Will UO charge student journalist for HLGR’s Bowl of Dicks docs?

Under Dave Hubin UO’s Public Records Office refused to give fee waivers to journalists – even UO student journalists. Oregon public records law requires an explanation for fee waiver denials. Hubin and PR Officer Lisa Thornton ignored that law.

Now Daily Emerald reporter Noah McGraw has written a very good report on the Bowl of Dicks case, here:

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McGraw is requesting public records showing how much UO paid its defense attorneys, and for what, presumably for a follow-up story.

President Schill has hired a new Vice President and General Counsel, and given him authority over the Public Records Office. What will VPGC Kevin Reed do?

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RG Editors link Kitzhaber’s and UO’s public records failures

In their editorial on Governor Kate Brown’s inaugural address, here:

… Brown also promised to make Ore­gon’s public records more easily and quickly available to the news media and to the public. That’s an appropriate reaction to the Kitzhaber administration’s stonewalling on public records requests for documents pertaining to the governor’s influence-peddling scandal — stonewalling that ultimately served not to protect Kitzhaber, but to reinforce the impression he was concealing evidence of wrongdoing.

Brown provided no details on the changes she will seek to the state’s public records law, but they should be broad in scope. They should address not only Kitzhaber’s efforts to withhold public documents (in his final days in office he sought to destroy thousands of personal emails stored on state servers), but the ability of state and local governments throughout the state to withhold and delay information that the public has a right and need to know. A prime example is the University of Oregon, which increasingly in recent years has made the refusal of public records requests its default position in defiance of its status as a public university.

UO’s Presidential Advisor Dave Hubin has been in charge of UO’s Public Records office since 2011. He’s been a failure, and that failure has contributed to the sinking reputation of the UO administration, and UO.

Bad news for Hubin, Park and Coltrane on hiding UO public records

They’ve been hoping that opinions issued by Lane County DA Alex Gardner and Associate DA Patty Perlow would allow them to redact UO documents en masse, instead of having to explain what they were hiding.

But the Oregon Court of Appeals has just rejected that Gardner and Perlow interpretation of Oregon public records law ORS 192, in a case involving EWEB and the Register Guard. Christian Withol has the report in the RG, here:

The Oregon Court of Appeals has rejected the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s argument that its entire contract to buy power from the Seneca wood-burning plant north of Eugene can be kept secret, and it sent the public records lawsuit back to Lane County Circuit Court.

The appeals court in its ruling Wednesday also said Lane Circuit Court Judge Karsten Rasmussen erred in his 2011 decision backing EWEB’s ­refusal to release the contract to The Register-Guard.

At the most recent meeting of the Senate Transparency Committee, Dave Hubin asserted that this Gardner decision would allow UO to keep entire documents secret. Nope.

Coltrane to stop redacting public records. Instead, he’s going to hide all of them.

Dave Hubin writes a glowing report on Dave Hubin’s Public Records Office, for UO’s official “Around the 0” blog:

“The UO is open with its information, much of which is available in many places, and our hope is to consolidate some of the existing information and make it more accessible for public records requesters,” said Dave Hubin, senior assistant to the president.

That’s not what the newspapers say, of course. The headline to this Register Guard editorial captures the truth pretty well:

Redaction run amok: UO blacks out most documents about allegations

But the real news from Wednesday’s meeting of the Senate Transparency Committee was Hubin’s bald statement that UO has decided to stop redacting documents, after the humiliation of having the RG and several TV news stations and the NYT mock the redactions, and President Gottfredson:

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What solution to these redactions, the ensuing embarrassment, and the resulting lack of trust in the UO administration did Hubin propose? He said UO is going to change its public records procedures so that UO simply will not release documents – not even a page of them – if they contain any exempt information. And then Hubin topped it off by telling the Senate Transparency Committee that this change would be implemented by an administrative committee that would meet in secret. The faculty did not react favorably to this plan, which is utterly at odds with basic principles of open information and public records and FOIA law. People need to know enough about what is hidden so that they can use the law to protect their rights to information about what public agencies are going.

