Public Records how to

In theory it’s easy to get public records from UO. Public records includes every paper or electronic record – including emails – produced with university resources. State law is very clear: these are public property and are to be given to anyone who cares to see them, though agencies can charge actual costs.

Assistant Counsel Doug Park – email him at [email protected] or [email protected] is specifically tasked with implementing this law and with helping provide documents to the public. Just send Doug an email saying “This is a public records request for ….” and describe the document or accounting information. You don’t need to say why you want it. If the public is likely to have an interest in the document – e.g. it documents expenditure of public funds, illegality, or might end up in the newspapers – add “I ask for a fee waiver on the grounds of public interest because …”

In practice, here at UO, President Frohnmayer has given Mr. Park instructions to make it as difficult as possible for you to get these records. OpenUpOregon has some advice on how to get them from him anyway. Remember, be nice to Doug – he is just following orders from Herr Frohnmayer.


6/5/2009 update:

The Union effort seems to be gaining momentum. They have hired additional organizers and that suggests they believe they have the potential to win an election.

During Frohnmayer’s years faculty salaries have gone nowhere, while administrative salaries, spending, and distractions like athletics, Bend, Portland, and so on have ballooned. The only transparency has been the clear contempt with which Frohnmayer and his cronies have treated the faculty and the Senate.

If Lariviere does not take quick steps to repudiate Frohnmayer’s decisions and replace senior administrators, I think UO may well go Union pretty quickly.

An AAUP-AFT collaboration is pursuing the idea of a UO faculty union. Their website is here.

I think a union of UO faculty members is an interesting idea that should be seriously debated. People I know in the UC system are pretty happy with theirs. But at other places it seems to be followed by a shift away from incentives for research and towards mediocrity.

My own take is that the administration needs to take the possibility seriously and credibly explain how they propose to reallocate UO’s scarce resources away from themselves and their pet projects and back to UO’s core mission. Where does that $12 million in new tuition go?

Oregonian Op-Ed on UO President’s Salary


Margaret Soltan, a frequent commenter on academic issues and a contributor to writes about us on her blog today:

The pun in the blog’s title points to matters of importance on campus (an overpaid president, too many administrators, a sports obsession, a budget crisis, anti-intellectualism, etc.) and the basic attitude of concern among the blog’s authors — their university matters, and its betrayal of fundamental academic principles is so severe that these people have gone public.

She includes a long list of her own previous posts on UO’s administrators. Always appalling, sometimes hilarious.

Ted Taylor has an excellent post on UO matters in this week’s Eugene Weekly:

Underlying nearly all of the discussions on the blog are larger questions of governance and transparency. With Frohnmayer on the way out, this is a critical time to resolve some long-standing equity and fairness issues that are keeping the UO from being as academically strong and competitive as it can be.

Steve Duin of the Oregonian had a column Tuesday on “the bizarre, paranoid and problematic culture of secrecy at the University of Oregon” (his well-turned phrase, not ours.) WWeek provides a link to us as well. UO’s PR office’s E-clips service will email you a daily synopsis of press stories on UO. They play it straight with the good, bad, and ugly, as you can see in this one with a Ryan Knutson story on the USDOJ’s investigation of UO’s Minority Recruitment Plan, and a Greg Bolt story in the RG on Frohmayer’s unusually high pay (before his recent $150K raise.)

An earlier draft of this Op-Ed was published as an Op-Ed in the Oregonian on Dec 8 2008. In this letter OUS Attorney Ryan Hagemann disputed the numbers, and Oregonian columnist Steve Duin posted this rebuttal, showing that OUS was attempting to underreport the true amount of President Frohnmayer’s compensation.

I’m a professor of economics at UO. It’s a great job. I love the research and the teaching, and I earn more than most of the Oregonians who help pay my salary. Maybe I should just keep my head down. But there are big problems at UO. The Carnegie Institution says we aren’t top tier in research anymore, and our prestigious AAU university affiliation is in danger.

One reason for UO’s decline is that faculty are now paid 83% of what they can earn at comparable universities. Last year my department lost 2 out of 20 faculty to offers we couldn’t come close to matching. Other universities also offer the best graduate students – whose efforts are the heart of most university research – fellowships worth twice the $13,000 a year we can offer.

We’re told this is because the state doesn’t give us enough money. But since 2000 the Oregon University System Board has somehow found the cash to increase UO President Frohnmayer’s pay by 325%. His total compensation is now $717,000. Last year presidents of comparable universities got $469,000, and the president of UC-Berkeley – a much richer, larger, and more complex university, was willing to work for just $486,000. After paying a consultant $45,500 for the 10 page report showing this, they gave Frohnmayer another $173,000. No wonder that the OUS hid this report until the Attorney General finally ordered them to give it up.

