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Does it matter? Transparency lacking during the budget process

by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher | Mar 20, 2015

During the construction of the governor’s 2015-2017 biennial budget, including the proposed UW System public authority and budget cut, were UW System leadership transparent throughout the process? You might find it questionable after reading Karen Herzog’s Feb. 3 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, “Anticipating budget cuts, nervous UW System tried to strike deal.”

Why did UW System leadership and numerous chancellors support the proposed UW System public authority, which includes the elimination of tenure and shared governance from state statutes, months before the UW System Board of Regents finally engaged in the search for truth at their Mar. 5 meeting? It’s a question that arises after reading Dan Simmon’s Feb. 11 Wisconsin State Journal article, “UW President Ray Cross feared lawmakers would curtail shared governance, tenure.”

Why didn’t the public learn until several months later that UW System leadership had worked hand-in-hand with the governor’s office in crafting the UW System budget and public authority proposal with limited to no involvement by the Board of Regents? How is this any different or better than the way Chancellor Biddy Martin and the governor constructed the failed UW-Madison public authority in the 2011-2013 biennial budget? Draw your own conclusions after reading Pat Schneider’s Mar. 20 Capital Times article, “UW worked early, long and hard to craft a public authority proposal.”

Why don’t the UW System leadership and campus chancellors who supported the proposed UW System public authority now fail to say whether tenure and shared governance will continue to be a part of state statute chapter 36 if the legislature votes against the public authority? This question remains unanswered in Rep. Dean Knudson and Joint Finance Co-Chair John Nygren Mar. 18 statement, “Knudson, Nygren Announce Changes to UW System Proposal.”

Did UW System leadership and campus chancellors read and reflect on the American Association of University Professors Mar. 11 statement opposing the public authority?

Did they read and reflect on the large and growing number of faculty, staff, and student resolutions against the proposed $300+ million cut and public authority?

Are the public, faculty, staff, civic and business leaders, and alumni losing confidence in the UW System leadership who repeatedly act behind closed doors? Are they losing faith with campus chancellors who repeatedly support the UW System public authority without understanding the actual costs and limited savings, which could increase the actual cut to the UW System beyond the proposed $300 million?

Does it matter?

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