University releases subpoena & coach records in bball wage theft case

That would be the University of Maryland. The WaPo:

A federal grand jury in New York investigating corruption in college basketball has requested records from Maryland regarding one unnamed former player, assistant coach Orlando “Bino” Ranson, and Silvio De Sousa, a recruit who ultimately attended Kansas.

Maryland released copies of the subpoenas Friday, along with a statement asserting the university had already sent back all relevant records, and had found no evidence of any violations of NCAA rules or federal laws by any Maryland coaches, employees or players….

Presumably the feds were investigating Bino and Silvio on charges that they failed to compensate their players for their work hours, i.e. wage theft. Good to hear that UMD has provided the grand jury with evidence that their “student-athletes” were in fact paid.

I wonder when UO will release its subpoena? UO GC Kevin Reed’s public records office charged Daily Emerald reporter Michael Tobin $113.64 for copies of any federal subpoenas UO had received (there’s presumably one for the IAAF 2021 Championship bid docs too) and then refused to hand them over, and then refused to give him a refund. Max Thornberry had the story in the EW:

General counsel for the university Kevin Reed, a member of the transparency committee, refused to attend Thursday’s meeting and resigned from the committee before the meeting, telling Harbaugh that his office’s participation in the committee would “present a conflict of interest.”

[In an obvious self-contradiction, Reed then appointed Bryan Derringer, an AGC from Reed’s office as his designee.]

… In addition to stepping down from the committee, Reed expressed concern that Harbaugh’s participation presented a conflict of interest as well. Transcripts of emails between Reed and Harbaugh were posted to the University Senate blog.

“You have been assessed over $45,000 in fees on your public records requests over the course of the last five or so years,” Reed wrote to Harbaugh in an email. “You have paid a few hundred dollars for documents, but mostly you have protested the fees and argued for a change in fee policy that would reduce or eliminate fees. A private citizen is, of course, free to engage in such advocacy, but when a public official does so in his official capacity, he does so at his own risk. I have told you this before, and you have ignored my advice thus far. And, as I said the risk is on you, not the university, so I can’t tell you what to do.”

Following Reed’s prompting to consult with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, Harbaugh says, an investigator from OGEC — via a phone conversation — determined Harbaugh’s interest in public records makes him part of a class or group of people with shared interests, saying, “Your participation would not even be a potential conflict of interest.”

[UOM: ORS 244.020(1), (13) actually says:

(13)“Potential conflict of interest” means any action or any decision or recommendation by a person acting in a capacity as a public official, the effect of which could be to the private pecuniary benefit or detriment of the person or the person’s relative, or a business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, unless the pecuniary benefit or detriment arises out of the following:

(a)An interest or membership in a particular business, industry, occupation or other class required by law as a prerequisite to the holding by the person of the office or position.

(b)Any action in the person’s official capacity which would affect to the same degree a class consisting of all inhabitants of the state, or a smaller class consisting of an industry, occupation or other group including one of which or in which the person, or the person’s relative or business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, is a member or is engaged.

(c)Membership in or membership on the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation that is tax-exempt under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Why did the General Counsel’s office omit this important qualification?]

… “This is symptomatic of the university’s contempt for public records law and the principle that people should have access to the records of their government,” Harbaugh says. “This seems to me a case where the university is using its powers under that law not to promote transparency but to try to hide things.”

More here.

I don’t know what UMD charged for releasing these public records, but here’s their subpoena:

 

Eugene Weekly reports on GC Kevin Reed’s refusal to refund student $114 for Fed subpoena PRO wouldn’t provide, & Reed’s refusal to participate in Transparency Committee or send his assistant Bryan Dearinger

Max Thornberry has the story here:

Transparency Committee Takes on UO Records Policy
Student reporter denied paid-for public records

A student reporter at the University of Oregon was charged more than $100 to obtain UO public records before being told the university would not release them to him.

The reporter didn’t get a refund, and now the university’s Senate Transparency Committee (STC) is asking whether the UO is violating its own policy and abusing public records fees in order to discourage the public and news media from trying to shine light on the university’s operation.

Michael Tobin, a senior news reporter for the Daily Emerald, paid the UO Office of Public Records $113.64 for records before he was told they were exempt from release. He has not received a refund. Tobin submitted a complaint to the STC to find out why he can’t get his money back.

“I’m concerned about a fee for records I was not given,” Tobin told the STC during a Thursday, April 5, meeting. “And if they claim to know Oregon public records law, they should know that if there’s a pending federal investigation that this record would be exempt from disclosure from the start. So I don’t know why they would take my money and then go through the process of pulling the document, attempting to redact it and then say, ‘We can’t give this to you because we talked to the [Department of Justice] about it.’”

… Tobin filed his records request on Feb. 1 for any “federal subpoenas the University of Oregon has received over the past year.” Tobin told the committee he was requesting records he thought might be connected to the 2021 IAAF Track and Field World Championships; IAAF’s selection of Eugene to hold the event has spurred criminal investigations in the US and in Europe into possible corruption around the decision.

… Government agencies are allowed by state law to charge for records. According to the Attorney General’s Public Records and Meetings Manual, fees can still be assessed if no responsive records are found or “even if the records located are subsequently determined to be exempt for disclosure.”

UO’s policy, though, says nothing about exempt records and fees, only that “The Office of Public Records charges for the actual cost of making available public records.”

“They have to follow their policies. They have to follow both Oregon law and their policies,” Chris Sinclair, chair of the STC, says. “So if their policies are more restrictive than Oregon law then their policy is the one they have to follow. That’s my understanding.”

General counsel for the university Kevin Reed, a member of the transparency committee, refused to attend Thursday’s meeting and resigned from the committee before the meeting, telling Harbaugh that his office’s participation in the committee would “present a conflict of interest.”

[In an obvious self-contradiction, Reed then appointed Bryan Derringer, an AGC from Reed’s office as his designee.]

… In addition to stepping down from the committee, Reed expressed concern that Harbaugh’s participation presented a conflict of interest as well. Transcripts of emails between Reed and Harbaugh were posted to the University Senate blog.

“You have been assessed over $45,000 in fees on your public records requests over the course of the last five or so years,” Reed wrote to Harbaugh in an email. “You have paid a few hundred dollars for documents, but mostly you have protested the fees and argued for a change in fee policy that would reduce or eliminate fees. A private citizen is, of course, free to engage in such advocacy, but when a public official does so in his official capacity, he does so at his own risk. I have told you this before, and you have ignored my advice thus far. And, as I said the risk is on you, not the university, so I can’t tell you what to do.”

Following Reed’s prompting to consult with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, Harbaugh says, an investigator from OGEC — via a phone conversation — determined Harbaugh’s interest in public records makes him part of a class or group of people with shared interests, saying, “Your participation would not even be a potential conflict of interest.”

[UOM: ORS 244.020(1), (13) actually says:

(13)“Potential conflict of interest” means any action or any decision or recommendation by a person acting in a capacity as a public official, the effect of which could be to the private pecuniary benefit or detriment of the person or the person’s relative, or a business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, unless the pecuniary benefit or detriment arises out of the following:

(a)An interest or membership in a particular business, industry, occupation or other class required by law as a prerequisite to the holding by the person of the office or position.

