Deficient former UO GC Melinda Grier pulling down +$250K at NACUA

After the public records about her dealings with former Duck football coach and Athletic Director Mike Bellotti became public, the Oregon DOJ’s David Leith and Keith Dubanevich investigated and found that UO General Counsel Melinda Grier had provided “deficient legal representation” to UO. The investigation cost UO about $50K. President Lariviere immediately fired Grier as GC, and made her work off the rest of her contract as an adjunct law professor. Jeff Manning had the story:

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Grier later had a very short stint at Hirschfeld Kraemer, as a Title IX consultant.

But no bad deed goes unrewarded. Now Grier is pulling down +$250K (a guess based on previous IRS 990 reports) at the National Association of College and University Attorneys, “here to serve you and assist you in your daily practice”:

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Has President Schill found a replacement for Doug Park?

I don’t know.  Word is that there will be multiple finalists, visiting campus soon, application materials posted by the end of next week. Sounds good.

The job is no longer listed on the active administrative listing here, and the ad itself is now watermarked as an archive. But there’s been no announcement of finalists or public dissemination of application letters. The rudimentary General Counsel’s page still lists Doug Park as Interim GG.

Meanwhile there is an opening for an assistant for Public Records Officer Lisa Thornton, here. UO Employees only – definitely wouldn’t want to take a chance on getting someone with new ideas into that office. Speaking of which, they’ve got a pretty extensive backlog of unfilled requests.

Request Date Title Requester Status
07/23/2015 Student Fees Kimbrell, Jacob Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/22/2015 Contract Ahlen, John Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/20/2015 Athletic Contracts Rhoden, Jaleesa Records Provided
07/16/2015 Software Anderson, Angelina Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/16/2015 UOPD Boone, Mario No Responsive Records
07/16/2015 Compliance Correspondence Mattioli, Kami Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/15/2015 Directory Howe, Kevin Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/14/2015 Donations Jacoby, Kenny Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/14/2015 Contract Harbaugh, William Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/13/2015 Solar Energy Projects Wilker, Steven Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/13/2015 Reviews Paulson, Lauren Awaiting Payment
07/09/2015 Brand Contracts Axon, Rachel Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/07/2015 President Records Harbaugh, William Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/07/2015 University Expenditures Hill, Toni Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/07/2015 Correspondence Martin, Nick Records Exempt From Disclosure
07/06/2015 Coach Contract Baumbach, Jim Records Provided
07/02/2015 NCAA Violations Greif, Andrew Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/02/2015 Purchase Contract Willis, Amy Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/02/2015 UO Foundation Harbaugh, William No Responsive Records
07/01/2015 Coach Contracts Hawthorne, Jonathan Records Provided
07/01/2015 Coach Contracts Shifflett, Shane Records Provided
07/01/2015 Student Directory Asari, David Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/30/2015 Coach Contracts Goldstick, Robert Records Provided
06/30/2015 BANNER Statements Harbaugh, Bill No Responsive Records
06/30/2015 Earthquake Certifications McGraw, Noah No Responsive Records
06/29/2015 RFP Tritsch, Geoffrey Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/25/2015 Football Contracts Berkowitz, Steve Records Provided
06/23/2015 UOPD Correspondence Harbaugh, Bill Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/22/2015 Mirror Epstein Johnson, Mark Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/19/2015 Compliance Emails Epstein, David Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/19/2015 BANNER Reports Harbaugh, Bill Records Provided
06/18/2015 Animals In Research Agundez, Juan Awaiting Payment
06/18/2015 Parking Revenue and Citation Totals Campuzano, Eder Records Provided
06/15/2015 Sightlines Study Dietz, Diane Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/15/2015 Employment Contracts & Salary Cohen, Kevin Records Provided
06/15/2015 2021 IAAF World Championship Wihtol, Christian Awaiting Payment
06/10/2015 Economics Dept. Salaries Costello, Brandon Records Provided
06/10/2015 RFP Responses – Course Scheduler Conner, Brett No Responsive Records
06/10/2015 Softball Coach Contract Greif, Andrew Records Provided
06/10/2015 Softball Coach Contract Hawthorne, Jonathan Records Provided

6/1/2015 update: New Pres Mike Schill takes UO’s General Counsel bull by the horns

Explanation for new VPGC position here, ad here, review begins June 26.

