Politics and Technology.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Behind The Letter

RU President Richard McCormick released (another) letter to the University's community this week portending the next budget's fiscal woes that already seemingly perpetually plague the school. I believe this letter could potentially expose Dick McCormick to a scandal.

I considered the letter to be the first really honest communication I've read from him. It outlined the University's budget shortfall and the steps he's ordered to meet the challenges that we would face. As I read the letter, I was pleasantly surprised as I felt that for once the president didn't leave me room to criticize. Make no mistake, the letter outlined a bleak picture of hardship, but at least Dick was open about the work that lay ahead.

The measure that most impressed me was his announcement of layoffs. At a public institution, a round of layoffs is significant. He mentioned the 5% contractually obligated salary increase to the faculty and staff as an important detail. Dick's letter carefully tread around the issue of the union giving back the increase in order to save jobs by mentioning how the State is dealing with its shortfalls with those actions. I was left with the impression that the union was approached about the idea of wage freezes and furloughs and it dismissed it out of hand.

Then I read Gannett's report on the letter, and once again found myself despising Dick.

The report quoted Lisa C. Klein, president of the American Association of University Professors at Rutgers, as saying, "We have not been asked to open our contract."

To open the contract, the union will, rightly, demand to see Rutgers' books to determine if all steps have been taken to avoid layoffs.

So, this begs the following question. Is McCormick avoiding a renegotiation of the contract in order to prevent public scrutiny of Rutgers' books? If so, what embarassing details is he hiding?

If his intent is to prevent public scrutiny, as I am not apt to dismiss out of hand, then McCormick is willing to make other people jobless in order protect himself. How selfish would that be? It would be so selfish as to be scandalous.

I sincerely hope there are other valid reasons for him to have not approached the union at this time.

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