J. L. Miller and Rachel Kipp report in today’s News-Journal that the Joint Finance Committee has cut the salaries of employees at the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and Del-Tech by 2.5%. At least, that’s the JFC’s intent.
El Somnambulo will forego the usual Lonnie George belt-tightening jokes (or not) to point out that, in Delaware, things are seldom what they seem (“Skim milk (try it, Lonnie) masquerades as cream”).
Delaware Technical & Community College, the University of Delaware and Delaware State University all receive state funding, though Delaware Tech is considered a state agency and is the only only one under the General Assembly’s direct control. The other institutions are privately chartered and are considered public-private partnerships.
Translation: The University of Delaware and Delaware State can do whatever the bleep they want with the money that the State throws at them every year. They can then throw major roadblocks in the way when the State even wants to see their books. They are ‘public institutions’ when accepting the State’s largesse, but they call themselves ‘private institutions’ when it comes to denying the State a look at their books, including how they’ve spent the money the State serves up by the armored carload. And, you wonder why so many legislators have ‘second’ careers in higher education.
It is a joke and a disgrace that the taxpayers are expected to laugh at such shenanigans. They’re not laughing, nor should they.
Were it up to the Beast Who Slumbers, he would make any continuing provision of State funding to these institutions contingent upon an annual opening of the books to State auditors. Hell, ‘bulo would campaign on behalf of anyone running for State Auditor who includes this provision in their platform.
And even the gourmandesque George could circumvent the JFC’s intent if he chose to:
But even Delaware Tech, which gets about 48 percent of its funding from the Legislature, could find a way around the proposed pay cut.
“There is nothing to prevent them from using the stimulus money to backfill that [pay cut], say, as a one-time bonus,” Michael Morton, of the Controller General’s Office, told the JFC. He added, though, that he knew of no plan to do so.
To its credit, it appears that Del-Tech is prepared to accept the 2.5% pay cut without resorting to gimmicks. This means that Orlando J. George, Jr. will have to scrape by on a mere $443,625 in FY ’10. Delaware’s finest eating establishments are reportedly already tightening their belts in response.