General Statement of Duties

The Vice President and General Counsel to the University (VPGC) is the chief legal officer for the University of Oregon, a senior advisor to the President of the University (President), and an officer of the university. The VPGC will be responsible for managing the university’s legal affairs, overseeing the office’s provision of legal services to the university (including the provision of any outside legal services retained on behalf of the university), and supervising the Office of the General Counsel, which includes other attorneys and support staff. In addition, the VPGC will oversee the University’s Office of Public Records and the University’s Records Management Services, including supervision of employees in those two functions. As a member of the president’s senior leadership team, the VPGC will work closely with the president and other executive officers on a wide array of matters of legal import to the institution. In addition, the VPGC will work closely with university units, programs (e.g. student government), and employees. …

While Lariviere had taken responsibility for public records away from Melinda Grier and Doug Park in the GC’s office because of conflict of interest concerns coming out of the Bellotti fiasco, in practice that independence was a sham. So perhaps it’s best to acknowledge that the conflict exists and set up procedures to deal with it.

5/27/2015 update:

Schill is going to totally reorganize the General Counsel’s office and restart the search for a “VP for Legal Affairs” to take charge of UO’s troubled legal matters. This is the best UO news I’ve heard in long time, and we all hope it will be the first in a series of efforts to reform Johnson Hall. It’s certainly a great start to an improved relationship with the faculty.

Meanwhile UO’s website seems to think Randy Geller is still in charge. (Link finally removed today, 11 months after Geller was resigned.)

5/218/2015: General Counsel search committee soliciting anonymous comments

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Melinda Grier no longer “Of Counsel” for Hirschfeld and Kraemer

9/8/2014 update: This SF firm does anti-union work for employers and billed UO quite a bit during Berdahl and Gottfredson’s attempts to fight the faculty union. Lately they’ve turned to the presumably lucrative business of running workshops about sexual harassment and Title IX training, taught by, of all people, former UO GC Emerita Melinda Grier. A few months ago they even added Grier to the firm, as “Of Counsel”:

But now she’s been dropped. No word yet if they are still billing UO $25K or so a month:

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6/18/2014: Melinda Grier, HLGR, Rudnick, Matthews making bank off UO legal fees

It looks like many other firms are getting some action from Randy Geller too. Here’s April and May, full dump here:

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UO General Counsel’s office loses another one


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:

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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.

Register Guard to sue UO over Gottfredson’s redacted emails

7/28/2014: Christian Wihtol has the story in the RG, here:

The next legal step for the newspaper will be a lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court, said Wendy Baker, the newspaper’s general counsel.

“The rejection of our appeal leaves us with no option but to file a lawsuit against the university. Oregon Public Records law exists to preclude this kind of secrecy among our public servants,” she said.

Andy Greif has more in the Oregonian.

No word yet on whether or not the NY Times will join in, or on how much of UO’s student tuition money President Mike Gottfredson is willing to pay to Dave Frohnmayer and HLGR, to help him continue to hide the documents that explain his administration’s response to the March 8-9 rape allegations.

The opinion by DA Alex Gardner and Deputy DA Patty Perlow is here, along with the 2011 Kroger/Leith opinion they cite. My understanding is that neither opinion has any weight in court. Normal procedure is for the DA to get the unredacted documents and examine them to see if the redactions are justified. It sounds like Perlow really did not want to do that here:

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It’s a stretch, given that UO specifically color-coded many redactions not on FERPA grounds, but on a claim of attorney-client privilege (typically granted only for advice, not facts), or because they included “frank discussions” which might frighten the public. A statement from US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on universities abuse of FERPA to hide documents is here.

In other public records news, the DA’s office has also gone with President Gottfredson’s claim that UO lawyers Doug Park, Samantha Hill, and John Salmon III are “faculty” and therefore do not have to release their resumes. Bizarre and secretive.

7/23/2014: The New York Times is not impressed by Gottfredson’s “sanitized” timeline and redactions

Chief Deputy DA Patty Perlow is handling this petition, for unredacted copies of the emails showing the UO administration’s efforts to cover up the March 8-9 rape allegations. There is another petition from the RG and Oregonian. Perlow has not yet ruled, but in response to a PR request she has sent me all the NYT petitions and UO’s responses. (No charge. For comparison, UO PR boss Dave Hubin wants $94.61 just to show the emails laying out the agenda and so on for Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel”.)

Hilariously, UO’s Interim General Counsel Doug Park is still refusing to sign his name to the responses he has written for UO. Or maybe he’s got a ghost writer, perhaps UO General Counsel Emerita Melinda Grier? In any case, the Times is not impressed by the UO’s arguments or President Gottfredson’s “sanitized” timeline. Their final response to UO begins:

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The RG and Oregonian have also appealed UO’s redactions to the DA. Documents on that should be available soon, at the moment I just have the petition.

