Search Results for: label/Bend program loses $1 million

UO’s Bend programs lose $1 million per year.

Update: 5/14/2009 : Provost Bean’s claims on Bend have morphed from “we are slightly in the black” when asking the faculty for furlough contributions to “we’ve lost millions but we will almost break even next year – if no one notices we are keeping everything possible including Moseley’s salary off the books.” Uh, but he’s the Director, Jim. And what about Leahy and Seitz? You are going to lose your last shreds of credibility over this. Everyone including the CAS Dean knows you haven’t been telling the truth and still aren’t. Sunk costs are sunk – as it don’t use them to justify digging a deeper hole. You are paid enough to do hard things, this one is easy.

At the 4/14 furlough meeting Provost Been told us that UO’s administrative expense ratio was 38% of peers. See his reply to the question at 50:20 in the video. The 38% number is simply a fiction as the post here demonstrates, and the administration apparently just has no idea what the actual ratio is.

So what about the claim Bend makes money? See 32:18 into the video above, where Provost Bean says “A slight profit, very slight, but in the black”. It turns out that this is not true either. I recently was forwarded the email below from a UO administrator to Provost Bean who was not happy that the true cost of Bend had not been presented accurately to the faculty. The gist is that Bend has only 15 graduates per year and the program is losing about $1 million a year. The subtext is the rumor that Frohnmayer is planning on retiring to Bend and administering the UO Program there, or perhaps the entire OSU – Cascades effort. He already owns a $1.05 million dollar home there.

So that’s two false statements so far. What’s left? The claims that Portland is not costing Eugene money and that athletics is self-supporting (48:50). Regarding the first, I’ve already heard from someone that the money for the White Stag sign was not an earmarked donation but will come out of general foundation funds – i.e. funds which could have instead be used to plug the budget gap. Thanks for that, but we really need the documentation, so keep those emails coming to uomatters@gmail.com!


Text of original email:

Jim,

I have been asked by a number of persons in xxx and elsewhere about the Bend campus. Since part of my job is xxx I thought I should look into the questions myself. Ultimately, this pointed me to the need to have a budget summit, which I will explain below.

The costs on the books for running Bend as you know are around $1 million dollars. This is an underestimate, of course, because many costs of running the campus are borne directly by the Eugene campus. For example, the AV tech at the library who helps beam courses to Bend is not counted towards Bend and it looks like some of the TRP (tenure reduction program) monies for faculty is also not included as costs. The revenue generated by the campus is also hard to figure exactly. However, at its maximum, Bend enrolls 100 students and graduates 15 annually. A significant portion of those students are part-time, nearly all are in-state, and there is very little auxiliary income from these students. Even if they were full time, however, the revenue generated from those students would fall approximately $500,000 short of the known costs of operating the campus. Thus, unless there are significant sources of revenue that are not related to students, the Bend campus is significantly in the red.

However, this really does not express the full cost of the campus, because there are opportunity costs associated with running the campus in the sense that it directs resources away from Eugene that could be used more efficiently on the main campus. For example, the TRP faculty teaching in Bend could teach more students in Eugene than they could in Bend where the average class size in 9. In a time where student demand is exceedingly high and we short of instructional faculty, this cost is substantial. There are many other places you could make this type of opportunity cost argument that make Bend a really poor investment.

Finally, there is a lot about the Bend campus that just does not “feel right”. For example, while no one really wants to put find a point on it, the fact that John Mosley is collecting a six figure salary while being retired in Bend (even if it is legit) does not look right and perceptions are important – particularly in economic hard times when you are asking faculty to give back.

Thus, the resistance you are getting from the numerate persons on campus for Bend, etc. is not misplaced and ultimately I hope you are willing to listen to their very sound advice on Bend and other similar types of expenditures. While I understand that there were other (e.g., political) reasons why having a presence in Bend was important, the recession provides us the opportunity to allocate resources based on sounder economic principles and we should not waste this opportunity.