(b)Any action in the person’s official capacity which would affect to the same degree a class consisting of all inhabitants of the state, or a smaller class consisting of an industry, occupation or other group including one of which or in which the person, or the person’s relative or business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, is a member or is engaged.

(c)Membership in or membership on the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation that is tax-exempt under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Why did the General Counsel’s office omit this important qualification?]

… “This is symptomatic of the university’s contempt for public records law and the principle that people should have access to the records of their government,” Harbaugh says. “This seems to me a case where the university is using its powers under that law not to promote transparency but to try to hide things.”

[And it will certainly have that effect. UO’s high fees and general refusal to waive them for reporters already discourage access to UO public records. The possibility that you will pay the fees and then get nothing increases the expected cost significantly.]

Berdahl to ask Trustees to give Gottfredson another chance

4/10/2018 repost, for no particular reason.

6/8/2014: Rumor down at the faculty club is that Gottfredson and Berdahl are closeted in McMorran House, working on a strategy to convince the Trustees to give Gottfredson another chance. From the meeting packet here:

June 12, 12:00 pm: Trustees roundtable discussion with Bob Berdahl Ford Alumni Center, Room 403

Presumably Berdahl will be introduced to the board as former UC-Berkeley president, AAU, etc. A legendary leader in higher education. Then he will explain to the awestruck trustees that any more turnover in the UO presidency would be so disruptive, and the search for a replacement so difficult, that it’s better for the new Board to suffer an obvious incompetent, the last bit of baggage from OUS and Pernsteiner, rather than to do what most everyone hopes they will do: Replace Gottfredson with Scott Coltrane as interim, and get UO off to a fresh start.

Given Berdahl’s role in hiring Gottfredson (closed search, etc.) and the latest from FSU on closed searches and search firms, this all reminded me of an old post:

5/15/2012: Berdahl on his and my conflicts of interest and UO transparency crackdown. (See below for response from Pres Berdahl).

From Insidehighered.com:

Legislation in Illinois would bar public universities from using state funds, tuition revenue or student fees for search firms, The News-Gazette reported. The University of Illinois has spent almost $6 million on search firms over the last nine years, including funds on some searches that did not work out well. Critics question whether the spending is necessary, while board members say that search firms have recruited top talent.

The News-Gazette story is very balanced. We could ask our interim President Berdahl what he thinks about the costs and benefits of presidential search firms, but he seems to have a conflict of interest:

 

 

He didn’t report this on his Oregon Government Ethics Commission Verified Statement of Economic Interest – must not have made the 10% income threshold, which I’m guessing would be about $100,000.

After I posted to above, interim President Berdahl emailed me asking that I add the following response from him:

Bill:
The following is a comment that I tried to submit to UOMatters in response to your suggestion that I have conflicts of interest.  Since the comments are limited to 4,000 characters, UOMatters would not accept it.

Despite your campaign of innuendo, I have nothing to hide.

Bob

Berdhal’s comment:

At last week’s Senate meeting, I suggested that Professor Harbaugh had a conflict of interest because, as the largest single requester of public records, he also served as the chair of the Senate Transparency Committee, which has advised the administration on the university’s public records fee policy.  It is a straight-forward conflict of interest: the largest single user of a public service should not be in a position to try to influence the policy on fees for the provision of that public service.

Now, obviously irritated by the suggestion of his conflict of interest, Professor Harbaugh is responding by trying to suggest that I somehow have a conflict of interest. So, let me set out the facts for those readers of UOMatters who may be interested in facts.

Here is a summary of all of my activities and engagements since retiring from AAU, some of which have been compensated, others not.  All of these engagements involve commitments and obligations made prior to my becoming involved at UO, either as a consultant from mid-October to late December, or as interim president after December 28. I have undertaken no new commitments since becoming interim president.

In the summer of 2011, I was asked by AGB Search, an academic search firm associated with the Association of Governing Boards, to serve as a search consultant on their presidential search operations.  I agreed.  After coming to the UO in mid-October, I suspended that association.  I did not serve on any searches.  I received no compensation of any kind.  Because of a potential conflict of interest, I did not recommend that the UO presidential search committee even consider AGB Search to assist in the UO search.  These facts would have been easily determined had Professor Harbaugh been interested in them.

Because Professor Harbaugh has submitted a public record request of South Dakota State University for the details of my consulting there, let me shorten his wait by laying out the details here.  In September 2011, SDSU President Chicoine asked me to come to the campus to meet with faculty, students, administrators, and donors to assist in their strategic planning efforts leading up to a capital campaign.  He also asked that I deliver a public lecture.  In late November, I spent three days there.  I was paid $4,000. Knowing that I had graduated from Augustana College, President Chicoine arranged with Augustana President Oliver for me to spend two days there, again meeting with students and faculty and delivering a public lecture.  Augustana provided a $2,000 honorarium which I subsequently donated to the college.

In September 2011, I spent a week consulting with faculty and administrators at the University of Chile.  I received no compensation other than my expenses.

In my economic interest statement I also disclosed, as I had to Chancellor Pernsteiner and the OSBHE before accepting the interim presidency, that I have served as a member of the Board of Directors of Lam Research Corporation, a semi-conductor equipment company in Fremont, CA, since being elected to that board in 2001.  In 2011 I received a retainer of $60,000 and restricted units of stock.  I am the lead independent director and chair of the nominating and governance committee.  I was also elected to the Board of Directors of ACT, a non-profit academic testing service, in 2011.  I received $11,500 in 2011 for service on that board.

In April 2012 I spoke at the annual meeting of CASE, the organization of university foundation directors and development officers.  This was a commitment that I made last fall prior to my coming to UO.  I received no compensation for this address.

I am a member of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This commission has met three times since the summer of 2011, once, last month, since I became interim president.  I am also a member of the Policy and Global Affairs Commission of the National Academy of Sciences.  My schedule has not permitted me to attend the meeting of this group.  Neither of these assignments is compensated.

I do not believe any of these activities involve a conflict of interest.

[Interim President Bob Berdahl]

I’ve got nothing against people making money – far from it – but for completeness, the Forbes.com report on the LAM Directorship is here. The “restricted units of stock”mentioned by Berdahl above total about $800,000 from 2007-2010, total payments about $1 million, 2011 is not yet listed.

Berdahl says of my participation on the Senate Transparency Committee:

It is a straight-forward conflict of interest: the largest single user of a public service should not be in a position to try to influence the policy on fees for the provision of that public service.

But Berdahl has no problem with AD Rob Mullens and GC Randy Geller trying to influence this policy, just to mention a few people on the supply-side of UO public records. Yet one of the reasons President Lariviere removed responsibility for public records responses from the General Counsel’s office and set up a new office with direct reporting to the president was the conflict of interest between the job of making public records public and the job of providing legal advice and defense to the university. This conflict of interest led to the firing of Melinda Grier, and the $2.3 million Bellotti payoff, to provide one well documented and expensive example.

