GC Kevin Reed can’t get ethics approval for Pres Schill to take free Alaskan fishing trip with trustee who sets his salary

Some would say “hell yes I want to catch some big salmon, but of course I’ll have to pay for the trip myself”. Others would say “let me have my $350K lawyer, paid with public funds, send the Oregon Government Ethics Commission a brief asking if I can let you pay for my fishing trip.”

President Schill choose the latter, and it seems UO General Counsel Kevin Reed’s brief was not well received. This must have been one of the easier of OGEC Director Ron Bersin’s many decisions about the propriety of government officials accepting gifts from “friends”:

Thanks to an anonymous reader for sending me these public records, and yes it is odd that Bersin didn’t post Reed’s request along with this response.

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9 Responses to GC Kevin Reed can’t get ethics approval for Pres Schill to take free Alaskan fishing trip with trustee who sets his salary

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Well, Mike is still learning. They approach these things somewhat differently in Chicago.

    • A Real Professor says:

      A real professor wouldn’t need to ask a lawyer. Just find a conference in Fairbanks and charge the trip to his department travel budget.

  2. Anas clypeata says:

    Why would Schill even ask? When you make a zillion dollars and are the president of a major public university, just avoid any appearance of impropriety and pay for everything yourself. That should be a no-brainer.

  3. Inquiring Employee says:

    Is it ethical, or a proper use of public salary and letterhead, for the General Counsel lawyer of the University to make ethical inquiries on behalf of an employee’s (the President’s) personal decisions regarding his personal vacations? Will the General Counsel make such inquiries for me, regarding my accepting things of value during my vacations? Will he write a legal memo arguing to the state ethics board that what I am doing is OK? Or does the GC offer these services only to some? This might be clearer if the GC’s request on behalf of Schill became public.

    • ODA says:

      I would guess the answer to this is yes it is right, and yes you can (and probably should) ask for guidance. Also I think I have heard, that State of Oregon employees take on personal liability as part of their job (this may be hearsay), so if you ever think something may violate Oregon Law, definitely CYA and ask your boss (Dean, Provost who will decide if they need to contact legal) to tell you what to do (and keep a hard copy). I think Schill did the right thing here–he could pay his own way in the end (or a cynic could read this as a subversive way to get on record the way the trustees are doing business). I have seen in the papers these kind of trips (like remember that time Dick Cheney… Or when Justice Scalia…) that sound a lot like this trip could sound someday. UOM has written at length about “Recruiting Trips” to bowl games that require nearly all admin and their families (and nannies?) to be whisked away to …um… “recruit students”, but that one is OK, because they are recruiting, students!

  4. Not a trustee says:

    Did the Board of Trustees member do anything wrong in offering Schill a fishing trip? Can I offer a platonic friend that reports to me at work a free hunting trip? I guess the employee friend can’t accept it. But if she does, am I in any trouble? Or does only the person receiving the benefit get in trouble? And who was that trustee anyway?

  5. ODA says:

    I bet the board could have an Alaska retreat for the board, and the University (Students) would have to pay for the trip.

  6. ScienceDuck says:

    To be fair, I can’t really see Mike doing an Alaskan outdoors adventuring trip on his own volition.

    • uomatters says:

      That said, the only ones who walk out alive after the DC-3 crash-lands on the glacier will be Schill and Wilhelms.