This exercise points more generally to a need for a deeper and broader consideration of “how we spend our money”. I am on board with the voluntary salary reduction plan this time because I do believe that we did not have sufficient time to respond to the ever changing financial picture. However, in the next biennium, we will have time to plan and we should begin now with a budget summit that includes all the leadership. The essential component to such a summit is the presence of detailed data for all the academic and central units on campus (and off – e.g., Bend and Portland). Before I would agree to take another voluntary cut in pay myself and before I would ever recommend that other faculty participate in such a pay reduction, I think we need to understand what the tradeoffs are and I believe we have an obligation to be more creative with our finances than we were able to be at the end of this biennium. In order for me to understand such tradeoffs and to be able “with a straight face” ask my faculty to pitch in, I am really going to need to understand where the money is going and not take it on faith that, for example, “Bend is breaking even” and “Portland is not costing the main campus anything”.

Thus, I think it is time to start considering some serious tradeoffs between a number of “sacred” elements on campus which include “salaries”. Let me give an example that does not involve Bend – library serials and OIED program grants are both things we value on campus even to the point of being “sacred”. However, we are letting one sacred cow be gored without possibly considering a reallocation of funds from other sacred cows being held harmless. I think we need to be prepared (not afraid) to ask this tough question “Are the current allocations appropriate and consistent with our “Academic Plan”. Careful consideration could involving taking funds from OIED program grants in order to help fund the library. Obviously, there are other places we can go to examine tradeoffs – I picked these two because they are something our campus has shown commitment to and represent choices that people would find hard.

In the end, I think we owe faculty, staff, and students more over the next biennium in terms of a careful consideration of how to address the economic crisis. xxx We are at a critical time where we have the opportunity to examine our priorities and the campus will be willing to listen because of the economic crisis. Thus, we do have an opportunity in this crisis.

I would love to talk more about this idea of a budget summit.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

underpaid administrators

5/14/2009:

At yesterday’s UO Senate meeting Provost Bean spent a long time talking about “misinformation spread by blogs.” We are happy to hear he’s been reading UO Matters, and we welcome his response to our comments on his speech:
  1. He refused to repudiate his Furlough meeting claim that UO’s Admin expense ratio was 38% of peers. Odd, because an hour before the meeting one of your Editors was talking with OUS Legal Counsel and Board Secretary Ryan Hagemann, who said that despite extensive searching OUS could find no evidence to support this, other than the document referred to here, which he agreed – in fact insisted – was not relevant. Mr. Hagemann then said that he would be encouraging Provost Bean to stop making claims of this sort unless he could back them up with data. Why was Mr. Hagemann so firm on this point? Perhaps because he knows that in Oregon it is a crime to misrepresent administrative expenses when you are soliciting charitable donations – as Provost Bean did (legal disclaimer: appears to have done from the video) at the furlough meeting. The ball is in your court Jim – got any more anecdotes for us?
  2. He claimed that Frohnmayer was paid just slightly more than his peers. But Bean – who has a PhD in Operations Research – departs from the standard Chronicle.com definition by not reporting the $206,000 Frohnmayer receives in 401K and retirement pay.
  3. Similarly with his comparisons of administrative salaries. He is claiming UO is the equivalent to the median AAU public university. Provost Bean, have you looked at that list of universities? Budgets, enrollments, Med schools, … You are comparing VP for Finance and Research jobs at Berkeley, Michigan, Wisconsin, UVA with UO? The VP’s at those schools deal with budgets that are what – 3 to 5 times UO’s. While the source for Bean’s comparisons (CUPA) includes this budget information, Bean dropped it from his tables. Provost Bean also left out his own $25,700 “stipend” – which he takes as additional salary.
  4. Provost Bean claimed that the faculty salaries we have posted included salaries for medical school faculty. It does not. However, his comparison group of administrators does include those with responsibility for medical schools.
  5. In short, the salary comparisons we have posted here are more reliable than Bean’s with respect to both the set of comparators and the accuracy of the UO salaries.
  6. Interestingly, Bean didn’t try to justify Diversity VP Charles Martinez’s salary or explain his second job at OSLC. See below, more here, and still more to come.
  7. Frances Dyke’s $170K helper VP. We get it: you are a gentleman. (When spending other people’s money.) But you are paid to make tough calls for the good of the university. Time to earn your pay and make this one.
  8. Bean’s claims on Bend have morphed from “we are slightly in the black” when asking the faculty for furlough contributions to “we’ve lost millions but we will almost break even next year – if no one notices we are keeping everything possible including Moseley’s salary off the books.” Uh, but he’s the Director, Jim. And what about Leahy and Seitz? You are going to lose your last shreds of credibility over this Jim. Everyone including the CAS Dean knows you haven’t been telling the truth about Bend and still aren’t. Sunk costs are sunk – so don’t use them to justify digging a deeper hole. You are paid enough to do hard things, this one is easy.