I don’t think making a lot of public records requests and posting the records online constitutes a conflict of interest. I’ve been transparent about explaining my role in those few public records complaints that have come before the STC. The STC’s policy recommendations on the $200 fee waiver were enthusiastically supported by Dave Hubin, the recording of the meeting is here. I’ll also add that I receive no compensation for running UO Matters, except for the all-to-rare bottle of donated scotch.

The real issue here is very simple. I’ve posted a lot of public records about UO and UO athletics, many of them pretty embarrassing to the central administration. Richard Lariviere’s September 2011 public records reforms made it easier for me to do that. Rob Mullens and Randy Geller want to make it harder, and they’ve found a helpful partner in Bob Berdahl.

Willie Taggart’s Professor of Strength leaves UO to return to FSU

1/1/2018:

Andrew Greif has the news here. Oderinde put 3 UO students in the hospital and kept his job for a year anyway. I’m not sure if Duck FAR Tim Gleason ever gave up the public records on his “investigation” of Oderinde. Say, I wonder if Dr. Skaggs ever got his Sports Medicine Board Certification?

3/10/2017:

More national publicity for UO, from CBS Sports: UO claims the Duck coach who put 3 students in hospital is “faculty”

The unregulated world of strength coaches and college football’s killing season

When three Oregon football players were hospitalized in January following a strenuous workout, they were being led by a strength coach certified from a track and field coaches association.

For a $245 fee, the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) offers a 21-hour strength training course to become a certified NCAA strength coach in any sport. By comparison, the widely-used Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA) requires 30 times as much training — a 640-hour certification process.

According to the NCAA, that track certification was all that was needed by Oregon football strength coach Irele Oderinde, who was suspended for one month due to the January workout.

… Oregon declined to provide a copy of Oderinde’s resume to CBS Sports since it is part of his faculty record. Oregon said faculty records cannot be released without an employee’s written permission, and Oderinde did not grant permission.

You can’t make this shit up.

Southern Utahns crush Ducks in body-bag game records release

8/25/2017: While the Ducks are so broke they can’t pay for tutoring their student-athletes, they’ve got no problem paying Southern Utah $500K to show up and lose the football season’s opener next weekend. The contract is below.

10/13/2015: It’s not really a fair contest. While for years the UO administration has used its Public Records Office and their $300K budget to delay, redact, and charge excessive fees to frustrate the intent of Oregon’s public records law, the PRO’s at most other universities are in the business of making public records public. Here’s the latest example.

Monday morning I emailed identical public records requests to UO and Southern Utah University, asking for copies of the contract for the football body-bag game scheduled for September 2017:

Date: October 12, 2015 at 10:14:21 AM PDT

To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>

Subject: public records request, football game contract with SUU

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for a copy of the football game contract between SUU and UO, for the game to be played in the fall of 2017.

A sample of the sort of contract I am looking for is here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/971644/uomatters/IAC/Football%20contract%20-%20Georgia%20State%20(Final%20Executed%20Version).pdf

I edit a news and opinion blog about the University of Oregon, and I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

I would appreciate it if you could send a pdf copy of this contract to this email address.

Thanks for your assistance

This sort of request typically takes UO a week or two. But SUU responded in less than 24 hours:

From: Jennifer Oberhelman
Date: October 13, 2015 at 9:13:01 AM PDT
To: uomatters@gmail.com
Subject: GRAMA Response

Good morning Mr. Harbaugh,

Attached is the contract between Southern Utah University and University of Oregon for a football game set for 9/2/17 in Eugene, OR requested 10/12 in the form of a GRAMA request.

Please contact me if you have any additional questions.

Thank you.
Jennifer Oberhelman
Exec. Asst. for Administration

“We don’t quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.”

Not bad, though the record is still the 50 minutes it took Georgia State to provide their contract, and Eastern Washington’s General Counsel only took 3 hours.

So Rob Mullens will pay SUU $500K to come to Eugene. Presumably AAD Eric Roedl will get the cash by raising the price he charges ASUO for “free” student tickets  to these body-bag games:

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.30.32 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.29.30 AM

9/14/2015: Georgia State Panthers whip Oregon Ducks in football public records release

Continue reading

New Oregon public records law leaves truck-sized deadline loophole

From https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB481/A-Engrossed

Lots of testimony from Pete Shepherd, who as Deputy AG did so much to destroy the promise of Dave Frohnmayer’s public records law – and famously lost the PERS case to the Oregonian, while working for Harrang et al.  The new law, which comes out of AG Ellen Rosenblum and AAG Michael Kron’s reform committee, has a deadline – but with a loophole that puts transparency at the very bottom of the list of necessary Oregon government services:

… (5) As soon as reasonably possible but not later than 10 business days after the date by which a public body is required to acknowledge receipt of the request under ORS 192.440, a public body shall: (a) Complete its response to the public records request; or (b) Provide a written statement that the public body is still processing the request and a reasonable estimated date by which the public body expects to complete its response based on the information currently available. (6) The time periods established by ORS 192.440 and subsection (5) of this section do not apply to a public body if compliance would be impracticable because:

(a) The staff or volunteers necessary to complete a response to the public records request are unavailable;

(b) Compliance would demonstrably impede the public body’s ability to perform other necessary services; ….

Thanks to Paris Achen at the Portland Tribune for the link.

UO’s non-tenure track faculty to take generous $45K buyout offer

Update: Sorry, there is no such offer for real UO faculty. UO is planning to lay off ~75 non-tenured and pro-tem faculty in RL, AAD, CoE, and the SOJC with no buyout at all.

But things are a little different over in Rob Mullens’ heavily subsidized Duck athletic empire. The Oregonian’s Andrew Greif has the follow-up to the Emerald report that the $175K volleyball coach (or, in the preferred nomenclature of our General Counsel’s office, the volleyball professor) was being fired for cause, here:

… When asked about the letter and the allegations of abusive behavior, senior associate athletic director Craig Pintens said Oregon wouldn’t comment. …

And it now seems that Mullens will pay the coach a few months salary to leave quietly – let’s call it $45K – and will also find alternative work for his assistant/spouse. Emerald reporter Jonathan Hawthorne spikes it:

The [shameless PR flack Craig Pintens press release] added that Moore will work remotely to craft a transition plan to ensure the the program’s success going forward.

Meanwhile, Provost Coltrane’s academic budget is still subsidizing the Jock Box to the tune of $2.4M a year, we’re paying Mullens $500K a year for Frohnmayer’s Mac Court land scam, and don’t get me started on the overhead.

Update: The Oregonian’s Andrew Greif has made a PR request for a list of self-reported NCAA infractions involving volleyball, here. At many schools these are posted on the web, but the Duck athletic department does its best to hide them. Not always successfully. Here’s the 1981 opinion from the Oregon DOJ, written when Dave Frohnmayer was AG, ordering a partial release of the report from some long forgotten 1979 scandal. Very interesting reading which bears on many current issues, including FERPA and the claim that coaches are faculty:

This opinion was very useful back when Gottfredson was President, and UO was trying to hide information about the Willie Lyles scandal.

