OUS reference site

Documents and links regarding OUS, SB242, and SB909 and the Oregon Education Board. Last updated 8/29/2011.


Oregon Education Investment Board. Est. by SB909, ostensibly controls K-12 and OUS

SB242 – effective summer 2012, give new independence and powers to OUS

OUS Chancellor’s office

Oregon State Board of Higher Education

  • meeting minutes, dockets

Staff contract update

7/25/2011: Word from the SEIU union is that the state DAS has agreed on a contract, but the OUS locals are still negotiating with Chancellor Pernsteiner’s bargaining team on the OUS details.

Staff making $25,000 a year will now have to pay 5% of their health insurance. The furloughs continue. Staff will get small COLA adjustments to keep up with inflation and a very small step increase, and that only for those not already at step 9. It’s a competitive labor market out there, there’s a recession, the state is crunched, and this contract reflects those facts.

But apparently it’s not such a tough market if you are in Dr. Mr. Pernsteiner’s league and your employment contract is negotiated by a bunch of your cronies, with input from the university presidents whose budgets you control. Pernsteiner’s contract is up for renewal at the end of May 2012. I wonder what the OUS Board will add to his list of perks this time?

  • He was hired in 2004 by Neil Goldschmidt as an interim appointment, then made permanent after the molestation story broke and everyone was too busy to go through a public search process. 
  • He does not have a PhD – unique for a Chancellor. 
  • He is paid $280,900 in straight salary
  • He gets another $23,320 for “professional development expenses.” He does not document how he spends this – just takes as a cash salary add-on. 
  • He gets a free car with all costs paid.
  • He gets a $12,720 retirement add-on, to top off his regular PERS account.
  • He gets an all expenses paid mansion in Eugene, Treetops, which he uses about 4 nights a month, at a cost to the state of over $50,000 a year.
  • We pay about $7,000 for his maid service.
  • He gets another $26,000 in housing allowance to pay the mortgage on his own house, in Portland.
  • He charges the state $52 a day for his personal food while he’s in Portland. The scam is to claim he lives in Eugene, so when he’s in at his own house in Portland, he’s traveling! 

Or maybe they’ll come down hard, and insist he contribute 5% towards his kids’ $7000 maid service bill? The $15,000 landscaping charges?

    Pernsteiner’s maid

    7/15/2011: More docs on the way on Pernsteiner’s croissant expenditures, Treetops, and the OUS board. Probably next week. Vice Chancellor Jay Kenton is looking into the question of whether or not to let Pernsteiner keep his dual housing allowances, maid, etc. My guess is this will be a long process – Pernsteiner’s contract runs through May 2012.

    They gave me a fee waiver this time, before I even asked. Apparently this is not the sort of situation where people want to leave themselves open to claims they are hiding stuff. Especially given that they will soon have to deal with Kitzhaber’s oversight board.

    Pernsteiner will cough up his croissant

    when he reads this in the morning Oregonian:

    SALEM — The Oregon Government Ethics Commission voted Wednesday to issue letters of reprimand to three investment officers at the Oregon State Treasury. A majority of the commission agreed there were violations of state ethics law involving travel expenses and reimbursements while the officers were overseeing Wall Street money managers who invest the state’s $58 billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund.

    From Ted Sickinger. Good precedent! These treasury guys got nailed for a few thousand. Amateurs.

    March on Chancellor Pernsteiner’s Office

    6/22/2011: Thursday June 30th, noon. Announcement courtesy of the SEIU union folks. Here are a few bullet points on Dr. Mr. Pernsteiner:

    • He was hired in 2004 by Neil Goldschmidt as an interim appointment, then made permanent after the molestation story broke and everyone was too busy to go through a public search process. 
    • He does not have a PhD – unique for a Chancellor. 
    • He is paid $280,900 in straight salary
    • He gets another $23,320 for “professional development expenses.” He does not document how he spends this – just takes as a cash salary add-on. 
    • He gets a free car with all costs paid.
    • He gets a $12,720 retirement add-on, to top off his regular PERS account.
    • He gets an all expenses paid mansion in Eugene, Treetops, which he uses about 4 nights a month, at a cost to the state of over $50,000 a year.
    • We pay about $7,000 for his maid service.
    • He gets another $26,000 in housing allowance to pay the mortgage on his own house, in Portland.
    • He charges the state $52 a day for his personal food while he’s in Portland. The scam is to claim he lives in Eugene, so when he’s in his own backyard grilling bratwurst , he’s traveling on official OUS business. (OK, the bratwurst claim is innuendo, for all I know he’s vegan.)