Hiding the redactions this way may indeed produce a bit less public ridicule for UO administrators the next time they decide to hide something, but it will also shred any hope that Interim President Scott Coltrane wants to rebuild trust between the press, the community, the faculty, and his Johnson Hall administration. Bad move.

Full COI disclosure: I made almost $20 from selling “Omnia Dissimulavimus” coffee cups and t-shirts showing these redactions. Enough to pay for a month of web-hosting. Get yours here:

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Senate Transparency Committee meets:
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH, 11:00A-12:00P, JOHNSON HALL CONFERENCE ROOM.

It’s a public meeting. Under Lariviere, UO did a lot to improve transparency. Berdahl and Gottfredson did their best to clamp down. Coltrane is sticking with the Berdahl plan so far – for example, stalling release of documents that might help the GTFF, or explain what Gottfredson’s secret rape review panel is up to. Dave Hubin will have some explaining to do today. The committee’s charge is here:

The Committee shall;

a) Review UO’s procedures regarding access to public records and financial information, and evaluate the effectiveness of those procedures. The Senate requests that the administration give the committee free and unfettered access to a listing of public records requests and their status, and to any reports by the UO public records officer to the administration regarding public records.

b) Accept and review complaints from faculty, staff, or students regarding access to public records and financial information, and make suggestions to the UO public records officer and President’s office on resolving such complaints.

c) Hold only open meetings. …

For some background, read this 2013 RG story on UO charging student-journalists for public records, or any of the many stories on UO’s redactions of the rape allegation cover-up emails.

UO Senate Transparency Committee Tentative Agenda – November 12, 2014 11:00 am
Johnson Hall Conference Room

• Convene Senate Transparency Committee

• Report on work patterns of the Public Records Office during 2013-14

Data on usage, response times, fees charged, and fees waived
Appeals and findings from Attorney General and District Attorney
Comparisons to other Oregon state agencies and entities and comparator AAU Institutions

• Discuss Committee’s reorganization, broadened membership and charge
(Passed by the Committee on Committees and awaiting consideration by the full Senate.)

• Elect STC Chair.

Hubin’s public records office uses fees and delays to hide docs

9/18/2014 update: Excluding duplicates, UO has received roughly 40 public records requests in the 90 days since June 18. Log here. That’s roughly two requests every three working days. They’ve got two staff, plus help from the GC’s office on redactions. Some requests are complicated, but many are simply asking for bids, contracts, or accounting statements, which require almost no PRO time. (And many requests are never filled, after reporters see the high fees Dave Hubin wants to charge them).

The Oregon AG’s Public Records and Meeting Manual gives one week as a reasonable time for public agencies to respond – but according to this letter UO’s PRO is now 6 weeks behind. They’ve got plenty of time to spend on writing long excuses, however.

9/14/2014: Dave Hubin’s public records office charges KATU TV $779 for retaliation docs

To his credit Scott Coltrane has already spent more time talking to the press than Mike Gottfredson did in two years. Unfortunately he’s had to use most of that air time to deal with Gottfredson’s reeking aftermath. And as the latest story makes clear, that’s unlikely to change until El Jefe tells Dave Hubin it’s time to return to Richard Lariviere’s transparency policies.

The current UO administration is willing to spend piles of tuition money on PR flacks to write stories that make them look good, and to help reporters get information that puffs up administrator’s resumes. Tim Clevenger gets $195K, Tobin Klinger gets $115K, and Ann Wiens gets $110K for writing stories like this. I can’t wait to read her Coltrane hagiography. (For contrast, look at the excellent story Brent Walth wrote for the Oregon Quarterly about Lariviere’s New Partnership Plan. If you can find it – the OQ seems to have deleted the editions from before Ms Wiens was hired from their archives.) Dave Hubin gets $140K to help hide public records – page down for details.

And here’s the petty trust destroying punishment these expensive administrators inflict on journalists who dare to criticize Johnson Hall:

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Original KATU story here, UO response here, KATU evisceration of the UO response here.

