Friday, November 19, 2010

Ethicist Getting Fed Up

With University of Minnesota

Board of Regents Total Disregard

For Public Process


"To me, this is a violation of the spirit of the law," said Jane Kirtley, director of the U's Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. "I'm getting kind of fed up with the regents' total disregard for the public process."

In groups of three, [Members of the Board of Regents] talked with Kaler privately Wednesday morning in meetings not listed on his itinerary or mentioned during the public interview. Each meeting lasted about an hour.

Had the full board met with him in such a setting, it would have been a violation of the state's Open Meeting Law, which requires public bodies to give notification of such meetings.

"To me, this is a violation of the spirit of the law," said Jane Kirtley, director of the U's Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. "I'm getting kind of fed up with the regents' total disregard for the public process."
But board Chair Clyde Allen said the regents "took pains" to plan those meetings in a way that wouldn't violate the law. "We think the law was followed scrupulously."

Spokesman Daniel Wolter said the meetings with the regents were not listed on Kaler's schedule because they were "not considered part of the formal process."

"Setting up a deal where you can have little groups of regents talk to the prospective candidate -- making sure you don't constitute a quorum -- sure doesn't pass the smell test," said Don Gemberling, a lawyer and the former longtime head of a state agency that oversaw public records requests. "No wonder people don't trust the government."

U general counsel Mark Rotenberg said on Thursday that the small-group meetings were "social encounters." There are "certain conversations and personal encounters not covered by the Open Meeting Law," said Rotenberg, mentioning the Wednesday night dinner that the regents had with Kaler and his wife, Karen.

Kaler's three meetings involved the nine regents who were not a part of the search process. They were not interviews, Rotenberg said, "the way we designed it."

That's not the way that one regent described her session with Kaler.

"We were just firing questions at him," regent Venora Hung said. "We all had a million questions in our head, like, 'How are you going to react to the budget?'
"I would describe it as an intense conversation for an hour."


Mr. Allen, Mr. Wolter, Mr. Rotenberg: I find your statements and behavior arrogant, evasive, and certainly NOT scrupulous following of the law or its intent.  Appalling... 

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1 comment:

mike howard said...

Mr. Rotenberg never fails to deliver on his education from Legal Counseling 101; tell a lie often enough and it becomes truth. That seems to be all that comes out of his mouth.