Here’s another problem. Last year I taught a class of 30 students. In a classroom with 20 desks. That same quarter UO was spending $2.8 million renovating Johnson Hall. Great news! – except that Johnson Hall doesn’t have classrooms, just the offices for UO’s senior administrators. Really nice, big, well air-conditioned offices. My classroom still has 20 desks.

Then there are the “golden parachute” contracts for retiring university administrators, which The Oregonian wrote about in March. UO gave 3 top administrators retirement contracts that explicitly say the intent is to allow them to collect PERS retirement on top of half pay from UO for 5 years. Their job responsibilities are often trivial, and they earn more than when they were working! Sweet deal. President Frohnmayer signed and then vigorously defended these contracts. He’s probably hoping the OUS board will write him one too. Can UO afford this? No.

This year UO enrollment was up 4%. Despite this, department budgets were cut 2%. UO’s administrators will not tell us where they spent the missing money. No wonder. Fat executive pay, golden parachute contracts, executive perks, and a raw deal for the rank and file doesn’t just happen on Wall Street – this is going on at UO too.

Just as with the banks, UO could be saved if the state threw a big bag of money at us. Enough so that we could remodel the administration’s offices, give Frohnmayer his golden parachute, and run a good university too. I’m not counting on this! Instead, the OUS board must take charge of the situation and recognize that UO is about students and the faculty and staff that teach them, not the administrators. Tell administrators that big salaries, perks, and parachutes only come after they’ve prepared a plan to bring UO back to its glory days, implemented it, and got some results. That’s their job, after all.

Meanwhile, it sure would be nice for our President Frohnmayer to take a pay cut, as the presidents of UW, WSU, Stanford and others have recently agreed to do. If he gave UO back $200,000, he’d still be better paid than a lot of his peers in richer states. And my students could finally all have desks!

Frohnmayer pay and Ray Cotton’s ML Strategies Report

Back in 2007 University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer’s friends on the Oregon University System Board wanted to give him a raise. So they hired Ray Cotton of the higher ed consulting firm ML Strategies to prepare a report comparing Frohnmayer’s pay with that of his peers.

The report is 11 pages long, including the cover. It’s almost entirely cribbed from data available online to any subscriber from the online reports on presidential salaries. Mr. Cotton’s report is here. Mr. Cotton and ML Strategies charged Oregon an incredible $45,572.03 for this report. The invoices are at the end of the pdf.

The OUS system was so embarrassed by this episode that their legal counsel Ryan Hagemann spent months trying to hide the report from public view, and months more trying to hide how much they had paid for it. In the end the Oregon Department of Justice ruled they had to make both public, and then that they had to pay the DOJ another $3,000 or so to cover the DOJ’s expenses in making the report public.

Ironically, the information in the report suggests that Frohnmayer was actually overpaid, to the tune of $100,000 or so. But, of course, his buddies went ahead and gave him another $150,000 anyway.

UO pays Lorraine Davis $197,278 to proctor exams?

Quoting from an email we received from an anonymous reader, regarding a student asking about doing their midterm while traveling to an away game:

The team will have to win two matches this weekend to
continue in the tournament. I’d like to plan as if they will do so.

We have tentatively arranged for Lorraine Davis, Special
Assistant to the Vice Provost and former Vice President of
Academic Affairs, to travel with the team to proctor exams. I
am happy to be a contact regarding the facilitation of preparing
those exams to be sent with Lorraine and your preferences for
how the exam is administered.

UO pays Lorraine Davis $197,278 FTE – and perhaps travel expenses to away games – to proctor undergraduate exams?

"Golden parachutes" for UO administrators

This March 2008 story in the Oregonian describes how UO administrators have been taking advantage of a tenure reduction program that was originally set up to ease older teaching faculty into voluntary retirement.

Several administrators have been able to use the program to take home annual payments in the $300,000 range, by getting half pay from UO, full PERS benefits, and annual raises to sweeten the deal. While President Frohnmayer claims that these administrators are doing substantial work, he provides no evidence of this. Here’s a clip from former Provost John Moseley’s contract – he is “Special Assistant” to current Provost Jim Bean until 2011. His main job seems to be running UO’s program in Bend, from his retirement home on the Deschutes. UO’s Bend programs graduate about 15 people – and lose about $1 million – each year.