  • NYT petition and UO response documents here (51 pages).
  • Links to the redacted cover-up emails etc. here.
  • Redacted U of Nike coffee mugs and t-shirts here.

Rape allegations? Who UO gonna call? Melinda Grier update.

Probably not Tim Gleason’s 160over90 branders. Here’s the story on the burgeoning business of helping universities deal with the legal and PR implications of rape allegations, athletic or otherwise. No evidence that Gottfredson has gone there yet, though who knows what’s in the hidden subcontracts.

More likely that UO is using the services of our former General Counsel Emerita, Melinda Grier. $1390 a pop for this practical and engaging workshop at the Santa Monica offices of Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP, with a discount if you bring the whole basketball team:

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I recommend the Seaview Motel. $125 a night, and the $1 bus from LAX stops just a few blocks away.

Gottfredson posts Geller replacement Doug Park’s resume

I’ve been trying to get a copy of the resume’s and job application letters for UO’s lawyers in the General Counsel’s office for the past 8 weeks or so. The qualifications of UO’s attorneys are a matter of obvious public interest given UO’s many current legal problems, the new legal service policy which requires UO employees to use these lawyers if they are accused of work-related wrongdoing, and the astonishing increase in UO’s use of outside attorneys, who are managed by the GC’s office. I think UO’s attorneys are Douglas Park, Sam (Samantha) Hill, and John F. Salmon III but it’s hard to be sure – the GC’s website says nothing.

Doug Park has fought back hard, accusing me of harassment (sexual harassment, if I understand his innuendoes correctly) for asking to see these public records. I have a petition filed with the Lane County DA to get the documents and should have a response later this week. Today President Gottfredson announced that Park will be the interim GC. The announcement below includes the usual fluff, and, surprisingly, a link to his resume.

Meanwhile there’s no news as to what Randy Geller will do next. Geller’s unexpected “retirement” was announced in the midst of Gottfredson’s efforts to keep a lid on the basketball rape allegations. Perhaps he will get some lucrative consulting work from UO, as his former boss and “General Counsel Emerita” Melinda Grier has apparently done, after being fired by Lariviere for “deficient legal representation”.

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Douglas Park has agreed to serve as Interim General Counsel for the University of Oregon. Since coming to the General Counsel’s Office in 2007, Mr. Park has provided invaluable guidance and advice to every college at the UO, and has assisted with multiple matters ranging from copyright and trademark issues, to library and museum acquisitions, to managing litigation in UO’s most high profile cases. He played an instrumental role in the formation and transition of our new Board of Trustees, and is known for his expertise in a broad range of higher education issues including government ethics, sponsored research, tenure and promotion, student rights and campus safety. Mr. Park has also served the National Association of College and University Attorneys as a planning committee member, and been a panelist or modsterator for multiple UO Law School and NACUA presentations. He currently serves on the Leadership Council for the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, where he is the Chair of the Board Development Committee and a member of the Executive Committee.

Mr. Park earned a BA in English literature from the University of Washington in 1988, and a law degree from the UO in 1993. Before joining the General Counsel’s Office, he worked for nine years at the Oregon Department of Justice as an Assistant Attorney General, and then Senior Assistant Attorney General. While at the DOJ, Mr. Park was part of the U.S. Supreme Court team that successfully litigated Baldwin v. Reese. He also received the Outstanding Achievement Award, DOJ’s highest professional honor, for successfully defending the constitutionality of Oregon’s dangerous offender sentencing statute, and successfully defending the constitutionality of the appellate procedure outlined in State v. Balfour. Mr. Park has taught at the UO’s Law School as an adjunct professor, worked as a Washington State public defender, worked in the private sector, and interned at the Eugene Legal Aid. Mr. Park has also co-authored chapters published in the Oregon State Bar Criminal Law Manual, and an article published by the Willamette Law Review. See his full resume here.

Mr. Park begins his new appointment on July 1. Please join me in welcoming Doug to his new position.


Michael Gottfredson, President

Good PERS returns to reduce faculty subsidy for Bellotti’s pension?

Good news on PERS. High investment earnings and Kitzhaber’s cuts mean that it’s now 87% funded. I think that’s the best of any state pension fund. Ted Sickinger has the report, here.

