10/4/2010: I’ve talked to way too many reporters over the years. They would spit in the phone everytime UO’s public records boss Melinda Grier’s name was mentioned. Steve Duin of the Oregonian compared her operation to the KGB. It took a rebellion of sportswriters over the Bellotti payoff to get UO to fire her. George Schroeder of the RG wrote one of the more temperate bits:
I’m sure a lawyer could explain why the paperwork is almost never available in a timely fashion. But if Lariviere wants to make a mark, he could instruct school officials to comply with the spirit of the law. He could declare his administration’s commitment to transparency.
Ken Goe of the Oregonian wrote:
It was reassuring when University of Oregon president Richard Lariviere said Tuesday that his athletic department would begin following acceptable business practices, begin following Oregon open records law, and begin being open and transparent.
Of course, the proof isn’t in what he says. It’s in what the UO does.
So what is the UO doing? Over the weekend Greg Bolt of the RG wrote two stories about the decaying financial condition of the athletic department. He wrote a third about how difficult it was for him to get public records from the athletic department. The headline says it all:
Money trail an uphill climb | Outside sources provide more detailed information about the athletic department budget than the university itself
The rest of the story is here. Obviously AD Rob Mullens and his assistant Jamie Moffitt have the numbers. Obviously they do not want the public to see them. UO is a public institution, and under Oregon’s public records law, that is not supposed to be their choice. The Bellotti disaster should have made it clear that it is also not in UO’s interest.