UO General Counsel’s office loses another one

7/29/2014:

Johnson Hall sure is hard on lawyers. In 2010 President Lariviere fired GC Melinda Grier for hiding public records about Mike Bellotti’s contract, then appointed her assistant Randy Geller after what mounted to a failed search for a replacement. (It appears Gottfredson has rehired Grier on the side though). In 2013 Assistant GC Paul Kaufmann left without explanation, half way through his initial one year contract. Earlier this year Randy Geller “retired” in the midst of the scandal over Gottfredson’s handling of the March8-9 basketball rape allegations.

And now the word is that Assistant GC John F. Salmon III left at the end of June, about 6 months after being hired. Again, no explanation.

Given that UO’s Legal Services Policy (if it’s ever signed by Gottfredson) gives these people the responsibility to defend UO and faculty and staff against accusations of misfeasance etc, and help Gottfredson stonewall the release of public records, you’d think that we could at least get a list of the current GC office’s attorneys and their qualifications. Nope. Their website is still “under construction” and has been since that embarrassing “General Counsel Emerita” episode in 2012:

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.40.58 AM

7/31/2012: Geller defames judge, appoints Grier as UO’s General Counsel Emeritus, attacks Senate Pres and IAC

In response to demands from Senate President Kyr and others including Frank Stahl, Nathan Tublitz and John Bonine, UO General Counsel Randy Geller announced yesterday he’s rescheduling his random drug testing hearing.

But it’s a sham, he’s picked another date when school is out of session. And he completely ignores the faculty / administrative agreement calling for UO policies like this to go through the Senate. That “policy on policies” agreement with Lariviere had been the Senate’s major accomplishment for 2011-2012. Now Geller thinks it isn’t worth a mention.

Geller also claims Senate President Rob Kyr and the IAC Chair made false and offensive comments about the university’s rulemaking process. Apparently that process’s feelings have been hurt, so Randy asks Kyr et al to apologize to it, and to some especially sensitive senior administrators:

Dear Rob and Brian:

I received your email of July 24, 2012, requesting a delay in the public hearing scheduled for August 23rd, 2012. The hearing will be rescheduled for September 13, 2012. Written comments will be accepted until noon on September 14, 2012. We will similarly postpone the date the rule will be filed with the Secretary of State and become final. The rule will be filed on September 21, 2012.

Your allegations about the University’s rulemaking processes are offensive and false , as are the comments made publicly by members of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. I ask that you apologize in writing to President Berdahl, Rob Mullens, and me. I also ask that you censure the members of the IAC who have published offensive and defamatory comments.

Randolph Geller

General Counsel
University of Oregon

I like that “in writing” part. Maybe Geller wants Kyr to stand in front of the whole class and use the blackboard, like in third grade? Geller sent this out yesterday. Berdahl’s last few days look to be as crazy as his first. Adult supervision supposedly returns Aug 1, but Gottfredson still hasn’t signed his contract. and Gottfredson apparently signed his contract last night.

8/27/2012 9:00 AM: Geller defames judge:

Sorry, long story. Back in 2010 UO’s General Counsel Melinda Grier got in big trouble for ignoring multiple public records requests and failing to get a written contract for her friend, Athletic Director Mike Bellotti:

It was a big scandal and a humiliation for new UO President Lariviere, especially when he then had to pay Bellotti millions, after firing him for what was reportedly lax financial management of the athletic department.

So Lariviere fired Grier too, and got the Oregon DOJ to look into what had happened. Their investigation took 381+ hours, cost UO $44,086.60, and concluded that Grier (and/or her office, a bit ambiguous) had provided “deficient legal representation” to UO.

Lariviere then tried to hire an outside replacement for Grier, but after 6 months with no luck he gave up and just promoted her associate GC, Randy Geller. (Randy’s letter and resume are here. It was supposed to be a public search, but he wouldn’t release these until I petitioned the AG’s office under the public records law. His bit of intransigence cost UO another ~$1,000 in DOJ billing time.) Grier’s assistant GC Doug Park became the associate. And then eventually of course Lariviere got fired too, to be replaced by Berdahl and now by a permanent President, Mike Gottfredson.