How does UO decide to deny a fee waiver request? UO Public Records Officer Lisa Thornton explains, here. (Paraphrased with a little editorializing on my part, not direct quotes, but I think a pretty accurate reflection of the March 2013 meeting, and so far as I remember never disputed by her supervisor and Assistant to the President Dave Hubin):

Fee waivers:

Dave Hubin: I believe we are operating within the law, which says “may waive”. But the optics are not good.

Lisa Thornton: We apply the three-part test on page 20 which gives us broad discretion to delay and frustrate, and we drive a truck through that.

Tim Gleason: Explain.

Thornton: I apply my judgement to ask if the citizen’s of Eugene would benefit from reading about this. (My god).

Q: Do you explain your denials? Thornton: No.

Craig Pintens: Can’t you have drop down boxes or something?

Thornton: We google the requester to see what they are up to. (My god).

Even Gleason sees this is trouble: “It’s problematic to give you this discretion.”

John Bonine: Oregon law was based on federal law, which contrasts public benefit with private benefit. Commercial is out. If it’s not just for yourself, it’s public benefit.

Gleason: Back on his thing about the burden on the institution.

Bonine: First test for public interest, then ask if the extent of those benefits exceeds the cost.

Thornton: So I’m going to have to do benefit-cost analysis? Can I hire an economist?

Bonine: Not only that, I want you to put your decision and reasons on the web. Provides guidance to requestors, reduces your unbounded authority.

Thornton: We do have discussions and back and forth with requesters about public interest.

Harbaugh: No, you don’t.

Thornton: Let me backtrack on my previous statement. Randy Geller has advised me not to explain fee waiver denials.

Bonine: WTF? Hubin should go back to Geller and change this.

Bonine: There should not be secret law. It is not appropriate for an agency to hide the reasons for a denial. If explanations harm the university, that’s because the university is not behaving well.

Hubin: Is there a consensus that we should give better explanations, and post them? I would have to take that to Geller, and Gottfredson.

Bonine: Not appropriate for Geller to hide his opinions – so if we ask this, we want to get his opinion in writing.

Hubin: We will write some language for transparency about our denials of fee-waivers for transparency requests.

March and June meetings of Dave Hubin’s Public Records Administrative Advisory Group

7/23/2014: I thought I’d repost this classic on the meetings of Dave Hubin’s working group to hide public records. From what I can tell this group has now accomplished its mission and is defunct.

6/5/2013 meeting, page down for 3/7/2013 meeting.

Prologue: 

  • Last meeting (see below) was a disaster for Hubin and Thornton, who got raked over the coals and revealed that there were serious problems with the office’s decisions about fee-waivers, bad software, refusal or complete inability to answer questions about policies, inconsistent statements, no decision on the STC recommendation for fee-waivers for student journalists.

Synopsis:

  • Dave didn’t even tell UO’s student-journalists that the meeting was being held, they found out about it from UO Matters.
  • Faculty and students not allowed to ask questions.
  • Thornton killed a bunch of committee time with irrelevant numbers, worked well.
  • No progress on public-interest fee waiver policies. Still a black hole. Thornton’s statements just added to the mystery of what current policy is. Still seems like she has *never* given a full fee-waiver.
  • In Feb the STC voted unanimously to recommend Gottfredson waive fees for student-journalists, up to some reasonable limit, with Hubin to determine what’s reasonable. Gottfredson won’t do it, claims he’s studying the issue. He was provost at UC-I, where there are no fees for anyone (except for computer programming time, if that’s required.) So Gottfredson already knows how well this would work, and he just doesn’t want the students to be able to get information on how UO is spending their money.

Live-blog disclaimer: My opinions on what people said or would have said, if they only had a spine.

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Oregonian, RG join Times in appealing Duck redactions to DA Gardner

6/20/2014 update: Gottfredson’s efforts to cover up his handling of the rape allegations bring more trouble to UO. The full Oregonian and RG petition, which is considerably more comprehensive than the NYT’s, is here:

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UO has pled for more time to respond, and the Times et al. have given them until the end of the month – which will means UO’s response will likely be the last official act of UO General Counsel Randy Geller, set to “retire” for undisclosed reasons on June 30. His predecessor, Melinda Grier, was fired, over issues related to her failure to respond to reporters’ public records requests about the Bellotti contract, but seems to now be back on the UO dole.