3/13/2014: Two more UO faculty fired, apparently “for cause.”

The Daily Emerald has the scoop here.  But they’re only UO faculty in the alternative-fact world of our General Counsel’s Office, so that they can hide their personnel records from public records requests. They’re really Duck volleyball coaches.

General Counsel Kevin Reed exaggerates cost of providing public records

Reporter Jack Pitcher has a good report on the bad UO Public Records situation, in the Emerald here:

Multiple University of Oregon students were arrested this year, an assistant football coach was paid over $60,000 for less than a week of work and one visit to campus by an author cost UO donors over $40,000. Public records requests help clarify the facts for stories like these.

…. [UO General Counsel Kevin Reed] estimates that it costs “in the neighborhood of $300,000 a year” to operate the public records office. UO isn’t required to operate a public records office, but incurs this expense to make the process of collecting and distributing records more streamlined, according to Reed.

Actually, the public records office’s overall spending (YTD Activity) was only $207,000 for the last full fiscal year (2015-16, amounts below are net). UO’s entire annual spending on public records was less than half of the $465,000 *increase* in what General Counsel Reed spent on operating his own office, in comparison to the prior year:

 The GC’s spending on admin salaries alone increased by $310,000 from the previous year, to $1,027,000. On the plus side, they do have a spiffy new website with nice photos.

How to get Public Records from UO: Petition the Lane County DA

An anonymous reader has been trying for months to get some simple public records from UO. They filed the request with the UO Public Records Office, they eventually got an estimate of the costs, and they paid it. Their check was cashed by UO. Then they waited some more. Months more. They sent follow up emails to the PR Office. They waited more months. Nothing.

Finally they sent an email to Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow’s Office, petitioning the DA to order UO to produce the documents. A few days later the DA’s office emailed UO, ccing the requestor. They sent it on to me. I’ve redacted identifying info:

To: UO Public Records Office
From: Lane County District Attorney’s Office
CC: [redacted]
Date: February 25 2017

Attached you will find a scanned copy of an Appeal of a Public Records Request Denial filed by [redacted].  [Redacted] notes that the University has not explicitly denied [their] request, but because of the length of time that has transpired since [their] request and payment in full of the University’s cost estimate, [he/she] believes the University has effectively denied [their] request.  [He/She] notes [their] request was made [August 2016] with the University accepting her payment by cashing her supplied check [September 2016]. 

Could you please check in on the status of [their] request to determine if this is a matter that our office need issue an opinion?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

UO then finally sent the documents.

I encourage others who have been frustrated by UO’s Public Records Office to use this petition process, which is described on the Oregon DOJ’s website here: http://www.doj.state.or.us/public_records/pages/orders.aspx

Petitions regarding the UO’s Public Records Office should be sent to the office of District Attorney Patty Perlow. This format seems to work fine:

Dear District Attorney Perlow:

On … I made a public records request to the University of Oregon Public Records Office. That request is appended below. 

On … I received a response from UO, also below, saying that they would charge me  $… for these documents. I sent payment on …, and according to my bank UO cashed that check.

On I sent UO a follow-up asking when I could expect the documents. I have not received any response. …

It has now been more than … weeks since I made this request.

As you know the Oregon DOJ believes that two weeks is normally sufficient time to produce public records. More than two weeks have now passed, and I therefore petition the DA to treat this delay as a denial, and order UO to produce these documents.

Thank you for your help with this matter, …

You can also petition UO’s refusal to waive fees in cases of public interest. The DA’s email is Patty.Perlow at co.lane.or.us 

Disgraced GC Melinda Grier started claim that Duck coaches are professors

3/1/2017:  ESPN picks up the story, here:

The University of Oregon is writing a new policy that could make coaches’ disciplinary records inaccessible to the public under Freedom of Information Act laws.

According to The Register-Guard, the policy “explicitly says the personnel records of about 1,400 staff members, called ‘officers of administration,’ a classification that includes coaches, are to be treated like faculty personnel records and kept secret.”

2/27/2017: Lots of interesting stuff in the Oregon DOJ’s Public Records Opinions, here. The origin of UO’s claim that Duck coaches are UO faculty seems to have been former UO General Counsel Melinda Grier, who was fired by President Lariviere after the Oregon DOJ decided she had provided “deficient legal representation” in a case that came to light because of her and current Deputy GC Doug Park’s failure to respond to public records requests for Coach Mike Bellotti’s contract. Jeff Manning had the story:

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 9.52.17 PM

Or should that have been “Professor” Mike Bellotti?

Way back in 2001, Ms Grier established the precedent that Duck coaches were faculty for the purposes of public records requests. Here’s the DOJ ruling, which hinges on the fact that Basketball coach Judy Runge had been specifically appointed as a “professor” – something that I’m guessing was not the case with Reaves:

That opinion was a stretch even for AG “Hardly Matters”, who bent over backwards trying to gut Dave Frohnmayer’s public records law. Not that I’m a law professor.

2/26/2017: DA to rule on UO claim that drunk Duck coach deal is a secret “faculty record”

Diane Dietz has the long story here. Some snippets:

… But the original 1971 law that made faculty personnel records secret said only that “personal information” held by a university about faculty and students would not be subject to disclosure under public records law.

In subsequent iterations, lawmakers took students out of the law and dealt with their privacy elsewhere.

At no time in the law’s evolution to its current version as ORS 352.226 did lawmakers mention any category besides faculty and students. None of the hearing minutes or legislative records that survive mentions “administrators” or “coaches,” for example, as being covered by the law.

… On Feb. 15, the UO Public Records Office cited the faculty records policy to withhold Reaves’ disciplinary records.

Reaves came to Eugene to serve as co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach for new head coach Willie Taggart.

Reaves signed a two-year, $300,000-a-year contract with the UO.

Within a week, police stopped him at 2:12 a.m. on a Sunday at 10th Avenue and Willamette Street in downtown Eugene, ­according to the Eugene Police Department.

The charges stemming from the stop are: driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. Associated violations included failing to maintain a lane, failing to obey a traffic control device, making an improper left turn and refusing to take a breath test for intoxicants.

The UO publicly said it would fire Reaves, but Reaves soon resigned. The Register-Guard’s record request sought “any separation agreement or financial settlement related to the resignation.”

In the past, the UO has paid big bucks to buy out coaches’ employment contracts. But the UO Public Records Office replied that the documents sought “are faculty records per University of Oregon policy, and as such are not ­public records.”

The RG is petitioning Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow, asking her to issue a public records order to UO and put a stop to this nonsense. Meanwhile I’m wondering how it is that UO’s GC made a public records request for all my emails with reporters about academic freedom, if faculty records are really exempt from the public records law.

UO public records backlog grows – but UO lawyer Kevin Reed gets my free speech emails for free and on time

Sorry, long post.

The UO Public Records Office currently has many unfilled requests for public documents, going back as far as August. They haven’t yet filled any of the requests they’ve received since January 17, more than a month ago, except for boilerplate requests for coaches contracts or directories. The Oregon DOJ says two weeks should generally be enough time to provide public records to the public.