And during the transition to Gottfredson a few weeks ago, Geller sent out a string of odd emails. One accused the UO Senate President and others of defaming him. Another, sent to the Senate STC, with President Gottfredson cced, included this:

The “investigation” of Melinda by DOJ was a hack job. Unfortunately, she was the first of several victims of the former Attorney General. His incompetence eventually led to his decision not to run for a second term and then to resign before the end of his term. If you google “John Kroger” I am sure you will find the Oregonian and Willamette Week articles.

There’s no doubt that Kroger, who has gone on to become president of Reed College, had his issues. But the Grier investigation was led by longtime Associate Attorney General David Leith, now a Marion County Circuit Court Judge. The other investigator was Keith Dubanevich, now Oregon Associate AG. Accusing a sitting judge and an associate AG of a “hack job” is competent professional behavior for UO’s chief lawyer? Maybe Geller’s just mad because the DOJ is fighting his efforts to get them to pay Frohnmayer’s law firm $864,000.

Meanwhile, who was it that broke the story on the Grier firing? Jeff Manning, at the time an investigative reporter for the Oregonian. And now the spokesperson for the AG John Kroger’s replacement, Ellen Rosenblum. And what happened to Melinda Grier? She’s been working as a consultant in an office she shares with a law firm that’s tried to persuade Randy Geller to hire them to do legal work for UO.

And – I’m not making this up – a few days ago Geller declared that she is now UO’s “General Counsel Emeritus” (sic):

Screen shot above, page here. We’ll see how long it stays up.

10:15 AM update: Grier’s now off Randy’s website. That was quick. The html from Friday is here. A commenter notes that this would break UO’s new policy for faculty emeritus status, which Geller and Berdahl signed off on in May. No word on his apology to Judge Leith and AAG Dubanevich yet.

12:15 PM update: Steve Duin of the Oregonian gets Geller to speak. Well worth reading. Must have been a fun party.

4:20 PM update: Geller apologizes to Kroger.

If he’s apologized for his equally unprofessional accusations against UO Senate Pres Kyr and IAC members, I guess I wasn’t on the list. From all indications UO’s new random duck drug testing policy will go forward without UO Senate review.

And this, via UO spokesperson Phil Weiler:

Statement regarding DOJ inquiry/General Counsel website

I have communicated directly with the president of Reed College and former
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger expressing my regret for the ill-advised
email I sent several weeks ago. My comments were unacceptable and I have
apologized to the former Attorney General and his staff.

I also recognize that it was inappropriate to use my office’s website to
recognize the former General Counsel for her years of service.

Randolph Geller
General Counsel

I’ve acquired quite a collection of other “un-lawyerly” messages from Randy over the years.

Rob Mullens drives another student-athlete to drink

2/23/2014: UO BBaller caught using a fake ID (a passport?) at Taylor’s. Coach Dana Altman desperately needs this kid in the next few games to save his season, have any chance of making the NCAA tournament, and get some bonuses to top off his $1.8M salary. We’ll see how many games he suspends him for. Maybe Mullens should do what the Russians did at Sochi and relax his THC threshold? Keep these players safe in the Courtside Apartments, doing cannonballs on the couch.

10/12/2012: A little data and theory:

  • August 2011, Duck cornerback Cliff Harris busted for driving 118 MPH after “we smoked it all”.
  • April 2012, ESPN published a story on widespread weed use by Duck athletes.
  • September 2012, Duck athletic director Rob Mullens begins random drug testing of his players for marijuana. This raises the expected cost of smoking pot and lowers the relative cost of drinking. Players, as rational optimizers, substitute toward the cheaper good.
  • UO General Counsel Randy Geller accuses Senate President Rob Kyr and IAC chair Brian McWhorter of “false and misleading” statements about his efforts to subvert the law and implement an OAR allowing random pot testing and taking away scholarships.
  • People smoke pot at home, then fall asleep on their dorito encrusted couch. They drink in bars, then try to drive home.
  • October 2012, Duck defensive tackle Isaac Remington busted for driving drunk.