6/16/2014: New York Times appeals Gottfredson’s redactions of rape allegation emails

“Accordingly, The Times requests that the documents be provided in accordance with the law.”

Gottfredson’s efforts to cover up how his office responded to the rape allegations are going national. Full letter here. Timeline here, link to RG stories and Dave Hubin letters here, and info on former UO Journalism Dean Tim Gleason’s prior efforts to help UO hide public records from reporters here.

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Dave Hubin should be ashamed over his role in redactions, cover-up

6/10/2014 update:  Transparency is lacking at the UO (Letter to the RG) 

In his June 4 letter, David Hubin, the supervisor of the University of Oregon’s Public Records Office, chastised The Register-Guard for omitting information from its May 31 editorial about the pages and pages of colorful redactions his office made to documents concerning the UO’s response to March 8-9 sexual assault allegations.

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Hubin said he was “disappointed” the editorial “didn’t provide all the facts about why the university can’t release certain information. The newspaper’s readers deserve to understand the university isn’t hiding the information but is following laws that protect student privacy.”

But, as was explained in the May 30 news report by Josephine Woolington, the UO redacted many of the pages to protect administrators, not students. Those redactions included “frank discussions” between UO officials and emails covered by “attorney-client privilege.” The pages were helpfully color-coded in marigold and blue by Hubin’s office.

The redacted communications are presumably between President Michael Gottfredson, his administrators and “his” attorneys in the UO’s general counsel’s office. Actually, those attorneys are supposed to represent all the university, not just the president. In any case, Gottfredson could waive that privilege and disclose those “frank discussions.” He didn’t.

Such secrecy is part of a pattern. In February, the university even tried to charge our student journalists for budget information on expenditures for sexual assault prevention.

I believe it’s too late for Gottfredson’s administration, but our next president will need to improve transparency and build some trust in the UO community.

BILL HARBAUGH
PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS
FORMER CHAIRMAN, UO SENATE TRANSPARENCY COMMITTEE

6/5/2014 update: UO releases 323 more pages of redacted docs on rape allegation cover-up

PDF of today’s release here. A zip file of all the records I’ve obtained so far is here. The public records office’s response included a disclaimer that this is just a partial release. I’ll update when they decide to release more. The office’s log file is here.

UO has gone with more blue and marigold this time – the colors for redacting documents because they contain “attorney client privilege” or “frank discussion”. Green means Hubin’s office is claiming the redactions are needed for student privacy.

I’ve haven’t looked through this much, but there is some frank discussion between Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Rob Illig (Law school prof) and the IAC members about President Gottfredson’s April 29 decision to dismantle the committee for asking too many tough questions. The day after he saw the EPD report, and was still hoping he could cover it up. The faculty emails are unredacted, but the ones between UO’s administrators are in marigold. An interesting double standard!. The cover-up timeline is here.

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6/4/2014 update: Dave Hubin takes the dive for Gottfredson’s redactions. Shame on you, Dave.

This is worse than when Hubin tried to charge the student newspaper to see the budget numbers on how much UO was spending to address sexual assault prevention:

His letter to the RG editors, in response to their “Redaction Run Amok” editorial is here. All about protecting student privacy:

As the person who supervises the University of Oregon’s Office of Public Records, I was disappointed that a May 31 editorial didn’t provide all the facts about why the UO can’t release certain information. The newspaper’s readers deserve to understand the university isn’t hiding the information but is following laws that protect student privacy.

Sure it is. Hubin does not mention the many redactions made because they include “frank discussions” between UO officials, or “attorney-client privilege”. These are helpfully color-coded in marigold and blue, respectively, as explained by Josephine Woolington in her May 30 RG story here.

The redacted emails are presumably between Mike Gottfredson and “his” attorneys in UO’s General Counsel’s office. Actually those attorneys are supposed to represent UO, not Mike Gottfredson. And in any case Gottfredson can waive that privilege if he wants, and disclose his “frank discussions”. So what are Hubin and Gottfredson hiding?

