Regents recognize this may appear to the public as an objectionable use of resources even though the program is reducing our central administrative spending,” Yudof said in a written statement issued last week.
The latest Dynes-related controversy erupted two weeks ago when the San Francisco Chronicle recounted the story of Linda Morris Williams, a San Diego State University graduate who was a top assistant to Dynes when he was UCSD chancellor. When Dynes became UC president in 2003, she moved with him to the university’s Oakland headquarters, where he named her associate president. In 2005, the Chronicle reported that Dynes had given Williams a series of generous financial perks, including a $44,467 relocation allowance and a subsidized mortgage loan of $832,500. Her salary was $190,625. Then in January of this year, Williams left that job under the university’s “voluntary separation program,” set up by Dynes. She received $100,202 in severance pay. In May, just months after her departure from her old job, Williams was rehired as associate chancellor at UC Berkeley, where she now makes $200,400. The position was not advertised to the public, and the university undertook no search for other candidates. “At the time of my VSP application the Associate Chancellor position on the Berkeley campus was not open and therefore played no role whatsoever in my decision making,” Williams said in a written statement. “Having said that, I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to join the Berkeley team, and I am very grateful that I am able to continue my career in service to the university and the people of California.”
Dynes is now a UCSD professor with a salary of $245,000 a year, one of the highest in the statewide system. He developed close ties to the UC establishment by his marriage to Frances Hellman, daughter of wealthy San Francisco investor Warren Hellman, a frequent business partner of Padres owner John Moores. After Hellman divorced him, Dynes married Ann Parode, who was UCSD’s top lawyer when he was chancellor.