    If I was skimming this kind of loot off state taxpayers and student tuition, I’d be embarrassed to take a hard line with UO office staff who start at $25,000 a year plus benefits. But Pernsteiner obviously has no shame. Still, my guess is he’ll find a reason to be in Portland next Thursday, charging his morning croissant and latte to the state.


    Someone is not listening at the bargaining table, it’s up to us to demonstrate we will not accept DAS/OUS’ proposed wage and benefit cuts! Nearly 150 attended last week’s “Speak Out” but we need to dig deep and really turnout for the March for Fairness on Thursday, June 30. Beginning at Noon we’ll stage in two locations on campus, Oregon Hall and Knight Library; these two groups will join forces  near Johnson Hall and continue marching to the OUS Chancellor’s office. A brief program will highlight bargaining developments and feature Melissa Unger, SEIU Political Organizer. A grab-and-go brownbag lunch will be provided at the end of the action. This is a protest march; we need a big noise (bring your drums, rattles, horns); and we need purple power (wear any and all purple – go crazy!). Bring your family and friends; and student, unclassified and faculty supporters are asked to stand in  solidarity – we’re all in this fight to protect what we have earned. 

    BREAKING NEWS: “OUS rejects contract extension!”

    It’s confirmed: OUS denied our request for a contract extension stating they want to be “consistent with DAS”; state negotiators had set the low standard weeks earlier. OUS determined it doesn’t matter that we started bargaining six weeks later than DAS or that they had delayed in presenting their proposals  until April 15 (the last day to do so) or that we had joint bargaining dates scheduled into late next month. Our contract will expire on June 30 while negotiations continue. This outrage-OUS behavior is yet another reason to turnout for the March for Fairness on June 30! While this move by OUS is a departure from the past and appears to be aimed at pressuring us to accept wage and benefit cuts, the contract expiration has very limited impact. Most provisions of the contract remain status quo. Answers to FAQ  are posted at  www.seiu503.org . 

    SB909 and SB242

    6/20/2011: From Michelle Cole in the Oregonian:

    Monday is a big day for education policy in the Oregon Legislature. After months of public Education Committee tiffs and behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Joint Ways and Means Committee moved several bills on for floor votes. Many of the proposals would have a lasting impact on public education.

    The legislation includes Senate Bill 909, which is Gov. John Kitzhaber’s proposal to create a new investment board that would coordinate funding for all levels of education, from Pre-K to the universities. There are also measures benefiting charter and online schools. For a full run down, see Jeff Mapes’ story from Friday’s committee action. …

    Presumably SB242, OUS Chancellor Pernsteiner’s proposal to centralize authority for higher education in the hands of a careerist mid-level manager without a PhD who was appointed by a disgraced child abusing ex-governor, without a public search, and then blow the state’s tax money on his own inflated salary, mansion, car, extra housing allowance, and undocumented expense accounts will also come up for a house vote today, it has already passed the Senate.

    ODE Editorial in support of Lariviere

    6/20/2011: From Franklin Bains:

    … We’re in a tough spot; the University’s tuition is set to increase by nine percent this fall and public funding to fight the skyrocketing tuition is nowhere to be found. It’s going to take a radical solution to solve the dilemma of decreased public funding and contingent private donations, to say nothing of the governance model issues.

    And if you threaten to get rid of every university representative that “steps out of line,” you’re going to get a whole lot of ineffective leaders.

     That, of course, is exactly what Dr. Pernsteiner is hoping for.

    9% tuition raise for solar power?

    6/1/2011: The OUS Board meets Friday. “The Board will review and approve the proposed tuition and fee rates for 2011-12.” Yes, the agenda states they will approve the increases. No vote? Bill Graves has a good story in the Oregonian, here. From OUS:

    UO – The University of Oregon is proposing up to a 9 percent increase to resident undergraduate tuition and a 6.9 percent increase to resident graduate tuition. (And, if I read it right, a 8.8% increase for non-resident undergrad.)

    Where will OUS spend the money? Well, of course Dr. Pernsteiner will take his cut off the top for expenses. Then there’s the Jock Box, and all the new UO administrators. And now, solar power:

    The Oregon University System (“OUS”) has made plans to undertake a solar photovoltaic power purchase agreement program for all of its campuses. This objective includes a potential installed capacity of approximately 55 megawatts. The initial steps for this overall plan are to expediently execute a power purchase agreement covering the power generation from five megawatts of photovoltaic systems; installed across each of the seven OUS campuses in two phases during 2011 and 2012.