The one exception is General Counsel Kevin Reed’s request for my emails as UO Senate President. He emailed me that request the evening of Jan 16th. I sent him a follow-up asking for clarification, and 3 days after receiving that I sent him all the requested emails at no charge – including those responsive to his rather chilling new request:

“Please share any communications you have had with persons associated with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in the past 12 months, made in your capacity as an officer of the University Senate or member of any of its committees,  which communications relate to or concern freedom of speech or academic freedom at the University of Oregon.”

Despite my cooperation, Reed tried to convince the PR Officer – who works for him – that I’d tried to hide something. She wouldn’t buy it, and last night she updated the log entry to show that I’d provided the records: Those email exchanges are at the bottom of this post.

The rest of the PR log shows how slow the office is generally. Unfortunately UO does not show the fees they are imposing:

Public Requests Record Log

Request Date Title Requester Status
02/20/2017 Salary Data Thornberry, Max Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/20/2017 Documents Graff, Eli Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/20/2017 Grade distribution Johnson, Donna Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/20/2017 Contract Green, Cooper Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/20/2017 Citations Green, Cooper Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/17/2017 Contract Byrd, Colin Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/17/2017 Records Rubbelke, Nathan Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/17/2017 Payments Meek, Austin Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/16/2017 RFPs McGraw, Noah Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/15/2017 RFPs, scoresheet Wilson, Hayley Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/14/2017 Procurement Sessa, Jacqueline Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/13/2017 Contract Thornberry, Max Records Provided
02/13/2017 Financial Records Berkowitz, Steve Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/13/2017 Stale dated checks Lazar, Michael Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/13/2017 Directory Information Nichols, Kylie Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/09/2017 Contract Fagan, Michael Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/09/2017 Contract Sessa, Jacqueline Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/09/2017 Proposals Dietz, Diane Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/09/2017 Procedures Mitchell, Connor Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/08/2017 Contract Walsh, Cavan Records Provided
02/07/2017 Proposals Dietz, Diane Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/07/2017 Proposals Yrazabal, Jeff Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/07/2017 Contract Jacoby, Kenneth Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/06/2017 Correspondence Blutstein, Allan Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/06/2017 RFPs Schreck, Andy Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/06/2017 RFPs Schneider, Joe Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/06/2017 Report Nguyen, Tran Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/06/2017 Agreement Meek, Austin Records Exempt From Disclosure
02/06/2017 Correspondence Greif, Andrew Records Exempt From Disclosure
02/06/2017 Agreement Greif, Andrew Records Exempt From Disclosure
02/06/2017 Agreement Jacoby, Kenneth Records Exempt From Disclosure
02/03/2017 Contracts Cohen, Kevin Records Provided
02/03/2017 Proposals Fuller, Tami Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/02/2017 Contract Nguyen, Tran No Responsive Records
02/01/2017 Proposals Westcott, Janice Requesting/Reviewing Records
02/01/2017 Proposals Jones, Laura Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/31/2017 RFPs, scoresheet Kennedy, Phil Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/30/2017 Contract Maier, John Records Provided
01/27/2017 Contracts Kanter, Richard Records Provided
01/27/2017 Stale dated checks Carlucci, Christopher Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/26/2017 Records Pitcher, Jack Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/25/2017 Scholarship values Pitcher, Jack Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/25/2017 Qualifications and resume Solomon, Jon Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/25/2017 Correspondence Moskovitz, Diana Records Exempt From Disclosure
01/25/2017 Directory Information Parsi, Arash Records Provided
01/24/2017 Fund Allocation Sanchez-Rutledge Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/24/2017 RFPs Van Dyk, Andrew Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/23/2017 Expenditures Hill, Toni Awaiting Payment
01/23/2017 Proposals Klau, Monica Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/23/2017 Contract Shaw, Dana Records Provided
01/23/2017 Bid results Wolff, Roger Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/22/2017 Correspondence Reed, Kevin Records Provided
01/19/2017 Records and correspondence Thornberry, Max Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/19/2017 Documents Greif, Andrew Records Provided
01/19/2017 Contract Jacoby, Kenneth Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/18/2017 Records Jacoby, Kenneth Records Exempt From Disclosure
01/18/2017 Contract Byrd, Colin Records Provided
01/18/2017 Directory Information Lee, Garrett Records Provided
01/17/2017 Contract Greif, Andrew Records Provided
01/17/2017 Documents Dietz, Diane Records Provided
01/17/2017 Documents Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
01/17/2017 Contract Greif, Andrew Records Provided
01/13/2017 Contracts Byrd, Colin Records Provided
01/13/2017 Contract Greif, Andrew Records Provided
01/13/2017 Contracts Thorburn, Ryan Records Provided
01/12/2017 Contract Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
01/12/2017 Contracts Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
01/12/2017 Contracts Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
01/11/2017 Contract Rote, Kyle Records Provided
01/11/2017 Report Hemphill-Haley, Ethan Requesting/Reviewing Records
01/11/2017 Revenue Field, Andrew Records Provided
01/11/2017 Contract Greif, Andrew Records Provided
01/11/2017 Contract Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
01/11/2017 Contract Reed, Tarah Awaiting Payment
01/11/2017 Contract Baumbach, Jim Records Provided
01/11/2017 Records Pitcher, Jack Records Exempt From Disclosure
01/09/2017 Publication Byrd, Colin Records Provided
01/06/2017 Grade distribution Gilley, Bruce Records Provided
01/06/2017 Publication Byrd, Colin Records Provided
01/05/2017 Contract Greif, Andrew Records Provided
01/03/2017 RFPs McGraw, Noah Request Withdrawn
01/03/2017 RFQs Poole, Sabina Requesting/Reviewing Records
12/29/2016 Contracts Greif, Andrew Records Provided
12/29/2016 Contract Thorburn, Ryan Records Provided
12/28/2016 RFQs Richardson, McKenzie Requesting/Reviewing Records
12/23/2016 Contract Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
12/22/2016 Analyses Idsvoog, Karl Records Provided
12/22/2016 Invoices Walsh, James Records Exempt From Disclosure
12/19/2016 Contract Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
12/19/2016 Contracts Greif, Andrew Records Provided
12/19/2016 Contract Byrd, Colin Records Provided
12/16/2016 Contract Byrd, Colin Records Provided
12/16/2016 Contract Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
12/14/2016 Contract Smith, AJ Records Provided
12/13/2016 Contracts Kish, Matthew Records Provided
12/13/2016 Purchase orders Shaw, Bruce Awaiting Payment
12/12/2016 RFP Westcott, Janice Records Provided
12/12/2016 RFP Westcott, Janice Records Provided
12/09/2016 Salary Data Acker, Lizzy Records Provided
12/07/2016 Itinerary Simantel, Eric Request Withdrawn
12/07/2016 Contract Simantel, Eric Request Withdrawn
12/07/2016 Contract Byrd, Colin Records Provided
12/06/2016 Financial Records Jacoby, Kenneth Request Withdrawn
12/06/2016 Contract Dodson, Joshua Records Provided
12/05/2016 Correspondence Jennings, Chantel Records Provided
12/05/2016 Correspondence Appleby, Keith Awaiting Payment
12/01/2016 Correspondence Silberman, Daniel Records Provided
12/01/2016 Contracts Reed, Tarah No Responsive Records
11/30/2016 Correspondence Alger, Tyson Requesting/Reviewing Records
11/28/2016 Itinerary Alger, Tyson Records Provided
11/28/2016 Statistics Fischer, Maggie No Responsive Records
11/28/2016 RFP Koch, Heidi Records Provided
11/28/2016 Contracts Greif, Andrew Records Provided
11/28/2016 Contracts Cohen, Kevin Records Provided
11/28/2016 Payments Jennings, Chantel No Responsive Records
11/28/2016 Contract Meek, Austin No Responsive Records
11/28/2016 Occupation data Morgan, Willie No Responsive Records
11/28/2016 Financial Records Novy-Williams, Eben Records Provided
11/23/2016 Reports Greif, Andrew Awaiting Payment
11/22/2016 Contracts Drimmer, Bryan Records Provided
11/22/2016 Contracts Drimmer, Bryan Records Provided
11/21/2016 Contract Levine, Jeffrey Records Provided
11/21/2016 Records Hawthorne, Jonathan Requesting/Reviewing Records
11/21/2016 Attrition records Fischer, Maggie No Responsive Records
11/21/2016 Faculty demographic data Alvarado, Karen Requesting/Reviewing Records
11/18/2016 Personnel Appleby, Keith No Responsive Records
11/18/2016 Contract Halliday, Marie Records Provided
11/17/2016 Email Jacoby, Kenneth Records Exempt From Disclosure
11/16/2016 Records Nguyen, Tran Records Exempt From Disclosure
11/16/2016 Records Nguyen, Tran Records Exempt From Disclosure
11/16/2016 Employee Information Theen, Andrew Records Provided
11/15/2016 Report Pitcher, Jack Records Exempt From Disclosure
11/15/2016 Email Theen, Andrew Records Provided
11/15/2016 Title IX complaints Theen, Andrew Requesting/Reviewing Records
11/15/2016 Report Pitcher, Jack Records Exempt From Disclosure
11/11/2016 Contract Johnson, Mark Records Provided
11/10/2016 RFP Kennedy, Phil Records Provided
11/10/2016 Email Jacoby, Kenneth Awaiting Payment
11/10/2016 Contracts Dolisi, Joseph Records Provided
11/09/2016 Stale dated checks London, Jeffrey Records Provided
11/08/2016 Law Documents Harbaugh, Bill Records Provided
11/03/2016 RFP and budget Graziano, Greg Records Provided
11/03/2016 Archives Hawthorne, Jonathan Requesting/Reviewing Records
11/02/2016 Sports camps Berkowitz, Steve Records Provided
11/02/2016 Grade distribution Johnson, Donna Request Withdrawn
11/02/2016 Records Theen, Andrew No Responsive Records
11/02/2016 Audits Thornberry, Max Awaiting Payment
10/31/2016 Documents Lockwood, Kat Records Provided
10/27/2016 RFPs, scoresheets Dunaway, Derek Requesting/Reviewing Records
10/25/2016 Records Parker, Haley Records Provided
10/25/2016 Correspondence Greif, Andrew Awaiting Payment
10/24/2016 Contracts Jacoby, Kenneth Records Provided
10/21/2016 Agreement Thornberry, Max No Responsive Records
10/20/2016 RFP award information Sessa, Jacqueline Request Withdrawn
10/20/2016 Invoices Pitcher, Jack Records Provided
10/20/2016 Meeting Materials Poole, Sabina Request Withdrawn
10/19/2016 RFQs Bhawal, Biplab Records Provided
10/17/2016 Reports Pitcher, Jack Records Provided
10/17/2016 Directory Information Garcia, Miguel Awaiting Payment
10/14/2016 Administrative expenses Stewart, Hannah Awaiting Payment

