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September 18, 2010

2

NU: Too much oversight?

by Deena Winter

Curious, that story about how NU would like fewer “mandates.” We’ve all heard about unfunded mandates, but NU appears to have a different take on what they are.

NU told lawmakers they could live without the requirement that the state auditor handle NU audits. They’d rather go back to those private audits that never seem to find any issues.

I’ve never read an audit of a public institution that said much of anything… except State Auditor Mike Foley’s audits. So I can understand why NU would rather go back to the private sector firms.

NU says that would save money, but provided no specifics. Is it really about saving money? Or is it about something else?

But NU didn’t stop there. It also said it would like to get rid of the oversight the Coordinating Commission provides it for bond issues and facilities. The commission said it often find places to save money during their review.

So is this about unfunded mandates, or unwanted oversight?

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Roger Yant
    Sep 21 2010

    I find it very problematic that the University does not want State Auditor Mike Foley’s audits. What are they hiding? I often get a little sad when I hear officials from the university cry about money problems, they have to fire people or raise tuition. I say, maybe cut back on all the money you are spending at State Fair park, don’t spend $26 million on the BOB for the volleyball team. You are spending money like crazy but bitch when the state cuts back on what they give you. I’d give you even less of the tax payers money each year.

    Reply
  2. Ed Patterson
    Sep 23 2010

    The history of UNL campus and R&D park expansion in service to the state, fairly clearly, has profited from the rest of the state taking an interest in it, and could profit much more so in the future. I vaguely recall that UNL was insisting on privacy for arrangements made in recruiting tenants into the, now three, UNL R & D parks in Lincoln:

    • The original I-80 R & D Park, occupied principally by:

    o Verizon of New York’s Online Customer Service Center
    o Dell of Texas’s Online Services Center (Since opening and collecting its TIF and other subsidy moneys, it has been in a more or less constant mode of downsizing and off-shoring its more technically oriented jobs to India. To say that this company has anything remotely like the spirit found in the UNL football ‘Walk On Program’ would be a complete fabrication. Maybe the thing to do, to get R & D campus orientation off on the right foot, would be to fire everybody associated with it now, and replace them with Tom Osborne. LOL)

    • The Antelope Valley Project Research Corridor, occupied principally by:

    o Assurity Insurance Company, currently at 16th & K in Lincoln, with a new TIF, and public takings financed building nearing completion at 20th Street between Q & S Streets (Thirty years ago, before reorganizing the physical and online layout and management of the old LT&T’s online systems, I studied among numerous other installations, the online systems of The State of Nebraska, and of State Farm Insurance, mostly to get ideas about what needed to be streamlined and fixed, but most definitely not to solicit partners in R & D for new systems at the Phone Company. Yeh, I can see ways to get some synergy between the information systems of a smallish insurance company, and the teaching and research functions of a major university, but Assurity is hardly a likely candidate for this role. Interaction between the two will require care to avoid being simply a nuisance to each other.

    By the way, Assurity, with the consulting help, and condemnation threat ‘free land’ and TIF financing authority of the Seacrest family, the Bobsy Twins, and the Urban Development Department and UNL Administration, have built a building of approximately the same size, with approximately the same construction materials and techniques, as I had architected and engineered for approximately the same spot, but with a heck of lot more emphasis on R & D systemsthan they appear to have had in mind. It is very curious how this use of condemnation taking police power of the state, can be found to be consistent with either the State or Federal Constitutions. Given the way things work in Lincoln however, it is no problem at all figuring out how they get their actions through the Lincoln City Councilm, the Lancaster County District Court, and the State Supreme Court. After that they are home free, because the East Coast Ivy League dominated U.S. Supreme Court has no interest at all in accepting such real property rights cases for review, …. with its “living organism” Constitution and all that, you know.)

    • The former State Fair Grounds ‘Innovation Campus’:

    Now despite some ‘eye openers’ on the other two, this is the only one causing Mr. Yant heart burn, given that he saw continued use of the site for the State Fair, just as he remembered it as a kid, as the highest and best use of the citizens’ resources. On the other hand, I was an advocate of this move for at least the following reasons:

    o Moving the State Fair to
     the centrally located home of Husker Harvest Days, and
     the successful Fonner Park thoroughbred racing facility,
     more readily accessible to Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and horsemen, and the people who serve them,

    would reconnect to its productive base, a state institution which had long since become a tired spectacle,

    o ‘Smart Growth’ economic development,
     inclusive of Western Nebraska, with the move to Grand Island, and
     synergistically linking the two principal research campuses of the University of Nebraska with a private enterprise oriented R&D campus between them on the former fair grounds,

    would be and has been a natural fit politically for the portfolio of a private enterprise oriented Governor from Hastings.

    o The continued, decade after decade, uncompensated condemnation threat and ‘condemnation blight’ empowered, munch, munch, … munching away on neighborhoods bordering the UNL City Campus, was not just economically counterproductive, not just corrosive to the constitutional basis of the “Rule of Law” in the American Experiment, but flat out immoral..

    Reply

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