Steve Gamer
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California taxpayers are footing the bill for yet another demi-millionaire over at the University of California San Diego, already home to a bevy of high six- and seven-figure administrators.

Latest to join the ranks of those in the well-heeled halls of academe is Steve Gamer, confirmed by university regents last month as UCSD's new vice chancellor of advancement, who will be paid a total of $455,792 in his first year to “cultivate” and solicit wealthy would-be donors to the university, according to a document released late last month.

A January 23 report to the regents tells the high-dollar story:

As the San Diego campus prepares to launch a comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Vice Chancellor-Advancement position is being reinstated in the Chancellor’s cabinet.

Following a comprehensive national search, Steve Gamer was identified as the top candidate for this position. Mr. Gamer is currently the Associate Vice Chancellor-Development, Los Angeles campus.

He has more than 20 years of experience in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting high net worth individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Prior to coming to UCLA in 2002, Mr. Gamer served as Campaign Director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Previous appointments include Associate Director, Planning and Budgeting, for the Atlanta Jewish Federation and Campaign Director for the Madison Jewish Community Council.

The report reveals that UCSD is already spending a daunting sum in quest of charitable cash, noting that Gamer will oversee "approximately 220 staff and annual expenditures in excess of $25 million."

It is critical that the new Vice Chancellor begin his appointment near the start of the calendar year so that he will become quickly engaged in the campus strategic planning initiative that has been in progress over the past year and prepare for the launch of the new fundraising campaign.

According to the document, Gamer will get an annual "base" salary of $343,750 as well as an $8916 car allowance. Another annual $17,188 will come in the form of payment from the university's Senior Management Supplemental Benefit Program — “eligible to receive monthly contribution of 5% of base salary."

In addition to those payments, Gamer will collect "a temporary cash allowance of $3,000 per month up to a period of 90 days for a total of $9,000 to offset limited housing-related expenses," and "100 percent reimbursement of actual and reasonable expenses associated with moving Mr. Gamer’s household goods and personal effects from his former primary residence to his new primary residence."

Two house-hunting trips for Gamer "and his spouse or partner to secure housing in the San Diego area" are also part of the deal, as is "reimbursement of actual and reasonable costs of transportation associated with Mr. Gamer taking up to two return trips home to his former residence to facilitate his relocation."

Another document lists the total amount of Gamer's relocation allowance as $85,938. In addition, he will be able to take advantage of the university’s special residential mortgage program to buy a house here.

According to the document: "The total annual employee compensation reflects the first year. This amount assumes that Mr. Gamer will elect the lump sum payment for his relocation allowance. This amount may be less if Mr. Gamer decides to receive his relocation allowance in installments."

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Visduh Feb. 15, 2014 @ 8:55 a.m.

Matt, before going further, it is worth observing that in the two days since you posted this blog, NOBODY has made a comment. This has been the pattern for years in the Reader, wherein the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of people in the county with ties to UCSD make no comments to such postings by yourself and others. I really wonder if they are that disinterested, or unaware, or just indifferent to these goings-on.

A position like this one has one key difference from all the others on campus. The guy will or should pay for himself many times over, if he's at all good at what he does. (Some money will arrive regardless.) Furthermore he's been in a similar role at UCLA, and it is a powerhouse in raking in the contributions. About a decade ago, the previous chancellor on that campus, Carnesale, had a fund raising campaign that blew through its billion-dollar target so fast that they had to raise the goal to two or three billion! If this man was there during that phase and learned anything from it, he'll bring in the bucks like never before.

But the part that really boggles the mind is the claim that he will supervise the spending of $25 million a year, and will supervise over 200 employees. Can that be right? The campus spends $25 million a year making and keeping friends, and begging for money (in a dignified way, of course.) Does that mean that 200 people are engaged in full time direct and indirect fundraising? If so, they darned well better be bringing home the bacon every year, and be putting it to good use.

There's another thing about all this fundraising, and that is the source of the big contributions. You may think it is from "rich folks", but far more often it is corporations that make the donations. Much of the money is given with earmarks or strings attached, but not all of it by any means. So, a campus with a faculty that dislikes and is generally opposed to the corporate role in the US and world economy is taking money from the very institutions is disdains.

Final comment: You might suppose that a fundraising exec from UCLA would possess some movie-star good looks. Wrong. This one, if the photo reflects his appearance at all accurately, has the face and bearing of just another bland bureaucrat. He had better be very good at his job.


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