But let’s face it, no one reads this blog for the good news. And the bad news is that UO is still on the hook for the unfunded pension liability of people like former football coach Mike Bellotti. Sickinger’s investigative piece on how UO’s decision to funnel Bellotti’s Nike money through UO boosted the pension for him and his wife former wife wife to ~$500K a year, and how we have to pay for it, is here.

The other good news? If you are pre-1995 Tier 1 faculty and opted into the ORP plan in 1996, (typically TIAA-CREF) UO’s contribution rate to your account is determined in part by the need to pay PERS the unfunded liability for the payouts to Bellotti and his ilk. The more Bellotti gets, the more UO has to pay PERS, and the more they have to pay into your retirement account. And if you are not Tier 1, or stayed in PERS, you don’t need to worry much about further cuts.

The bad? The S&P 500 was up 30% last year, so Treasurer Ted Wheeler 16% PERS earnings are not very impressive, even after a healthy risk adjustment. He would have done much better for the State by simply buying the basket, and furloughing his expensive stock-pickers. Also bad: If you went into the ORP, it’s now even more likely you could have done better staying in PERS. Even if you didn’t get a sweetheart deal from former UO General Counsel Melinda Grier, like Bellotti’s:

The ugly? UO’s PERS costs are set for the next 2 years, and VPFA Jamie Moffitt will likely use the fact that UO still has to pay for Bellotti in the next round of union negotiations – which will start in December – to argue that faculty are overpaid and that UO can’t afford more merit and equity money, just as she did last time. The probability that these rates will soon fall has increased, but I’m guessing if the union presses that point, Moffitt will choke and leave the room, just as she did last time.

Guyana beats UO on public records policy

9/22/2013: Thanks to UO Professor Kyu Ho Youm’s excellent twitter feed for the link:

Full pdf here. Of course a law doesn’t create transparency and trust if those in power have things to hide, and can find willing stooges to help them do so.

Melinda Grier or Dave Frohnmayer?

10/20/2011: It really didn’t end well last time, but one of them could easily end up advising UO on legal matters again – a side effect of SB 242, which puts part of UO’s legal services up for bid.

The RFP closed September 11. On 8/25 UO’s former General Counsel Melinda Grier set up a Higher Ed consulting firm. The office address, 440 E Broadway Ste 300 Eugene OR  97401, is the same as that for the Gaydos, Churnside, and Balthrop law firm. They even share a fax machine number, (541) 343-1599. And in September Gaydos et al submitted a proposal to handle UO’s legal work. I’ve been trying to get a copy of this proposal from UO’s public records Officer Liz Denecke for 6 weeks now. I wonder what could be taking so long.

Gaydos’s competition for the UO job includes a proposal from Dave Frohnmayer’s firm Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick, which Ms Denecke did provide – but only after a petition to Attorney General Kroger. They are quite happy to brag about Frohnmayer’s connections:

Dave Frohnmayer, Part-Time Of Counsel (15 years of government practice/Admitted
in Oregon 1971, OSB #710015). While Dave is not a full-time attorney with the firm, he is available for consultation on matters as UO-PSU-OSU-CO/OUS deems fit (and at your discretion). As you are well aware, Dave is not only a former Attorney General for the State of Oregon, but he also has extensive experience in higher education and with the UO in particular as a former President. As such, Dave has deep connections both in Oregon and internationally (particularly in Germany and the Pacific Rim). He also maintains connections with the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Society of Attorneys General Emeritus (SAGE) and other groups within the legal community, which may be of benefit to UO-PSU-OSU-CO/OUS. Alternatively, UO-PSU-OSU-CO/OUS may request that Dave recuse himself from some or all matters, or that the firm create a firewall between him and some, or all, firm activities related to UO-PSU-OSU-CO/OUS

I wonder if the Gaydos firm’s proposal mentions Ms Grier? Meanwhile, who is running UO’s search for a firm? None other than Grier and Frohnmayer’s old assistant Randy Geller, appointed UO General Counsel by President Lariviere after the Belotti debacle concluded his boss, Melinda Grier, had provided UO with “deficient legal representation”.

