Wednesday, April 27, 2011

UK trustees to taxpayers: You may pay the bills, but we do our business in secret

Today's Lexington Herald-Leader reported that a former U.S.-Senator-from-Ohio wannabe Eric Fingerhut is a candidate for the post of chief politician, I'm sorry -- "president" -- of the University of Kentucky.

Who are the other candidates? We, the taxpayers, don't know -- even though we, the taxpayers, are paying the high salaries of these university presidents, both in terms of funding from the state and tuition increases that are three times the rate of inflation.

The reason we don't know is because the interviews are being conducted in secret --"at a Northern Kentucky hotel in a black-draped room in an area patrolled by security," according to today's Herald-Leader.

Why? It's always the same kind of mumbo jumbo from uninteresting and predictable officials: If we don't do this in secret, we will "drive away highly qualified candidates who fear losing their jobs and political clout."

Apparently way down on the list is what's in the best interest of students, the university itself and the citizens who pay the bills.

Of course, this defense of a lack of transparency carries over to other areas of state policy as well.

We, the taxpayers, are told that we cannot be privy to economic development discussions involving potential bribes, I'm sorry -- "incentives" -- funded by we, the taxpayers, because it's a competitive process and too much information might cause Kentucky to lose its attractiveness to some company that's going to bring 10 jobs at $9 an hour.

Gee, what if we were as concerned about policies that have proven the equivalent of placing "Do Not Call" signs at the commonwealth's borders as we are keeping information from those who pay the bills? If we were, we would already have right-to-work, school choice and lower taxes.

In a recent Bluegrass Beacon column, I wrote on the state budget process being conducted "behind closed doors — complete with armed guards and covered windows."

Does anyone see a pattern here?

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