Maybe we’re naive about this stuff, but we’re a little surprised at how explicitly President Frohnmayer and former Provost Moseley lay out their attempt to exploit PERS rules, as you can see from the complete contract here.

ICC memo

(From May 2009)

To: Units receiving ICC beginning budget allocations
From: Rich Linton
Subject: ICC Beginning Budget Allocations- FY10

ICC- FY10 Beginning Budget

The ICC beginning budget for FY10 will be posted in the coming days, and I write to communicate two key decisions regarding the overall allocations effective July 1, 2009.

1. I do not plan to “sweep” any FY09 fund balances from existing ICC indices, other than those already negotiated with the units directly impacted. In light of the voluntary FTE reductions in ICC-funded positions for the remaining three months of FY09, some of the ICC carryforwards should be impacted favorably.

2. I will apply a 4% “across the board” cut to virtually all line items in the ICC beginning budget for FY10, including research administrative units reporting to me. The few exceptions include the library, lease payments for off-campus research space that involve fixed costs, and a few instances for centers that are involved in pre-existing agreements related to ICC “backstops” or ICC deficit reduction. No cuts will be made to prior commitments to provide multi-year ICC allocations, for example faculty start-up packages or grant matching funds.

It should come as no surprise that the state budget crisis impacting the University of Oregon has placed escalating stresses on my overall ICC budget, especially in aspects such as faculty recruitment and retention, graduate student support and research infrastructure. In addition, the federal F&A “overhead” rate at the UO was reduced from 48% to 42% effective July 1, 2008 and is beginning to impact on reduced F&A recovery from grants and contracts. The funds available for ICC distribution are being significantly constrained despite the growth in new sponsored program awards.

I will evaluate the need for recurring reductions in ICC allocations as we move through FY10. I am hopeful that the Federal “Stimulus” will enhance UO’s research funding and associated F&A generation in the months to come.

Thanks, as always, for your understanding and support. Please let me know if my office can address any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

bargaining 37 stuff




Bargaining: Tuesday 9/3/2013, 1pm-4pm(?), Room 122 or 101 Knight Library.

9:00 AM: Gottfredson meeting with his $100K a month bargaining team:

The most recent admin proposal was for 10.5%. On Thursday the union countered with 14.5% – down from their initial 18%. Gottfredson’s team is meeting now to finalize the proposal they will present to the faculty at 10AM 1PM today – be there.

Raises: The elevator version:

We’re going down. During the first year of President Gottfredson’s administration UO faculty pay has fallen still further behind other AAU public universities:

  • Full profs: down from 85% to 82% 
  • Associate profs: down from 92% to 90% 
  • Assistant profs: down from 93% to 89%
The relative drops are mostly driven by pay raises at the other AAU schools, however UO’s average pay for assistants and fulls has actually fallen, presumably because of composition changes. The retroactive 1.5% ATB raise proposed by the admin’s for 2012-13 is only for 6 months, so it’s really only a 1% raise. Sneaky. Either way it is not close to enough to make up for the ~3% UO faculty lost relative to other AAU publics between Fall 2011 and Fall 2012. Much less enough to get the elevator going up. And the administration has been fibbing: UO benefits don’t make up salary gap.
I’ll live-blog it, meanwhile here’s some background:

Their conclusion is that while both effects are at work, Bowen effects dominate in public research universities, with $2 in increases due to administrators seizing on increased revenue for every $1 in increases due to upward pressures on faculty and staff salaries from other industries. Same for private research institutions. What’s more, they find a plausible culprit within universities. They notice that cost increases are likelier when the ratio of staff to faculty is higher. That suggests that when administrators within the university accumulate bargaining power, they’re better able to force increases in costs. The administrative staff, they suggest, is what’s really driving this.

By administrative staff, they presumably mean central administrators like Jim “38%” Bean. Say Jim, any update on how much our administration is going to piss away in Portland this year? Thanks to an anonymous reader for the link. From the WaPo’s excellent “The Tuition is Too Damn High” series, inspired by:

9/1/2013 Bloat update: Lots of rumors flying around – and I didn’t start all of them – that the administration’s haste to wrap up bargaining is motivated in part by a desire to get the economics off the table before the latest administrative bloat data comes out:

From: Bill Harbaugh 
Subject: public records request, non-classified employees
Date: September 1, 2013 11:55:21 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton Cc: J P Monroe , [email protected], Andrea Larson , [email protected], [email protected]

Dear Ms Thornton:

This is a public records request for a machine readable file in excel, comma delimited, or any other standard format showing the following information for UO non-classified employees as of 9/3/2013:

First Name, Last Name, MI, University Email Address, University Office Address, University Office Phone Area Code, University Office Phone Number, Employee Type, Academic Title, Job Type, Job Title Job Start Date, Yrs in Position, Fac Prim Activity, Home Department, Rank, Rk Date, Pay Department, Annual Salary Rate, Appt Percent Job Status, Job End Date, Appointment Status, Term of Service, EEO Type, FT/PT

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

I’m ccing a few people in the UO IR office, who should be able to easily provide these data.

