Friday, February 10, 2012

 Sviggum Wastes More University of Minnesota

Time and Money

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents is moving ahead with a review of Steve Sviggum’s dual roles to determine if a conflict of interest exists.

Sviggum, a former state legislator, announced he was taking a job as the executive assistant and communications chief for the Senate Republican Caucus Jan. 16. He remains a member of the Board, but was asked by chairwoman Linda Cohen to abstain from voting in committee and Board meetings Thursday and Friday.

During Friday’s Board meeting, Cohen released a statement stating that “based upon my understanding of his employment responsibilities, this position appears to me to constitute an employment-related conflict of interest with his duties as a Regent.”

Cohen has asked University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg and an independent attorney’s opinion on whether a conflict of interest exists. Both opinions are expected by Feb. 24.

Cohen expects a decision by the next Board meeting in March.

“It is important that we be objective, judicious, and fair and I believe this process lives up to those principles," Cohen said in a statement.


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