 

10/14/2016 Contracts Hadar, Roey Records Provided
10/13/2016 Expense Reports Kiley, Zachary Awaiting Payment
10/13/2016 Proposals Pratt, Gwen Records Provided
10/11/2016 Salary Data Kenoyer, Kelly Awaiting Payment
10/07/2016 Reports Nguyen, Tran Records Provided
10/07/2016 Invoices Greer, Jeff Records Provided
10/07/2016 Contract Rudiger, Kevin Records Provided
10/05/2016 Correspondence Blutstein, Allan Awaiting Payment
10/05/2016 Contracts Garfein, Richard Records Provided
10/05/2016 Contracts Kelley, Kevin No Responsive Records
10/05/2016 Directory Information Ho, Anida Awaiting Payment
10/04/2016 Contracts Reed, Tarah Records Provided
09/30/2016 Report Nguyen, Tran Records Exempt From Disclosure
09/30/2016 Outdated Vendor Checks Minotti, Anthony Records Provided
09/30/2016 Correspondence Brown, Matt Records Provided
09/29/2016 Contracts Rogers, Kendall Records Provided
09/29/2016 Grade distribution Campbell, Will Records Provided
09/15/2016 Contract and correspondence Scher, Todd Awaiting Payment
09/15/2016 Email Frisch, Deborah Awaiting Payment
09/12/2016 RFP and budget Lewis, Christian Records Provided
09/08/2016 Real estate documents Frisch, Deborah Awaiting Payment
09/06/2016 Personnel records Capriel, Joanathan No Responsive Records
09/06/2016 Personnel records Frisch, Deborah No Responsive Records
09/06/2016 Responses Theen, Andrew Records Provided
09/02/2016 RFPs, scoresheet Wright, Julia Records Provided
09/02/2016 RFPs, scoresheet Wright, Julia Records Provided
09/01/2016 RFPs, scoresheet Lewis, Christian No Responsive Records
09/01/2016 University purchasing Deleoian, Ken Awaiting Payment
09/01/2016 Payment bond Carpenter, Brent No Responsive Records
08/30/2016 Expenditures Patterson, Craig Request Withdrawn
08/29/2016 Report Nguyen, Tran No Responsive Records
08/26/2016 Records Ackerman, Linda Requesting/Reviewing Records
08/26/2016 Report Nguyen, Tran Records Exempt From Disclosure
08/25/2016 RFPs, scoresheet Lewis, Christian Records Provided
08/24/2016 Contracts Roussel, Pete Records Provided
08/19/2016 Contracts Sessa, Jacqueline Records Provided
08/17/2016 Records Duncan, Andrew Records Provided
08/16/2016 Contracts Greif, Andrew Records Provided
08/10/2016 Contracts Cohen, Kevin Records Provided
08/08/2016 Game Contracts Kelley, Kevin Records Provided

On ThursdayFeb 2, 2017, at 10:42 AM, pubrec@uoregon.edu wrote:

2/2/2017

Hi Professor Harbaugh,

I’m writing to follow up on the email I sent you on 1/24, regarding Kevin Reed’s request for “…all communications made in in the past 12 months, between the current chair of the Senate Transparency Committee and members of the committee concerning the business of this committee, as well as all communications between the Chair of the STC and any members of the media concerning or mentioning the committee”. The full language of the request is below:

 “Please consider this a request, under the Oregon Public Records Law, of all communications made in in the past 12 months, between the current chair of the Senate Transparency Committee and members of the committee concerning the business of this committee, as well as all communications between the Chair of the STC and any members of the media concerning or mentioning the committee.”

