Local 085 Member and Activist Published in The Register Guard – July 23rd, 2013

EXPENSE ABUSES START AT THE TOP

It’s amazing that Rudy Crew, Oregon’s first chief educational officer, didn’t know where his personal finances left off and the state’s began (“Education chief billed personal expenses”). However, I believe he did; he’s no dummy, and he knew exactly what he was doing. He found a way to exploit a broken system.

A big problem today is the sense of entitlement by those at the top. First-class airline tickets, town cars and expenses for personal travel, all billed to the state, were cited in the July 18 story.

Even Lisa Van Laanen, Crew’s chief of staff, helped further his excuse by citing his unfamiliarity with state restrictions on travel. Right. It makes finding out seem downright foolish. More noteworthy was that this “fox” escaped repayment through his severance agreement.

That’s especially frustrating when university workers are at impasse over compensation at the bargaining table with the Oregon University System. The system claims it can’t afford pay raises and step increases and wants workers to pay more for health insurance coverage.

Despite all the valiant work done by our teachers, our state education system’s in the toilet. State and university workers have formulated ways for the state to save money through changes in staffing ratios and eliminating waste. They’ve urged the Legislature to close loopholes that benefit the wealthy.

They could have pointed out some savings in Crew’s travel expenses if given the chance, but those in the state’s driver’s seat aren’t interested. They’d rather fly first-class and ride in town cars.

Richard Daniels

SEIU Local 503 Sublocal 085: University of Oregon
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