Public relations people at UCSD got ahead of themselves last month in their haste to announce the arrival of a physician who was widely expected to become one of the university’s highest-paid professors. On February 26, UCSD posted a news release on its website that said Stanford researcher William C. Mobley would assume the helm of the medical school’s neurosciences department on April 1. “It takes a unique person, one with expertise in patient care, research and leadership, to direct this department,” the release quoted UCSD vice chancellor and med-school dean David Brenner as saying. “Bill Mobley is one of these rare people, and we expect him to play a key role both here at UC San Diego and within the area’s neurosciences community.”
A university insider says that Mobley, an expert in the neurobiology of Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, was expected to earn an annual salary of more than a million dollars, along with benefits such as a subsidized mortgage for a house in La Jolla or Rancho Santa Fe.
But fat payouts like that have become politically incorrect in the wake of the state’s budget meltdown, and UC higher-ups are said to have intervened after the hiring was publicized and a reporter made subsequent inquiries. A regents’ official in Oakland declined any comment, referring all calls to the San Diego campus. After a Public Records Act request for details and amounts of Mobley’s compensation package, the big-salary deal was suddenly not so done. “While there was a news release stating that Dr. Mobley will begin his position April 1, UCSD is still in the process of hiring Dr. Mobley and anticipate a new start date of June 1,” according to an email last week from Linda Maczko of the university’s public records office. “Until the recruitment process has been completed, the records you have requested are being withheld from disclosure.”