Turnover, unfilled jobs in General Counsel Geller’s office

9/21/2011: Around the time Randy Geller was appointed UO General Counsel, longtime GC executive assistant Brian Whalen left to work in the president’s office. He was replaced by Deb Donning, who was given the new title of “Chief of Staff”. But last month she left for a UO risk management job. She was apparently replaced by Lauren Townsend, with the title of Executive Assistant and Operations Manager. Not a month later and Geller is looking for a replacement. Make that a replacement and a spare. From the UO jobs listing:

Executive Assistant And Operations Manager, Office Of The General Counsel

Executive Assistant, Office Of The General Counsel

And he’s still searching for an

Associate General Counsel, Office Of The General Counsel

That last search has been open since Geller was promoted, a year ago. Lots of lawyers out there these days, not many seem excited about the career prospects of serving under Mr. Geller. Meanwhile, under SB 242, as of Jan 1 2012 UO (and OUS) will no longer be able to use the Oregon DOJ for legal advice. So UO has been authorized to hire 2 more lawyers, and they’ve already sent out a RFP for firms to do additional contract work. Given that they’ve spent more than a year trying to find just one, and can’t keep staff, you have to wonder – was Randy Geller really the best replacement for his old boss Melinda Grier?

Kitzhaber appoints Grier’s husband

2/24/2011: Last June Melinda Grier’s husband Jerry Lidz resigned as Oregon Solicitor General over the AG’s investigation of his wife, which concluded she’d provided UO with “deficient legal representation”. Guess I’m not the only one who thinks she took the fall for Frohnmayer. Kitzhaber has now put Lidz back on the state payroll, with an interim job heading some minor state agency. Grier has an adjunct job teaching law at UO until the end of the term, but her pay continues until the end of June. Maybe Kitzhaber will give her a job too, and save us a little money.

laugh, or cry?

10/27/2010: From KEZI reporter Dan Corcoran’s story tonight on the insider appointment of Melinda Grier’s longtime deputy Randy Geller as UO’s new General Counsel:

After a national search, Lariviere says Geller was the most qualified candidate. “His attitude towards transparency and accountability was exactly what I was looking for,” Lariviere said.

 and then:

KEZI requested an interview with Randy Geller and also requested just a photograph of him more than two weeks ago. Neither of those requests have been granted by Geller or the university.

Yes, that’s the attitude alright. More on this after I have a few stiff drinks and then sleep them off.

Meanwhile the Oregon Commentator develops the best theory yet on Geller:

Many people see the UO’s refusal to let people talk to its new legal honcho, or even know what he looks like, as a betrayal of the transparency UO cheese Richard Lariviere has promised. They’re reading the tea-leaves wrong. Here’s the truth: Randy Geller doesn’t actually exist. …

But this is just a theory. I’ll give a UO Matters coffee cup to the first person who falsifies it, with a picture of Geller at Grier’s desk.

Law school ups Melinda Grier’s teaching load

8/23/2010: We wrote a few weeks ago about how Russ Tomlin brought a sudden end to Dave Frohnmayer’s freeloading golden parachute retirement ride. Now the Law School has added another course to the  teaching load for former General Counsel Melinda Grier. Of course, this is still just 8 credits, for a $174K paycheck. And given that there’s only one student still registered for her Fall course on Employment Discrimination, I’m guessing that she’ll be down to 5 credits soon. We are not complaining, this is money well spent – unless you are paying law school tuition, that is.

And this isn’t the only improvement at UO. You can now log onto Nathan Tublitz’s Financial Transparency Tool via Duckweb, and see who is paying Grier’s salary (below). I’d assumed they’d shoved this off on the law school – but instead central administration is paying it. And under Brad Shelton’s new budget model, that actually means something.

Frances Dyke argued hard against this Transparency Tool at the Senate meeting. And it is still a crippled version of what we have been promised. But thanks to President Lariviere, Jim Bean, Brad Shelton, and Nathan Tublitz we can actually look things like this up online. Bit by bit, this is how we are going to get to a place where the faculty can actually trust our administration. 




UO still needs a General Counsel

8/1/2010: The job ad says apply by 7/8 for full consideration, but there’s still no sign that UO has managed to find a taker for the General Counsel position. It’s now more than three months since Melinda Grier was fired. Meanwhile Doug Park is getting a $1400 stipend tacked onto his $10,000 monthly salary, for doing her job.

Grier is still on the payroll at $15,392 a month, with no responsibilities other than prepare for her fall class on Employment Discrimination. Of course, now her salary is being charged to the academic side, rather than Central Administration. (Actually, not. Central is still paying it.) So far, 3 students:

I assume she’ll start with the Joe Wade / John Moseley case that led to the creation of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity – but who knows, maybe that’s still a sore subject for her? Maybe she’ll have a section on AA law, and explain the potential consequences of UO’s Affirmative Action plan being, once again, out of date?