For more, see this UO economist’s work, here:

The current study examines the relationship between the legalization of medical marijuana and traffic fatalities, the leading cause of death among Americans ages 5 through 34.  The first full year after coming into effect, legalization is associated with an 8 to 11 percent decrease in traffic fatalities.

10/15/2012: More on Drugs:

1) Pres Gottfredson (in his Senate speech) said the new random drug testing policy is not an academic matter. This claim is contradicted by many things. The OAR itself states:

(3) Illicit Substances. If the student-athlete tests positive for the use of prohibitedIllicit Substances, the sanctions will be consistent with the sanctions listed in this subsection. These sanctions define the least severe sanctions that may be taken after each positive test. Notwithstanding the sanctions outlined in this subsection, if thought appropriate, a student- athlete may be dismissed from the team and lose all grant-in-aid after a single positive test.

Losing all your student aid because of one positive random urine test for pot or adderall strikes me as a very consequential academic matter. I know I would have had to have been pretty lucky to have finished college under this rule.

Continue reading

EMU Update: Hagemann kicks UO Matters out of OUS meeting

Update: It appears from the docket that one of the bond sales approved during the public part of this meeting was $2.06 Million to start Robin Holmes’s EMU renovation project:

Which explains why they met while the students were out of town. The Oregon Commentator has stories on the EMU from Ben Schorr and Nick Ekblad – who got Dave Hubin to cough up the Holmes emails.

Live blogging at bottom: 12/21/12: The public meeting of the OUS Finance and Admin Committee starts at 8:30 AM and lasts 30 minutes. The executive session starts at 9:00, and is scheduled for 7 hours. I have no idea what they plan to discuss. The only thing they will tell the public is that

“… they will discuss records that are exempt by law from public inspection.”

The last time OUS did this Paul Kelly called for a secret bathroom break, then they all filed back in and fired Lariviere. And they’re still trying to keep UO Matters editor Bill Harbaugh out of the stall:

Thank you for the message.  The UO Matters blog is not an institutionalized news media organization and you will not be admitted to the executive session portion of tomorrow’s meeting as a “representative of the news media” on that basis.

Sincerely,
RYAN JAMES HAGEMANN
General Counsel
Oregon University System
www.ous.edu

It stinks. I’ve agreed to follow all the normal executive session rules, and I’ll be there at 8:30. Nigel Duara of the Oregon chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has written a letter endorsing my efforts to be admitted to this session:

While we are astounded that the Attorney General has essentially laid the responsibility for defining who is and who is not “institutionalized” news media in the hands of the very organizations who are the subject of coverage (one is put in mind of teenagers permitted to set their own curfews), we can only assume that, in the spirit of transparency,
openness and goodwill toward all, the Oregon University System will reconsider its troubling and meritless rejection of Harbaugh’s request.

Check back to see if Hagemann kicks me out – in which case I’m really going to start wondering what is going down. Call to meeting and docket:


Abstract:

They kicked me out: Very crowded room, something big is going on in there. 
Free coffee cup to whoever leaves the comments with the most and least accurate description of what fresh hell OUS is up to in there. Something Mayan? 

Who’s in? 10-12 Board people including Pernsteiner, Ciufetti. Kurt Shuler, Gottfredson, Bean, Moffitt, and a swarm of well dressed lobbyist types. n~40. Think I saw Roger Thompson. Mary Spilde. Ed Ray. 

Who’s out? Mullens, Holmes, Espy, Harbaugh

Live Blog:
8:30 AM:
Public meeting starts – bond sales – revenue bonds, they have enough revenue to keep the tax exemption (unlike with Matt Court).