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5/31/2014 update: Register-Guard editorial board on Gottfredson’s “Redaction run Amok”

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What UO tells its accreditors about faculty consultation on budgeting

11/26/2013 repost.

3/25/2013: UO’s academic accreditation comes through the NWCCU, which in turn is supervised by the US DOE. UO filed it’s latest report on 3/1/2013, compiled by Dave Hubin. Full of bold talk and more than a few half-truths. Read it all here. The cover page refers to our goal to be in the top half of the AAU:

Here are a few of the accreditation standards, with UO’s responses:

2.B.4 Consistent with its mission, core themes, programs, services, and characteristics, 
the institution employs appropriately qualified faculty sufficient in number to achieve its 
educational objectives, establish and oversee academic policies, and assure the integrity 
and continuity of its academic programs, wherever offered and however delivered. …

… The UO Academic Plan specifically addresses faculty size and quality in the context of the university’s mission, which seeks academic excellence on a human scale while adhering to rigorous standards that establish the university’s ongoing status as the only AAU institution in the state of Oregon.
http://provost.uoregon.edu/content/academic-plan
The University Senate, comprised of elected faculty (both tenure-related and non-tenurerelated), plays a key role in policy review and development.
http://senate.uoregon.edu/

2.F.3 The institution clearly defines and follows its policies, guidelines, and processes 
for financial planning and budget development that include appropriate opportunities 
for participation by its constituencies.

The UO engages several cross-functional teams to assist with budget preparation and
operational assessment. These teams include:
• Budget Advisory Group – comprised of students, faculty and staff; advises on
general fund allocations
• Tuition and Fee Boards – comprised of students, faculty, and staff; advises on
tuition and fees, and evaluates performance and projections.
• Internal Bank Advisory Committee – comprised of faculty and staff; analyze and
advise on debt-funded projects.
• Senate Budget Committee – comprised of members of the elected University
Senate; review and make recommendations on budgetary policy and long-term
financial strategies.

I’d say the reality is a little different. The SBC website is here – not a lot of consultation going on, much less reporting. The academic plan was drafted by Bean in 2009 and then forgotten about  (the 2011 date is when they located a copy of it – not when it was revised.)

The only link I can find to the “Budget Advisory Group” on the UO pages is to the accreditation report itself. How’s that for “appropriate opportunities for participation”?

And as for input into budget development, UO VPFA Jamie Moffitt won’t even show the faculty UO’s budget projections:

Louisiana update, UO lags Africa on public records access

8/14/2013 update: Oregon’s public record situation is also worse than Lousiana’s:

A Louisiana university was found in contempt of court Wednesday for its failure to produce records related to its recent presidential search. 

The order of contempt — and $500 per day fine that accompanied it — is the latest in a months-long legal battle between Louisiana State University and media outlets in the state over records related to the presidential search that hired F. King Alexander.

A closed search for a university president? Shocking.

4/14/2013. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights reports that 11 of 54 African states now have FOIA type laws. The model legislation is here. It requires agencies to publish their policies and procedures for handling public records requests. I have asked UO public records officers Dave Hubin and Lisa Thornton several times to provide this information for their office. They’ve ignored me, so I made a public records request for the info on March 28. Now they are ignoring that too. 

Help UO Matters find out who checks Rudnick’s UO billings

8/14/2013 update: Finally got one page from Geller’s office on HLGR billing issues, in which Rudnick’s firm promises to be more vigilant in the future.


6/23/2013. Surely someone in Randy Geller’s GC office has responsibility for looking over the billable hours, checking productivity, asking questions about the inevitable little mistakes that creep into the invoices, which now must total pretty close to $500K. But more than 6 weeks after I made the public records request below, Geller’s office still won’t even release the name of the person in charge of this.