    Yes, nothing says you care about looking green like pissing away other people’s money on solar cells in rainy Oregon. (In fairness, EOU will get a chunk of them. I hear the sun shines over there.)

    As for the rest of the OUS Board agenda, well, if you ever had doubts about Kitzhaber’s plan to fire them all, just read it. Happy self important people, spending more and more of our student’s money on their own pet causes.

    Pernsteiner is uncomfortable, UO is fucked

    5/7/2011: OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner, PhD, is raising objections to the new EMU – student rec plan. From Greg Bolt in the RG:

    … The UO plan calls for major renovations and expansions to the Erb Memorial Union, the central gathering place for students and student organizations, and the Student Recreation Center. Financing for the project includes money previously set aside and money expected to be raised by donations, but the bulk of financing would come from bonds that will be paid off by imposing a new building fee on students.

    In a departure from standard practice, the UO wants to begin levying a portion of those fees beginning this fall, at least three years before the new facilities would be complete. That means several classes of students would have to pay the fees even though they would not get to use the buildings because they will have graduated before work is complete. …
    Pernsteiner had the strongest misgivings about the fee plan. He said such fees simply aren’t allowed in many states and charging students for buildings they won’t get to use is a question of fairness. 
    “It makes me very uncomfortable,” he said. “It’s a question of generational equity.”
    When George Pernsteiner – a guy who has a state mansion *and* a $26,000 housing allowance, and who spends student tuition and state tax money on maid service for his kids and his own morning croissant and latte – is uncomfortable, we are all fucked.

    George Pernsteiner’s expense accounts

    4/13/2011: (Updated, Verbano ODE story here, bojack.org here.) A random dump of a few months of OUS Chancellor Pernsteiner’s expense accounts.

    Our Chancellor does not let a croissant pass his lips without charging it to the taxpayers and students. Extrapolating, it looks like about $7000 in per diem charges per year – for personal food consumed while in Portland, where he lives. How can he use tuition dollars to pay for his breakfast? The scam is to claim he lives at Treetops in Eugene – so when he’s at his own house in Portland, he’s traveling!

    Actually he spends a few days a month in Eugene, and in fact we also pay him a $26,000 housing allowance for his house in Portland. Here’s the post on the abuses at his state owned mansion, Treetops. This costs the state $50K or so a year, with maid service. He also gets a $23,120 annual expense account that he does not even need to document – so he charges his breakfast to the state on another account. Sweet deal. The guy was an interim appointment by – of all people – Neil Goldschmidt. He does not even have a PhD, but he runs Oregon higher education.

    Meanwhile,  Pernsteiner’s attorney tries to keep a lid on the Lane County investigation of problems with his voting residence:

    Nice try Mr. Gary, but I’ve posted your complete letter here. Your claims about time spent in Portland are not consistent with what I have of Chancellor Pernsteiner’s expense accounts and calender, here. I will get additional data to validate. I certainly don’t want to clog the tubes with inaccurate posts!

    Rumor has it that the heirs of the family that gave the Treetops mansion to the state believe Pernsteiner has broken the terms of the gift, and they are beginning the process to get it back.

    Kitzhaber education plan

    4/6/2011: Gov Kitzhaber’s is out selling his “one board to bind them” education plan. The fact that his chief adviser is Springfield Schools head Nancy Golden is a good sign – she’s very impressive. Big step up from Goldschmidt’s Dr. Pernsteiner – whoops, sorry, that’s Mr. Pernsteiner. The RG has a story but their website is down and there’s no way I’m going out to the drive to get the paper copy in this rain. Kimberly Melton in the Oregonian:

    Senate Bill 909 creates a 13-member investment board appointed by the governor. The board would make recommendations on how to invest state education money. Kitzhaber says Oregon needs to target its money to ensure that children show up to kindergarten and first grade ready to read and that students who are leaving high school are college ready and have an easy transition to post-secondary education.

    … representatives from some of the state’s key education groups disputed Kitzhaber’s claim that Oregon’s education system is broken. It’s not broken, they said during a packed hearing Tuesday afternoon, just underfunded.

    “We may have a fragmented system, a competing system, but it’s not a broken system,” said David Rives, president of the American Federation of Teachers of Oregon.

    And Bonnie Luisi, president of the Oregon School Employees Association, testified in support of the bill but said the state’s “drastic underfunding” of education is the “single greatest barrier to the improvement of quality and access.”