Kirk: Do individually. #1 passes
Moderator?: OSU renovations:
Pernsteiner enters, looking very shaky.
OSU Athletics projects – bonds paid with PAC12 $16M in new revenue.
Schueler: PAC12 – isn’t already allocated? Ed Ray: $30+ million in new cable money coming.
Mod: In the next couple of years Beavs will erase $8 million subsidy over several years. They also have pledges.
Mod: PSU Housing renovations. Self-sustaining.
Motion to sell the bonds, passes unanimously.
#4. Mod: All universities are within 7% ceiling.
#5. New standing resolution to refinance bonds when advantageous, work w/ State Treasurer.
#6. New bonds to fund – plenty of revenue to fund – passes.

That’s it for public meeting – move on to executive session of the committee, all present.

Kirk Schuler now reads language on news media. Two reporters identify themselves. One is allowed to stay – didn’t get his name. Charles Triplett walks over to me and says “I am Charles Triplett, Board Secretary. Ryan Hagemann has determined that you are not a member of the news media and we are asking you to leave.” What would HHDL do? I left. 

As I was in the hall, Jamie Moffitt came walking in for the executive session. President Gottfredson was already in the room, along with the Committee and about 30 well-dressed hangers on. So your guess is as good as mine about what’s going on in there.

9:15: Had a good chat with Hagemann in the hall – tried to scare him with a little lawyer stuff, he doesn’t care, not his money. There may or not be a public meeting to make decisions about what they see in secret today. Think I’ll sit here and drink their coffee for a bit.

9:23: Biker dude in full leathers walks in.

Bean walks out, searches for the elevator, comes back 15 min later.

The science post-docs have discovered Dr. Pernsteiner’s croissant stash in the atrium. Going fast, George.

Googling open meetings law – Franklin in the Philadelphia Gazzette:

10:22: In France, they wouldn’t serve these croissants to a dog. Graduate students walk off muttering.

10:34 Coming out for a break. Seem happy. I’ve staked out the refreshments table. Moffitt and Gottfredson turn back. Monica Rimai from PSU comes out. Allyn Ford seems like the most popular. No one’s talking to Bean.

10:52 They go back in the room. Lots of complaints that it’s too small. It’s huge.

11:13: OK, I finished off the last of their coffee – I’m outta here. Might check back later.

Coach sues NCAA for libel over infractions report. O’Fallon to sue UO Matters next?

12/4/2012: It takes a heavy hand to enforce the NCAA’s rules against letting college football players get any of the fruits of their labor. UO’s Faculty Athletics Representative Jim O’Fallon sits on the NCAA Infractions Committee that wields the lash – and he was lucky he recused himself from this particular case. The assistant coach they went after is now fighting back with a defamation lawsuit that seems likely to expose some of that committee’s sleazier practices. Joe Nocera has the story in the NYT.

This post (or perhaps these photos) have provoked a response from a noted UO law professor. I asked him about rumored threats of a defamation lawsuit from him, and got this:

Not sure what the rumor says. I have commented to some people that I am tired of your defamatory remarks and wondered how you would respond if confronted by the need to defend a lawsuit. Defamation claims can extend to any publication. …

James M. O’Fallon
Frank Nash Professor of Law, Emeritus
Faculty Athletics Representative
University of Oregon

A bit later:

[ ] Please remove all references to me from the UO Matters website. JMO

James M. O’Fallon
Frank Nash Professor of Law, Emeritus
Faculty Athletics Representative
University of Oregon
School of Law
Phone 541.346.3830

Before he started shilling for the NCAA O’Fallon’s area of expertise was apparently the First Amendment. Of course. So why should I remove your name from a public forum discussing matters of public importance, Professor O’Fallon?

I’ll let you figure that out.

James M. O’Fallon
Frank Nash Professor of Law, Emeritus
Faculty Athletics Representative
University of Oregon
School of Law
Phone 541.346.3830

Any ideas, readers?

UO Matters cuts athletics subsidy by $555,227 a year

11/9/2012: Forgive me for bragging a bit: I want this in my service report for post-tenure review. Starting last fall I posted a series of stories on the UO athletic department’s overhead rate, using documents obtained with public records requests and petitions.