6/4/2013:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>
Subject: public records request, HLGR billing auditsDate: June 4, 2013 3:31:36 AM GMT+03:00
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Randy Geller <rgeller@uoregon.edu>, doug park <dougpark@uoregon.edu>, “pmkauf@uoregon.edu Kaufmann” <pmkauf@uoregon.edu>, jcohalan@uoregon.edu, “ahatch@uoregon.edu Hatch” <ahatch@uoregon.edu>, jsalmon@uoregon.edu, Ryan Hagemann <ryan_hagemann@ous.edu>, Michael Dembrow <rep.michaeldembrow@state.or.us> 

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request to the University of Oregon for any documents showing

a) who in the UO General Counsel’s office is responsible for monitoring invoices and billings by the HLGR firm, regarding the faculty unionization drive and contract negotiations, and 

b) any audits done by the UO General Counsel’s office, and any documents showing questions about rates, expenses, work effort, time-keeping or other similar issues, and their resolution, for invoices submitted for this work by HLGR.
This request covers the period from 9/1/2011 to the present. 

I ask for a fee waiver on the grounds of public interest, as demonstrated by the substantial public funds involved and by the fact that this matter is relevant to Oregon HB 3342, regarding the use of state funds to hire outside attorneys and consultants during union organizing drives, introduced by Rep. Michael Dembrow in the legislature this year.

6/21/2013:

Dear Ms Thorton: 

I have not received any response to this public records request, sent to your office more than 2 weeks ago. I would appreciate it you could let me know when I can expect a response. 

6/25/2013: Still nothing, time to petition the DA’s Office:

Dear Ms. Perlow: 

I made the public records request below to UO 3 weeks ago. I haven’t received any substantive response.  

This is a petition asking the DA’s office to treat this delay as a denial, and to order UO to produce the requested public records without further delay.

Later that day, Ms Thornton replies:

06/25/2013
Dear Mr. Harbaugh:  

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “a) who in the UO General Counsel’s office is responsible for monitoring invoices and billings by the HLGR firm, regarding the faculty unionization drive and contract negotiations, and b) any audits done by the UO General Counsel’s office, and any documents showing questions about rates, expenses, work effort, time-keeping or other similar issues, and their resolution, for invoices submitted for this work by HLGR. This request covers the period from 9/1/2011 to the present” on 06/04/2013, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request.  By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $322.12. 

6/25/2013: Dave Hubin and Ms Thornton have said at several meetings that their office will work with requestors to get searches down under one hour, since those are free, and that she tries to respond to emails w/in 24 hours. So let’s try it:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>Subject: Re: Public Records Request 2013-PRR-293Date: June 25, 2013 2:31:34 PM PDT
To: “Thornton, Lisa” <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: PERLOW Patty <Patty.PERLOW@CO.Lane.OR.US> 

Hi Lisa, how much will you charge for part a of this request?

7/3/2013: Eight days later, still no response, so I try:

Dear Ms Thornton: 

At the recent Senate STC meeting Dave Hubin said that you routinely worked with requestors to get requests in under the one hour time limit for a fee-waiver. You’ve said the same at PR AAG meetings. 

I’d appreciate it if you could respond to my question below regarding part a) of this request, and also let me know if I could get some subset of the documents in part b) under the hour limit – perhaps just the documents showing billing audits or monitoring from, say, 7/1/2012 to the present?

7/5/2013: Ten days now with no response. I try:

Hi Lisa, can you let me know if you are not going to reply to the email below? It’s now been more than 2 weeks (OK, it was 10) since I first asked for help with reducing the scope of the request.

7/12/2013, she’s working on it. 

Dear Mr. Harbaugh-

The office is working on an estimate for part a) of your request.

The office is unaware of a way to provide you with a subset of the documents requested in part b) of your request under the hour limit.  However, you are welcome to submit a new public records request for the documents you suggest below. 

7/18/2013: Dave Hubin has told me that Thornton does the best she can, but it’s a real problem working with Geller’s office, and she does not control his fee estimates or delays. So I try:

 Hi Ms Thornton –  

Any progress on this estimate? It’s seems like a simple request, really I just need a name from the General Counsel’s office. But’s its now been more than 3 weeks. 

Is the hold-up in Randy Geller’s office?

7/24/2013:  Still no response. Fifty days since the original request and I still can’t even an estimate on the cost of getting the name of the person in Geller’s office who is in charge of monitoring the bills from Sharon Rudnick, which are now approaching $750K.