The prior data on this is from the error ridden Beangrams, and the most excellent presentations of the AAUP’s Howard Bunsis. March 2013 update for UO here:

“Institutional Support” means central administration, more or less.

Tuesday 9/3/2013, 10am-4pm, room 122 or 101 Knight Library, be there.

Rumor from the spectators at the annual faculty club ping-pong semi-finals is that Gottfredson has told Geller and Rudnick to stop their $100K a month billing frenzy and cut a deal, quick. The large faculty turnout at the Thursday meeting had its intended effect, and Rudnick’s flip-out didn’t hurt either.

Rudnick will apparently meet with Gottfredson et al at 9AM to get his instructions. As you can see from the spreadsheet below the union has already come down from 19.3% over 3 years (compounded) to 15%, and has made concessions on health, childcare, and promotion raises as well. The majority of the faculty I’ve talked with feel that if the union offer is not acceptable as is, we should strike during week one.

The bargaining will start at 10:00 AM. Show up Tuesday and find out what concessions Gottfredson is prepared to make on governance and on Geller’s “we own your IP and everything on your computer” proposals. The word from the spectators on Th was that the process and personalities were “interesting”, but not so distracting that you couldn’t get a few reviews done, if you sit in the back. And fun to socialize with your colleagues during the breaks. Not to mention the excellent homemade baked things – consider this a public records request for the recipe.

Synopsis from session XXXVI, Thursday 8/29:

  • Practice drill for strike goes off well. ~100 faculty show up on a summer day when they’re not even on contract. News on the SEIU strike preparation in the ODE here.
  • Some chatter about discipline for Rudnick over her disrespectful treatment of faculty and library staff this morning. Does UO’s respectful workplace policy apply to $300 an hour lawyers? 
  • Union holds firm on raises, only minor concessions. Rudnick seems to have new instructions from Coltrane, sounds ready to deal.
  • After lunch, still about 60 faculty in the room. No visible support for the admin team. No Altmann, no Moffitt, no Geller, no one with any actual authority to deal. No wonder this takes forever.
  • After getting all medieval on me for “posting of false and inaccurate information about bargaining” the administration’s bargaining team is now trying to keep me from posting copies of the presumably fact-based transcripts they’ve been taking at every bargaining session – their stenographer has been typing away all day. Latest here
  • Art 49, use of UO computers, a.k.a as the Stasi Clause. They own you.

Your Guarantee of Truthiness: All UO Matters bargaining posts are fact-checked by Geller and Rudnick’s secret team of well paid consultants, who post their spin on the official UO Admin site, hereIf you pay Dave Hubin $285.98 he’ll even tell you who wrote it.

Proposals so far:

Here’s hoping this bargaining gets wrapped up quickly, so Sharon Rudnick and her HLGR colleagues can get back to their important civil rights work – for Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds:

UO President Dave Frohnmayer’s extra-ordinary pay.

Comparator compensation, using equivalent definitions, is roughly $520,000 or $480,000 if you use “all public and private PhD granting”.

The President of UC-Berkeley is paid $467,556 plus a house.
Dave Frohnmayer gets $662,764 plus a house.

$195,208 more than the President of Berkeley?

Update 5/14/2009: At yesterday’s Senate meeting Provost Bean claimed that Frohnmayer was paid just slightly more than his peers. Bean’s numbers depart from the standard definition by not reporting the $206,000 Frohnmayer receives in 401K and retirement pay. Even without that extra 401K money, he will likely get the most expensive PERS payout in state history, by a very large margin.

Update 5/7/2009: Rumor has it that, after some pressure, the OUS board has told Frohnmayer that they are not interested in his golden parachute retirement proposal that they let him manage UO’s money losing Bend programs from his home at Mt. Batchelor. Instead he will be given an office suite in the UO Honors College, a secretary to help him put his papers in order, and an assistant to help him teach his class in “leadership”. His current TA Barbara West, who is paid $68,000 (for 0.5 FTE) and who apparently does most of the grading, student contact, and half the lectures for this course, which is pretty highly rated by the undergrads, is retiring.