While athletics had originally been scheduled to pay 7%, instead they were only paying 3%. Eventually I traced this to a secret agreement between Dave Frohnmayer and his athletic director Pat Kilkenny, signed 2 weeks before Frohnmayer stepped down as Pres. Steve Duin had a good column about it in the Oregonian. Jamie Moffitt knew about this deal, but she and AD Rob Mullens kept the Senate IAC in the dark until the public records requests made her reveal it.

I started digging into overhead after hearing Mullens and Moffitt (at the time in charge of athletics finances) tell the IAC that the athletic department is “self-supporting” – and then finding out their math depended on sticking the academic side with the bill for the Jock Box and the NCAA lawyers. Made me wonder what other crawly things were hiding under that rock. Overhead turned out to be one, though there are plenty of others. 

Bob Berdahl tried to shut down the IAC over these sorts of questions. But now UO has a new president, Mike Gottfredson, who has as of today gone up several points in my book, though not a full letter grade. OUS rules forbid overhead subsidies and require that overhead rates be established using an “auditable” procedure. So Moffitt had no choice but to revisit the calculations – especially with a president who wouldn’t look the other way. Today her report came out, here:

Athletics will have to pay $555,227 in new money to UO every year – funds now available for the university’s other functions. Yippee. Of course, this means that they owe us $1,665,681 for the past three years. Not to mention the other millions in subsidies we have paid them and are still paying them. The Mac Court deal, for example, is costing us $467,000 a year. Jock Box tutoring $1,830,000. And there are some other expensive problems with how the new rates are calculated, and what they exclude – mostly things that benefit athletics and cost other units.

But this is a start. And a big payoff for UO’s academic side. So next time you hear Dave Hubin complaining about the $50,000 that my public records requests have supposedly cost UO – he still won’t let me see that list – ask him about the benefits. 

UO can’t give raises because of the union?

10/12/2012: I’ve heard many reports of recent statements by Bean and Gottfredson that they can’t pay us the round 2 and 3 Lariviere raises because of the union. At the Head’s retreat, for example. Please post comments or email me about other stuff you’ve heard from admins on this, with what was said, by whom, and when. The more specific the better.

The admin’s FAQ on the recent OA raises says:

  • Q:  Why aren’t you providing increases to faculty as well?
  • A:  Our faculty recently unionized.  Most adjustments to faculty salaries will need to be negotiated with the union as part of our initial collectively bargained contract.

On the other hand UO has the money set aside – for TTF and NTTF – and it’s hard to see how Kitzhaber can let the coaches get 21%+ and then say no to the professors. And the Johnson Hall dwellers are apparently not saying the problem is the money or the Gov – they’re saying it’s unionization.

Is there a legal prohibition against giving raises without a contract, now that we’ve gone union? No.

Labor law does say that, because of the union vote, faculty now have the right to ask the union to file a grievance against the administration for changes in the terms of employment – which would include a raise. I’m no psychology professor, but I don’t think people file grievances about getting raises often enough to even get a note in the DSM.

If there was a pre-existing agreement to give raises, does UO have to follow through with it now that we’ve got a union? Maybe.

If UO had made a pre-existing commitment to raise faculty pay before the union vote, then not following through could trigger an ERB grievance. Was there a commitment? Well, for starters there’s this email from Interim Provost Bean, sent out a few months after he’d tried to convince us all to take furloughs:

From: James Bean [mailto:jcbean@uoregon.edu]Sent: Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:26 PM
To: Deans Working Group
Subject: Faculty Salaries 

The Missouri article stating that UO has the lowest salaries in the AAU has caused quite a stir (we have since verified that they were correct). Low salaries were always thought of as just Oregonian. But 34 out of 34 is a whole other thing. We cannot have this. Richard’s reaction was “this is job #1.” Richard will likely have an announcement on how we are attacking this when politically feasible (after last gavel). Please communicate to your faculty that the Missouri article really got our attention. This may require disruptive solutions.
Thanks, Jim
_______________________________
James C. Bean
Senior Vice President and Provost

The ERB is not going to take Bean’s word any more seriously than we do, but there’s more substantive evidence that faculty had reason to expect raises. I’ve got a public records request in for the spreadsheet showing what CAS had planned for rounds 2 and 3 of the Lariviere raises, for each TTF, by name. More than a month, and CAS Dean Scott Coltrane is still refusing to turn it over. If you’ve got a copy please send it along. Thanks!