Anyone got any suggestions on what to try next?

Gottfredson paid Rudnick $272,000 for April, May and June?

7/27/2013: Plus another $56,000 to the San Fran anti-union firm, Curiale, Hirschfeld and Kraemer. Or that’s the rumor tonight around the faculty club BBQ pit. I don’t believe all the HLGR money is for bargaining, part of it must be for some lawsuit Geller isn’t competent to deal with in-house.

But I’m not betting my ribs on that until I see the invoices. Which I asked for a month ago, waited weeks for the estimate, and paid Hubin $214 bucks for last Th. Now Dave won’t answer my emails.

So what is President Gottfredson willing to release public records about? 24 hours turnaround for the porta-potty data. No, I don’t mean Jim Bean’s new contract, still waiting for that, and now almost 2 months to see an audit from Geller’s office of the Rudnick billings. Sorry, but I can’t make this shit up:

Help UO students see Gottfredson’s official calendar

7/26/2013: “Around the O” releases details on Gottfredson’s official calendar.

Just kidding, it’s a puff piece about his trip to Fort Rock:

Participants in this year’s tour included UO President Michael Gottfredson and his wife, Karol; Interim Provost Scott Coltrane and his wife, Wendy; Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and her husband, David; …

Plenty of money for “reporting” on stuff like this, but Hubin’s office is still stonewalling requests by student-journalists to get a copy of their president’s official calendar. After his month’s news about Rudy Crew and Jeff Cogen, you’d think he’d realize how bad this looks. Apparently he doesn’t care.

6/7/2013: Dave Hubin’s public records office is trying to charge our students $240 to see the most recent 5 months of their president’s official calendar, claiming there’s not enough public interest to justify a fee waiver. Please donate below to help them out.

Also on “Around the O” today, a survey on reader use and satisfaction from the “Office of Strategic Communication”. Fill it out, and tell them UO Matters sent you:

Donate $5 to pay President Gottfredson’s public records fees

Fees for reporters, subsidies for propaganda

7/15/2013: We’ve written before about the $104K cost of “Around the O”. Here are two much worse examples of how UO is making work more difficult for real reporters, while spending public money on what amounts to propaganda. I suppose you could argue this is good for UO in the short run, except it goes against everything that public universities are supposed to stand for.

1) If you’re a UO student journalist like Daily Emerald Editor Sam Stites and you try to get public records about UO’s athletic department, the Ducks will hit you up for substantial fees, and Dave Hubin will argue it would be wrong to use tuition money to subsidize the release of public records to the public.

But UO has no problem spending money to hire sports reporter Rob Moseley away from the Register Guard to write for the official UO GoDucks.com website. At $50,000 a year, plus bowl games junkets for spouse and kids, and on a year by year contract, I can just imagine how much real information we’ll get from Mr. Moseley about things like the Jock Box subsidies and who paid for the NCAA legal defense.

2) That’s just sports. But UO is playing the same game with substantive things like President Gottfredson’s official calendar, showing who he met with, while negotiating an independent board for UO. Surely that’s important enough to justify a public interest fee waiver? No. Dave Hubin wants to charge $240 for UO’s student journalists to see the calendar.

The Oregon Commentator tried to pay this fee with money allocated by UO’s student government for just that purpose. Hubin responded with a ruling saying student publications like the Commentator and the Emerald can’t use student money to buy UO’s public records.

But President Gottfredson has no problem paying for yet another “strategic communications” flack to broadcast his own spin on things:

Salary: $60,000 to $85,000 

Public & Government Affairs and the Office of the President invite applications for a full-time (1.0 FTE) Director of Public Affairs and President’s Office Communications.  This position is responsible for providing executive communications support to the president of the university and for developing and managing comprehensive communications activities for the Office of the President with internal and external constituencies.  

The Emerald has now set up an independent non-profit to solicit donations, in an effort to get around Hubin’s rules. Donate here, you’ll get a nice letter *from* the Emerald Editor, to show the IRS when you claim it on your taxes. You don’t have to be an economist to understand that free-riding will mean they’ll never get enough money- a fact our UO administration is counting on.