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Universities agree to full transparency on wages

September 16, 2009. Globes: Adrian Filut

Ministry of Finance Director of Wages Ilan Levin and Heads of the Universities Committee today signed an agreement for "full transparency" on excess salaries paid by the universities, the Council for Higher Education in Israel's Planning and Budget Committee announced today.

The universities will also disclose all salary information and set up a joint team with the ministry to "settle excessive salaries". The announcement was the first time that the universities admitted that they pay excessive salaries.

Levin told the Knesset State Control Committee today, "We believe that the universities have finally gotten the message. The economic crisis may have helped, because it exacerbated the problem. The real test will be whether I will receive all the figures."

Levin added, "There was progress in the past few weeks. The minister of finance held his first meeting with the heads of the universities, where he made it clear that he would not legitimize the paying of excessive salaries to continue."

Levin indirectly praised two new characters on the stage: new Planning and Budget Committee chairman Manuel Trajtenberg, the former chairman of the national economics council; and Haifa University president Prof. Aaron Ben Ze'ev, the chairman of the Heads of the Universities Committee.

Levin said that some universities have already begun providing the information, including salary amounts and pay slips, but that other universities do not recognize the authority of the Director of Wages.

Harsh comments were made against the universities during the State Control Committee meeting. Office of the State Comptroller official Aharon Hillinger said that the universities reported a budget deficit of NIS 1.5 billion, even though data indicated that the true figure is in excess of NIS 17 billion.

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