I’m also trying to get more information on who is advising Gottfredson on labor law – I hope he knows better than to rely on Randy by now. My guess is that it’s Sharon Rudnick of Geller’s favorite firm, Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick. I’ve made a public records request, but Dave Hubin’s office wants to charge me $70 for the contracts – and it will be a lot more for the invoices and memos. You know where this is going – pony up, comrades.

Geller opens Glazier’s kimono on UO NCAA violations

8/31/2012. KATU News requested the documents in May, Dan Tilkin and John Tierney have the story. Jake Zivin of KEZI also gives a peek. It’s another of UO General Counsel Randy Geller’s hack jobs, not much meat:

The full dump is here. I’d be very surprised if all Randy’s redactions are legal under Oregon’s public records law. Yes, there’s an attorney-client exemption, but it’s very specific. Not that I know anything about the Oregon DOJ’s Public Records manual.

Geller’s refusal to consider fee-waivers for public records requests on UO’s contracts with law firms helping UO with its NCAA compliance issues was the subject of a post last week. UO President Gottfredson told him to stop that, fix the policy, and give me the contracts. A week later, still no documents from Geller. The Oregon DOJ policy is to fill the request in a week, something simple like this typically takes a few days. So a few nights back I petitioned Lane County DA Alex Gardner’s office. Believe me, they’ve got better things to do with their time than babysit Randy and his crew. For that matter Alex Gardner’s Deputy was not too happy with me for pushing it either.

But that’s what it takes to get Geller to obey the public records law. It would have taken 3 minutes to just email these contracts when I made the request – and after 2 weeks, 2 days, and who knows how much wasted staff time here they are.

They don’t even describe the scope of the work, or limit the amount of billing. Did Geller follow OUS procurement OAR’s when making these deals with Glazier and BSK? How much is the academic side on the hook for this time? Who knows. Reporters are still working on getting the much more revealing Glazier invoices:

VP Holmes hires election consultant for EMU expansion

Full version of the RBI Strategies EMU campaign plan is here.

Update: Why was the RBI contract for $25,000? Because Oregon administrative rules require public notice for contracts of $25,000.01 or more. Sneaky.

Update: Diane Dietz has the story in the RG. AP version here. VP Holmes spent $25,000 of student union money for the consultants report below, and was apparently planning on blowing another $30,000 on swag and propaganda. Ian Campbell in the ODE has this quote:

“The EMU Renovation Task Force Team asked the EMU staff if there was any possibility for there to be some help as they looked at the ways to put out the educational messages and the facts about the project and the best way to address that. The EMU staff contracted with a marketing team, they did not use student fees for this fee, they used auxiliary funds out of the reserve account that they had. We are currently taking a look at that contract and are potentially rethinking if we will be using that service or not at this time,” Holmes said.

“Potentially rethinking”? “Educational messages”? “Not an effort to fool students”? Bullshit. Come on ODE – just email pubrec@uoregon.edu and make a public records request for the BANNER records, contracts, invoices, and emails between RBI and EMU task force members and UO employees. If you don’t make it clear that you will verify what administrators say when you interview them, they will keep lying to you.

Update: The EMU board – which presumably approved this use of funds – is supposed to have 3 faculty members, appointed by the UO president. The current board is listed here. 2 of the 3 “faculty” members are actually administrators – one for DPS, one for the Recreation Center.