    The state’s biggest education group, the Oregon Education Association, is neutral on the bill.

    Follow the bill here, or all higher ed legislation here. Before you get too excited about this bill and what it would mean for the UO Freedom Forces, read Ms Melton’s other story here, on how dysfunctional the House education committee is:

    Some are calling it a meltdown. Others say it’s just a bump in the road. But no matter how you characterize it, Oregon’s evenly-split House Education Committee is struggling to move legislation as the co-chairs haggle over individual bills, what should make the agenda and even who should hold the gavel.

    The ongoing rift has frustrated legislators and stalled some big-ticket education bills on higher education, online learning, student transportation and charter schools. And now, it’s forcing House leaders to start working around the committee.

    “We haven’t been nearly as productive as we should or could be,” said Rep. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, a member of the committee. “There are bills hanging out there that people want to see move to the floor. But they’re getting caught up in other political agendas and time is running out.”

    Has Pernsteiner been voting illegally?

    3/21/2011: The ever helpful bojack.org posts the Oregon statutes on determining voting residence:

    (3) An elections official may consider, but is not limited to considering, the following factors in determining residency of a person for voter registration purposes:
    (a) Where the person receives personal mail;
    (b) Where the person is licensed to drive;
    (c) Where the person registers motor vehicles for personal use;
    (d) Where any immediate family members of the person reside;
    (e) The address from which the person pays for utility services; and
    (f) The address from which the person files any federal or state income tax returns.

    3/19/2011: OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner owns a house in Portland, and he spends most of his working time at his office at PSU. But he votes in Eugene. Now the Lane County elections supervisor is asking him why:

    He’s been doing this since 2004 – apparently it’s part of the pretense that he is using the state owned Treetops mansion in Eugene as his “actual residence.” I’m no lawyer, but I believe in Oregon it’s a felony to make a false statement on a voter registration card:

    Here’s what Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown says about voter fraud, in the Oregonian, last year.

    … Perhaps the greatest deterrents are the penalties for a Class C felony. That’s the crime when someone ineligible casts a ballot, votes under a false name, forges a signature on a ballot envelope or falsely registers to vote. If they do manage to get by our security checks, the Oregon Department of Justice will prosecute and then we’re talking five years in prison, a $125,000 fine and, when appropriate, deportation.

    For example, a Josephine County man who was not a citizen forged the name of his younger brother, a citizen, on a voter registration card. We investigated, the Department of Justice prosecuted and he was convicted of four felonies and deported. Now he can never become an American. …

    We deploy a full arsenal of tools against voter fraud, including long prison terms, heavy fines and deportation. We have checks and balances at all levels of the system. And we have the Department of Justice prosecutors backing us up.

    As chief elections officer, it’s my job to protect the integrity of the ballot. If you suspect any kind of fraud at all, you should call us at 503-986-1518 with as many details as possible. Believe me, we’ll investigate.

    Deportation. I like that. Next time you leave Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District you’d better have a visa, dude.

    As I see it Pernsteiner can either admit that he has been voting illegally, change his registration and pretend he just now moved, or stonewall and keep claiming he lives at Treetops. So far, he’s still claiming his residence is Treetops:

    My guess is that his lawyer tells him to quietly change his registration to his real house, throw himself on the mercy of Secretary of State Kate Brown, and claim his 7 years of voting in Lane County were an innocent mistake that had nothing to do with his office’s efforts to fend off the claims by Campbell Church’s heirs to Treetops.

    Which is going to be a tough sell, given the letters like this that are floating around:

    "no records responsive to this request"

    3/14/2011: I’ve been trying to figure out Chancellor Pernsteiner’s OUS contract. Is it possible the $23,320 for “Professional expenses” is for tuition payments, so he can finally get that PhD? Seems a bit high for the University of Phoenix, but I haven’t heard a better explanation. So I made a request to OUS for the accounting statements. Friday I got this reply from their public records officer:

    How can you give a guy that kind of money and not have any documentation? This keeps getting weirder. Here’s the relevant part of the contract:

    I’ve now talked on the phone with Mr. Triplett about this. The OUS does not check on how he actually spends the money. He says that these amounts are simply paid to Chancellor Persteiner on a monthly basis as “salary supplements” or additional compensation, added to his $280,900 base. Which brings it up to $342,940.

    In addition he gets a car, and is also reimbursed about $20,000 a year for in and out of state travel expenses. Then of course there’s the $50,000 a year or so for Treetops. And the $7,000 or so he charges OUS students for his personal food.