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George Pernsteiner’s expense accounts

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

Our Chancellor does not let a croissant pass his lips without charging it to the taxpayers and students. Extrapolating, it looks like about $7000 in per diem charges per year – for personal food consumed while in Portland, where he lives. How can he use tuition dollars to pay for his breakfast? The scam is to claim he lives at Treetops in Eugene – so when he’s at his own house in Portland, he’s traveling! Keeping expenses in order is difficult with many businesses and institutions requiring the aid of a bookkeeping service, so having it spent on another person’s personal expenses could be quite troubling for some.

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

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

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

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


  1. Anonymous 04/12/2011

    I’m confused. Pernsteiner’s contract says OUS provides a vehicle or a vehicle stipend. The Chronicle of Higher Ed reports he receives a state paid car.

    So why is he charging mileage reimbursement when he should be using his state car? Or is he getting mileage for using his state car?

  2. Anonymous 04/12/2011

    I’m also confused and more than a little miffed. Per UO Matters post on 3/21/2011 about Pernsteiner being registered to vote in Eugene, he actually resides in Portland and works in his office at PSU most days. So where did he travel from/to in September on the days he indicates that he was in Portland? Is the meal reimbursement based on his presumptive residence in Eugene just like his voter registration? And on the days he traveled to multiple cities did he leave before 7 am and return home (wherever that is) after 6 pm in order to qualify for the full per diem? Wish I got paid for breakfast every day even though I ate a bowl of cereal at home before leaving for work.

  3. Anonymous 04/13/2011

    Other anon-

    It’s seems that Pernsteiner’s tax home (Treetops) & official station (UO) are both in Eugene. Any day he is out of Eugene, he is “traveling”, regardless of that $26K housing allowance for a second home in Portland.

    Looking through the departure times, he’s following OUS travel rules but the larger issue is that the travel policies doesn’t seem to take in consideration that the employee would have another residence paid for by the state. Really, Pernsteiner shouldn’t be getting per diem for “traveling” at (his second) home. At least he isn’t putting in for lodging reimbursement…

  4. Anonymous 04/15/2012

    Maybe we should stop talking about Pernsteiner and say a prayer for the custodian’s at the U.O. who have had 1 quit mid shift, 1 die of cancer Saturday and 1 pass away Sunday of a heart attack, they keep building and enrolling record numbers but DO NOT hire enough help or pay decent wages to the classified. No raises for 2 years and now we pay for part of our health care which now covers less and co-pays are higher. Classified now literally work for less money then they did 2 years ago. Stress to work longer hours to complete bigger demands and try to survive on smaller paychecks. God Bless those who have passed and strength to there families.

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