Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 42
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for May 11, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

I see that the CMSU Board of Governors, meeting in closed session, has decided to renegotiate Dr. Elliott's contract. They had little choice; the State Auditor has made it clear that the use of public tax money for Mrs. Elliott's travel and Dr. Elliott's perks is highly questionable at best, with highest criticism of the lack of performance standards for the $300,000+ that Dr. Elliott will receive during his sabbatical year. While the Board professes absolute trust in Dr. Elliott's financial management, CMSU's student journalists aired some of the expenses incurred by Dr. Elliott in his last years as President, including a $524 tip for a $2620.91 dinner at The Blue Heron restaurant and $4625.50 at Ye Olde Flower Shoppe. Meanwhile, the legislature is close to passing a major revision to the "Sunshine Act" to make it clearer what must be reported and to make it easier for media or public to collect damages when public bodies attempt to conduct public business in secret.

The Board made themselves no friends in State government with their response to the Auditor's report. While the other institutions critiqued in the report responded professionally, even if they never said they would comply, CMSU's Board of Governors attacked the motivation for the audit and blamed everyone but themselves. Common sense says its counterproductive for leaders of an institution dependent on legislative funding to publicly blame a powerful legislator, even if they were correct (which I doubt).

However, I've come up with a solution for the CMSU Board of Governors, so they can keep Dr. Elliott and mollify state officialdom, if not students & faculty. If you remember, the justification for the contract was that Dr. Elliott is expected to be a highly effective fund raiser for CMSU. Actually, gifts to the University are really gifts to the CMSU Foundation. Since the Foundation, rather than the University directly, will benefit from the fundraising efforts, perhaps Dr. Elliott's contract should be with the Foundation. Taxpayers could continue to provide the pay he's entitled to as a tenured professor, assuming he meets whatever those performance requirements might be. The Foundation, which is used to handling gifts earmarked for special uses such as sports stadia, can certainly set up a "pay Dr. Elliott fund." Donors, including some of the heavy hitters on the Board of Governors, can earmark a part of their donations. Better yet, maybe the Foundation can pay Dr. Elliott based on how much money he actually raises - a sales commission if you will!

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