Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Belckis and Buckhead

Yesterday's announcement that Jim Buck has resigned as UNO vice chancellor raises even more questions about the UNO administration. Chancellor Nancy Belck sounded rather paranoid when she told reporters:

"It became clear to him you all were not going to let this die."
This reminds me of last week's Harry Anderson column in the World-Herald where he responds like a culprit caught by Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and Velma on the old Scooby Doo cartoon series blaming those "meddling kids" in defending his buddies still in charge at UNO:
Isn't it now time for athletic department boosters - and the allies they may have in the press and on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents - to allow UNO Chancellor Nancy Belck and her associates to get on with the job of running a university? A university whose fundamental mission does not include appeasing athletic boosters or sports commentators or entertaining football fans but, rather, offering first-rate academic and research programs?
The latest news was that Buck charged over $32,000 in expenses to the athletic department to cover his country club membership and car lease, but also new revelations of satellite radio charges and expenses for his wife and kids.

This actually raises several issues: (1) are these legitimate expenses, (2) if they are legitimate, are they legitimate to be charged to the athletic department, and (3) who approved these expenses?

The car lease and country club membership, while perhaps excessive, may have justification as legitimate expenses. Buck may have a need for travelling in his job, necessitating a car. And the country club membership may be used in conducting business with those in the business community. Plus, they may have been needed as terms of his agreement to come to UNO from his previous job.

The expenses for satellite radio raise serious questions about the legitimacy and the oversight of Buck's expenses. I struggle to find a business justification for satellite radio, and the fact that XM and Sirius didn't start operations until after Buck joined UNO means that they can't be considered a carryover from his previous job. It was a new and expanded perk --- one that was given to him at a time when UNO was cutting academic and then athletic budgets. And the World-Herald is still probing into what all was included in those expenses; we haven't heard the last of this.

So who was overseeing Buck's expense reports? If it's chancellor Belck, she should bear the brunt of the criticism. If not Belck, then who? If nobody, then Belck should be held responsible for not monitoring the expenses of her employees.

Even if somehow these expenses can be justified, it is still tough to justify them as athletic department expenses. Heck, the $32k in expenses this year alone would have paid for one of the positions that were cut this year. UNO fired someone so that Jim Buck could drive around town in his Cadillac listening to Howard Stern??? Sorry, Harry...but that's not part of UNO's "fundamental mission"...

Lee Sapp has it right:
"Jim Buck is a start, but I want Belck to leave too."


Ryan said...

I would like to point out that the UNO Cheerleaders do not get any funds for uniforms, shoes, or any other athletic gear, yet these administrators within the athletic program expense out $32k worth of things for themselves.

It is outrageous that some of the UNO athletics, such as the cheerleaders, do not get any funds whereas all other of the Nebraska system schools have funds for uniforms and other expenses.

For all those out there who read this, the UNO Cheerleading squad pays for their own uniforms and rental of a facility to train in. Yet, you've got admins expensing out all the money they are and leaving the students in the cold.

Adam said...

and they're hot.