Word in the comments is that OUS today passed the request for bonds, conditional on a positive election outcome, and that student union money was indeed used to pay the consultant and to hire at least ASUO student senator to work on the campaign.

8/17/2012: This is for $90 million in funding to renovate and expand the EMU student union building. The OUS finance subcommittee votes on the approval for bonds Friday 8/17, docket here. They are doing this in the summer to minimize student input – it almost worked, see below.

The UO students have voted against this several times, a fact which is conveniently not mentioned in the proposal to OUS. Costs have increased from $300 per student per year to $351 (note: part of this is for the associated rec center expansion, see the docket for details). Payment starts 2 years before construction finishes. Final OUS approval will be conditional on a positive vote from the students this fall, which new ASUO Pres Laura Hinman believes she can deliver. To put this in perspective, these fees will be about 4x what the students currently pay in subsidies for the athlete only Jock Box tutoring.

Now it turns out that VP for Student Affairs Robin Holmes (Update: and/or the EMU directors) are using $30K in student money to convince the students to vote to tax themselves for this project. I don’t see any other explanation for the documents below – unless the UO Foundation is footing the bill. Full report from the RBI election consulting firm is here, their estimated cost spreadsheet is here.

This is amazingly manipulative – and is it really legal to make people pay the costs of a campaign to convince them to vote yes on a bond initiative? My understanding is that a school board, for example, would be in serious trouble for something like this. Unfortunately UO general counsel Randy Geller’s new legal policy prevents student government from obtaining competent independent legal advice – they have to rely on UO’s general counsel Randy Geller.

The politically active and engaged Lamar Wise and other ASUO Senators are going to bring their objections to the project – and more importantly I think their evidence of manipulation – to the OUS meeting on 8/17/2012. Their full testimony is here. Excerpt:

Berdahl and Mullens approved 21.3% raises for coaches

They got bonuses too. A correspondent points out I missed this report from Rob Moseley in the RG, July 20:

The UO football team’s nine assistant coaches each received a $40,000 raise as of July 1, bringing their guaranteed salaries for 2012 to a combined $2,759,500. … Under the amended contracts, all nine received a $40,000 bump this month, and will get another increase of $16,750 on Jan. 1, 2013, for a total combined raise of 21.3 percent in a year…. Also this month, Oregon’s six longest-tenured assistants — those retained by Kelly when he replaced Mike Bellotti as head coach — earned previously negotiated retention bonuses, totalling $450,000 among them.

Just a few months earlier Rob Mullens was telling the UO Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee that his department did not have the money to follow recommendation #1 of the 2004 UO Athletic Task Force and begin helping UO fund academic scholarships. And interim UO President Bob Berdhal was telling the IAC to stop asking questions about Duck finances – or else.

And shortly after the press found out about these raises for the coaches, UO’s interim provost Jim Bean told the faculty they would not be getting raises, unless their new union could negotiate them from the administration with a collective bargaining agreement. I’m not opposed to UO paying market wages. But our administration seems to think the market is just for the faculty – while crony capitalism is for themselves and the jocks. Even Bloomberg Financial News is now calling for university presidents to take control and institute salary reform for coaches.

But in the meantime we should insist on an end to the use of general UO funds to subsidize the athletic department. They should pay a reasonable overhead, pay for the Jock Box, pay for Jim O’Fallon, pay for their own skybox, maybe even – god forbid – pay all the costs of their NCAA lawyers? 8/13/2012.

Why Bob Berdahl hates public records access

Not sure why this took me so long to find. The San Francisco Chronicle, 2005:

UC’S PAID LEAVES CALLED ‘BETRAYAL’ – REGENTS’ EDICT IGNORED – 3 top managers were given lucrative furloughs in violation of university policy:

Former UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl received a 13 1/2-month leave at $315,600 a year. … UC granted the leaves despite a policy approved by the university’s governing Board of Regents in 1994 limiting paid administrative leaves for senior managers to a maximum of three months. The regents reaffirmed the limit in September.