As I mentioned previously, all we need is an estimate of how long it will take you (or someone else) to find, gather, and send any responsive records to our office. If someone else will do the work, please send their name so we can form an accurate estimate. There is no need to send any documents at this time; however, if gathering and sending the records will take less than one hour the office asks that you provide the records at your nearest convenience.

Thanks for your assistance, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Lisa

Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the General Counsel
6207 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-6207
541-346-6823
pubrec@uoregon.edu

I asked for clarification:

From: Bill Harbaugh
Date: Friday, February 3, 2017 at 11:17 AM
To: Kevin Reed
Cc: Public Record Requests
Subject: Re: Public Records – Request for Documents 2017-PRR-172

Dear General Counsel Reed – 

Two clarifying questions for you:

1) Does your request for 

 all communications between the Chair of the STC and any members of the media concerning or mentioning the committee

includes any such communications from my non-UO hosted email accounts, or texts on my personal phone?

2) When you say “any members of the media”, are you including my communications with bloggers, and organizations such as SPLC and FIRE?

Thanks,
Bill Harbaugh, 
Economics Prof & Senate Pres, University of Oregon, http://senate.uoregon.edu

General Counsel Reed clarified and expanded his request:

On FridayFeb 3, 2017, at 3:04 PM, Kevin Reed <ksreed@uoregon.edu> wrote:

Senate President Harbaugh:

In answer to your questions:

1)  I seek all communications concerning or mentioning the STC you made in your capacity as an officer of the University Senate (Vice President, President or member or Chair of the STC), regardless of which media or device you sued for your communication.  

2)  No.  I do not believe FIRE or SPLC qualify as “media.”  If it helps in narrowing the search, please feel free to limit my request to communications with reporters, editors or other personnel associated with the Register Guard, the Oregonian, the Daily Emerald, The Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Ed.

But, given that you have shared that you correspond with FIRE, I will make the additional request under the Oregon Public Records Law:

Please share any communications you have had with persons associated with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in the past 12 months, made in your capacity as an officer of the University Senate or member of any of its committees,  which communications relate to or concern freedom of speech or academic freedom at the University of Oregon.

Kevin S. Reed | Vice President and General Counsel

Office of the General Counsel

219 Johnson Hall | Eugene, OR 97403-1226

(541) 346-3082 | ksreed@uoregon.edu

I sent Reed the documents:

From: UO Senate President <senatepres@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: Public Records – Request for Documents 2017-PRR-172
Date: February 6, 2017 at 12:26:36 PM PST
To: Kevin Reed <ksreed@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>, Chris Sinclair <csinclai@uoregon.edu>, Scott R Maier <smaier@uoregon.edu>, Brent Walth <bwalth@uoregon.edu>, Gina Psaki <gpsaki@gmail.com>, Dianne Dugaw <dugaw@uoregon.edu>

Dear GC Reed – 

The attached folder has the public records you requested. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Bill Harbaugh, Senate President, Economics Professor, University of Oregon

I wrote to Reed and the PRO office, asking that hey correct the log to make clear that I’d sent the documents:

From: UO Senate President [mailto:senatepres@uoregon.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 11:48 AM
To: Lisa Thornton <lthorn@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Kevin Reed <ksreed@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Fwd: Public Records – Request for Documents 2017-PRR-172

Dear Public Records Officer Thornton – 

I’m writing to ask that you correct the public records log at http://publicrecords.uoregon.edu/content/correspondence-19 which currently reads

Correspondence

Requester: Reed, Kevin

Organization: Private

Initial Request Date: 01/22/2017

Status: Requesting/Reviewing Records

Please consider this a request, under the Oregon Public Records Law, of all communications made in in the past 12 months, between the current chair of the Senate Transparency Committee and members of the committee concerning the business of this committee, as well as all communications between the Chair of the STC and any members of the media concerning or mentioning the committee.

Corrections:

1) As you can see in the emails below, GC Reed made these requests in his official capacity as University of Oregon GC, not as “Private”.

2) As you can see in the emails below, GC Reeds request evolved over time, and I believe the log should show the final actual request.

3) As you can see in the emails below, I have provided the documents that GC requested in that final request, and the log should note this. 

Thanks, 

Bill Harbaugh, Senate President Economics Professor University of Oregon

GC Reed responded by ignoring my point that he had made the requests in his official capacity and doubting I had done this and demanding I explain what exemptions I’d used:

On FridayFeb 17, 2017, at 2:48 PM, Kevin Reed <ksreed@uoregon.edu> wrote:

PRO Thornton:

Here is what Mr. Harbaugh said about his production on his blog:

“OK, so I might have left out a few emails with reporters.”

Unless he is prepared to describe the exemptions under the Oregon Public Records law on which he relied to withhold responsive emails, and unless you concur that those exemptions justify the withholding,  I think it would be inaccurate to say that he responded to my request.

Should you need any guidance on the interpretation of the PRL as it relates to exemptions, please consult with Doug Park or Bryan Dearinger.

Thank you.

219 Johnson Hall | Eugene, OR 97403-1226

(541) 346-3082 | ksreed@uoregon.edu

generalcounsel.uoregon.edu

I responded to PRO Thornton, explaining that General Counsel Reed was confused:

From: UO Senate President [mailto:senatepres@uoregon.edu]
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2017 4:33 PM
To: Lisa Thornton <lthorn@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: Public Records – Request for Documents 2017-PRR-172

Dear Ms Thornton:

General Counsel Reed’s PR request, as he clarified it on Feb 3, asked me for

“all communications concerning or mentioning the STC you made in your capacity as an officer of the University Senate (Vice President, President or member or Chair of the STC)”

and

“any communications you have had with persons associated with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in the past 12 months, made in your capacity as an officer of the University Senate or member of any of its committees,  which communications relate to or concern freedom of speech or academic freedom at the University of Oregon.”

(emphasis added). As I wrote to him and to you on Feb 14th,

I responded to this on Feb 6th, ccing Thornton, with a folder which I believe contains all the relevant emails. There are no relevant texts.

I am not claiming any exemptions under the PR law. I’m not sure why he thinks my blog comment suggests that I’ve done so, or why he thinks my blog is relevant at all to this request. Please update the Public Records log to reflect that this PR request was made by GC Reed in his official capacity, and that the request has been satisfied.

Thank you,

Bill Harbaugh, Senate President, Economics Professor, University of Oregon

And Ms Thornton promptly and helpfully responded by correcting the log.

She also introducing the novel argument that because UO’s interpretation of state law requires requests come from private citizens, Reed must have been acting as such, even though he used his official UO email and title, etc:

2/20/2017

Professor Harbaugh 

As you know, the office has a long practice of holding that employees of a public body cannot make public records requests of the public body they work for. As such, Mr. Reed’s public records request was made in his capacity as a private citizen, just as your public records requests are make in your capacity as a private citizen, rather than a professor.