But we should all celebrate this:

Nathan Tublitz’s UO Senate motion for a bit of financial transparency passed on an unanimous voice vote with a few minor amendments. The argument was over when a Senator said to Frohnmayer: “You are asking us to give up our pay to help out UO. We deserve to know how you are spending our money.” Somehow that didn’t sink in with Frances, who kept on talking. During the debate VP for InfoTech Don Harris said it would cost $26K to implement, vs. the $10K OSU paid. He also said that UO was upgrading to BANNER 8.0. Perhaps this upgrade already includes basic web reporting features? If anyone has any inside knowledge of this or on why cost is so much higher at UO, please go here and pass it on. Why does Frohnmayer insist on fighting transparency to the bitter end?

The meeting also had the Diversity Progress report by VP Charles Martinez. Charles’s speech was straight up bureaucratic double-speak. As has become traditional, Charles brought a large contingent of Diversity Committee people with him for protection, announced their presence and had them stand before speaking, and took so long to say nothing that there was no time for questions about that nothingness. But at least this year he took time off from his OSLC job to show up for the meeting, and we appreciate that gesture – so thanks Charles, you are doing a heckuva job. Notably, he did not mention the UMRP once. We will have more on why later. The other rumor is that his office will be reorganized and Charles will be replaced in fall, because of his questionable second job – though the press release will read something like “Mission Accomplished”. We expect (hope?) that President Lariviere will insist on an open hiring process – it’s a little embarrassing having a Diversity VP who was hired without an Affirmative Action compliant search!

5/13/2009 AM:

The UO Senate meets in 115 Lawrence today at 3. The agenda includes Charles Martinez’s Diversity report and Nathan Tublitz’s motion for financial transparency. We hear that Frohnmayer has told the Johnson Hall dwellers that they are to support this iff:
  1. It is not implemented until sometime after he steps down as President on 7/1/2009.
  2. It is not retroactive to payments made while he was President.
  3. It does not cover expenditures from UO Foundation funds.

Now why would those particular things be so important?

The Daily Emerald’s 3 part series of retirement interviews with Frohmayer continues. Today‘s topic is athletics and donor influence. He moves from yesterday’s “UO is a hot brand” and “the state never gives us enough money” memes to “athletics brings in money for academics”. His claims that athletics has improved the academic side aren’t absurd, but they are all based on selected anecdotes, and the reporter doesn’t question them. The story ends with this quote from Dave: “That’s what the essence of academic freedom is.But the ODE website is apparently not accepting comments on the interview!

Yesterday there were no questions about why the hot brand is all about athletics instead of academics, and why Frohnmayer has spent the money we do get from the state on himself and his administrators and their pet projects instead of on improving UO’s academic ranking.

Nearly a month after the hyped 4/14 Town Hall meeting – Frohnmayer was so proud of this he posted it on youtube – the voluntary furlough program seems to have all but vanished. A few hundred people signed up – mostly junior administrators pressured into it by their bosses, who left the filled out forms in their subordinates mailboxes. But many faculty were told by their Deans and Heads that it was all politics, and to ignore it. Provost Bean has stopped answering emails about it, and the administration website hasn’t posted any updates since the meeting. Meanwhile, the junior admins and the few faculty who, I’m sorry – got tricked into this by Frohnmayer and Bean – are still giving up their pay, and no one will explain why. If you know any thing recent email us at uomatters@gmail.com or post an anonymous comment here.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

"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.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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 Chronicle.com 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.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)