“It’s a betrayal,” said former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, who helped push UC to declare an end to the paid leaves in 1994. “You can’t depend on the probity of university leaders.” … Both the state Assembly and Senate have scheduled hearings in the wake of stories in The Chronicle reporting that UC quietly paid hundreds of millions of dollars to employees in bonuses, relocation allowances, administrative stipends and other compensation.

The revelations come at a time when the university has said budget constraints have forced it to boost student fees, cut services, increase class sizes and freeze pay for thousands of lower-paid workers.

Sounds familiar. Another headline on Berdahl from 2006:

Ex-chancellor to leave UC, pocket cash – He won’t need to return salary he was paid during year’s leave:

At the time, UC said all three executives were faculty members who otherwise would have qualified for yearlong academic sabbaticals to do research in their fields of expertise. But because of their administrative service, UC said it decided instead to grant them “administrative leaves in lieu of sabbaticals” at their full executive salaries. Berdahl, for instance, received his chancellor’s salary of $315,600 a year, instead of his faculty salary of $130,900, while on leave. 

Sounds remarkably similar to the sabbatical deal Pernsteiner gave Frohnmayer, or what Lariviere gave Bean.

In reaction to these and other similar scandals the CA legislature appointed a “Task Force on UC Compensation, Accountability, and Transparency”. Their report here calls for an end to these sweetheart deals for administrators, controls on income from corporate boards, and for improved transparency and public records access. UC-Irvine seems to have implemented a pretty reasonable process to do this – and UO had one, until Berdahl took it away. 6/12/2012.

Pernsteiner demands more croissants

3/5/2012: That’s the latest from Bill Graves at the Oregonian, buried at end of his gun story. More as we get the docs – and there’s some scandalous stuff here.

The board also voted to extend Pernsteiner’s contract through June 30, 2014, but is still negotiating terms. Pernsteiner, who has not had a pay raise in four years, earns $280,900 a year plus $12,720 in deferred compensation.

Three months ago he fired Lariviere for giving out unauthorized raises. Now he wants a raise too. Graves leaves off a few of Pernsteiner’s other perks and hiring peculiarities:

Bellotti’s $490,000 PERS

12/11/2011: Under the NCAA cartel, none of his players will get a dime. Fascinating, carefully researched story by Ted Sickinger in the Oregonian on how Mike Bellotti came to be collecting $490,000 a year in PERS, most of which will ultimately be paid by Oregon taxpayers:

The statutes governing PERS include a loose definition of what constitutes “salary”: “the remuneration paid an employee in cash out of the funds of a public employer in return for services to the employer.” For employees hired after 1995, federal tax rules have limited the final salary reportable to PERS — $245,000 in 2011. But that doesn’t apply to Tier One PERS members such as Bellotti.

What pumped up his base pay were contract provisions that gave him a $325,000 share of the university’s endorsement contract with Nike and Oregon Sport Network each year, as well as a piece of the Ducks season ticket sales.

Bellotti’s contract defined endorsement and network deals as “Opportunities to earn outside income.” But because the university handled them as a transfer of its own revenue, the endorsement money is included in his university pay, and his benefit calculation.

Where will this money come from? Oregon taxpayers. Another subsidy for athletics:

… At retirement, Bellotti’s post divorce account balance was only $300,000. The university made its own contributions over the 21 years he was employed. But combined, they won’t come close to covering the $5 million benefit reserve that PERS established to cover his payments. Moreover, that reserve may underestimate the costs, depending on the state’s investment returns and Bellotti’s longevity.

To make up the difference, PERS draws on benefit reserves of its state and local government rate pool, which includes institutions of higher education, community colleges, state agencies and cities. Over time, all members of the pool will pay for the benefits, giving them less money to hire teachers, cops or provide services.

No wonder the rest of the state hates us. So, has Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt – soon to be UO’s Chief Financial Officer – been letting this rip-off continue for AD Rob Mullens and for Chip Kelly and the other coaches? Seems like the new federal rules may prohibit it. Or perhaps they’ve figured out a new scam. Go Ducks!