Additionally, I specifically asked you to provide responsive records to the office. We ask that you (and anyone providing records responsive to a public records request) do this to ensure the records are responsive, and that information that is exempt from disclosure is not inadvertently provided to the requestor. In reviewing the records you provided Mr. Reed I noted they contained personal contact information, which may be exempt from disclosure. Providing the records to the office, rather than directly to the requestor, would have prevented that information from being released. It is also unusual for the office to have received the records in .PDFs. The office prefers to receive responsive records in their native format, and requests that you provide any future records to the office in their native format.

I appreciate your assertion that you have provided all of the records responsive to Mr. Reed’s requests for “all communications made in in the past 12 months, between the current chair of the Senate Transparency Committee and members of the committee concerning the business of this committee, as well as all communications between the Chair of the STC and any members of the media concerning or mentioning the committee.”, later clarified to “all communications concerning or mentioning the STC you made in your capacity as an officer of the University Senate (Vice President, President or member or Chair of the STC)” and defining requested members of the media to be “…communications with reporters, editors or other personnel associated with the Register Guard, the Oregonian, the Daily Emerald, The Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Ed.”

I also appreciate you advising the office that you have provided all of the records responsive to Mr. Reed’s request for  “any communications you have had with persons associated with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in the past 12 months, made in your capacity as an officer of the University Senate or member of any of its committees,  which communications relate to or concern freedom of speech or academic freedom at the University of Oregon.”

When there is doubt as to whether all records have been provided in response to a request the office makes a practice of confirming with the office or employee who assisted the office that all records were indeed given to the office in response to the request. The office appreciates that you have now confirmed that you have provided the entirety of the records responsive to Mr. Reed’s request, and I will now close this matter.

Sincerely,

Lisa

Lisa Thornton, Public Records Officer

UO Media Relations can’t help RG with request for PERS info

It takes our well paid army of PR flacks more than a week to get UO’s payroll numbers? Saul Hubbard’s story on PERS costs is here:

… The Register-Guard requested budget figures from the cities of Eugene and Springfield, Lane County government, the Eugene 4J, Bethel and Springfield school districts, the Eugene Water & Electric Board, the University of Oregon and Lane Community College to try and estimate how the new PERS rates would affect their budgets — and ultimately taxpayers — starting next summer. Those numbers contain certain assumptions for all agencies: that the size of their workforces will stay relatively flat and that employee wages will grow at historical rates.

According to those projections, PERS costs for the eight agencies that responded will grow by $18.25 million in the first year of the rate increases. The city of Eugene and the Eugene 4J School District, with the two largest workforces, face the biggest cost increases: $4.1 million and $4.4 million, respectively. For other agencies: Springfield Public Schools will face $2.67 million in additional PERS costs; Lane County will face $2.2 million; Bethel School District will face $1.6 million; the city of Springfield will face $1.33 million and EWEB will face $1.1 million.

Lane Community College officials declined to provide an estimate of the college’s 2017-18 payroll — which would have provided a more realistic look at its added costs — but said that its PERS costs would grow by $856,000 if the college’s new higher PERS rate was applied to its current year payroll.

The University of Oregon didn’t provide any budgetary information by Monday’s deadline, a week after the request originally was made. …

On the public records front, some interesting other ones in the log, here:

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-8-27-26-pm

 

AG Ellen Rosenblum’s DOJ reverses Hardy Myers on public record fees

But just a little. The Bend Bulletin has the story here:

The Oregon Department of Justice on Monday lifted an order requiring some state agencies to charge the public for government records, overturning its own 14-year-old advice.

Deputy Attorney General Frederick Boss ruled that the Public Employees Retirement System declined to reduce or waive a fee it charged a journalist seeking records based on a 2002 DOJ order the agency no longer believes is valid.

Boss said in his opinion that PERS may be “legally required” to waive or reduce fees for public records, a reversal of the agency’s 2002 order, issued under former Attorney General Hardy Myers, that said it was required to charge full price for records requests.

“Although a public body enjoys discretion with respect to whether to grant or deny fee waivers and reductions, that discretion is not unlimited,” Boss wrote. “In some circumstances, waiver or reduction can be legally required.

There are many ways that that Rosenblum’s office can increase state transparency using opinions like this – if she really wants to. The DOJ order from last year requiring the OPBE to waive a $2.50 fee they tried to impose is here. As you can see it was very narrowly written, to avoid creating a precedent in favor of public access,  and apparently it is still the only opinion her DOJ has ever written *requiring* a fee waiver.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 5.02.05 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 5.02.40 PM

 

Lane County wants $23K for a simple list of employee salaries

The Op-Ed protesting this is in the RG here, and the requesters have petitioned Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum:

… So we are filing a request for review with the Oregon attorney general. Why? Because 39 local units of Oregon government want to charge us more than $40,100 in special fees just to produce simple records of public employee salaries.

If these units succeed in imposing what is essentially a transparency tax, our organization could face future fees up to $4 million across 1,509 units of government to simply compile a complete record of all government expenditures: salaries, pensions and vendor transactions. Levying extreme fees — a tactic used to keep government spending hidden — is a violation of Oregon’s open records law.

What on earth could Lane County, which wants to charge us $23,000 in fees, be hiding? …

To my knowledge Ellen Rosenblum’s office has only made one order requiring an agency to waive fees for a public records request since she took over from John Kroger in 2012. It was for $2.75, and it was very carefully worded to avoid creating a useful precedent for those trying to get records from the state.

In fact one interpretation of her office’s order is that agencies should *increase* their fees, since the DOJ has ruled that the burden on the agency of waiving small fees is trivial. So it’s good to hear that her office will have another chance to show that they are serious about public records reform.

The DOJ’s full $2.75 Public Records Order is here:

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 5.02.05 PM

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Multnomah County DA must pay $16K for hiding public records

The Oregonian has the story here:

A judge has ordered the Multnomah County district attorney’s office to pay nearly $16,000 to cover legal fees stemming from a public records dispute last year.

Attorney Scott Upham sought records related to the district attorney’s investigation into charges of sexual assault against Portland tech entrepreneur Scott Kveton. Upham, a former Washington County district attorney, is now a pugnacious civil lawyer who has aggressively sought public records for documents related to his cases – sometimes raising the ire of prosecutors and other other government attorneys.

A Multnomah County grand jury declined in 2014 to indict Kveton, but Upham – acting on behalf of the woman who brought the accusations – sought the records as she pursued a civil case against Kveton. (The woman and Kveton ultimately resolved the case with an out-of-court agreement. The Oregonian/OregonLive is not naming the woman because she claims to be a victim of sexual assault.)

… Under a “catalyst theory” of the law, Upham said, the court concluded his client is entitled to attorney fees because of the role her lawsuit played in prompting the records’ release. He said that could prompt government offices to be more open initially in responding to public records requests, because they could be stuck with a legal bill – even if they voluntarily release the documents later.

“Hopefully this will persuade more agencies to not play these games anymore,” Upham said.

Deputy district attorney Jeff Howes said his office will not appeal the order but declined further comment.