Request unanswered

So, how many Regents does it take to screw in a light bulb, anyway?

The answer certainly wasn’t found at Wednesday’s Board of Regents Personnel and Operations Committee meeting. Regent Joe Ebbesen has been trying for almost a year now to get the board to engage in a study of how many jobs are duplicated by the Regents’ support staff office and the individual universities.

One would think the request would be easy to handle. However, Regent Ebbesen was forced to bring up the subject of duplication at several meetings because Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves combined with other old guard Regents to drag their feet and slow down the process. Time lags in information gathering and other delays, such as committee member absences, added to the stalling of debate.

The issue was finally on the table Wednesday, but no real discussion of the subject could take place. Apparently, many of the Regents found the data confusing. Imagine how frustrating this must have been for Ebbesen, who simply wants to take a look at possible cost-saving measures.

But now the Regents are going to recommend having an outside consultant come in and do the work. Not only will this cost big money, it also won’t accomplish a thing.

Who will choose the consultant? The Chancellor’s Office will certainly step forward and offer to make the pick. After all, their jobs are on the line. Not only that, but the word “consultant” refers to an outside college administrator, who will likely be one of Groves’ old pals.

For a recent example, just look at the five-year evaluations of Groves and the three university presidents. A blind man could see there were too many problems with the revolving-door consultant team for the evaluations to hold any water.

The board should try an honest, open self-examination—they might just find that they need less people to screw in those light bulbs.