Listen to the Regents Meeting of July 16, 2013

The latest in regental recording archiving?
NOTE: THE BLOGGER PROGRAM SEEMS TO BE HAVING PROBLEMS TODAY.  IT IS INSERTING PART OF AN EARLIER POST INTO THIS ONE.  IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE READING THIS POST AS PART OF THE GENERAL BLOG ROLL, CLICK ON ITS TITLE TO SEE ONLY THE POST.  THAT VERSION IS CLEAR.  SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE WHICH YOURS TRULY COULD NOT CORRECT.

We continue our practice of providing an archived audio of Regents meetings until such time as the Regents commit to maintaining a permanent archive.  As noted on previous blog postings, the current regental policy is to preserve the recording for only one year.  We’ll leave it to readers to ask why a public board that seems to feel that UC isn’t up-to-date enough in using IT for educational purposes can’t permanently archive recordings of its meetings.

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The UC Regents Committee on Grounds and Building met yesterday.  After a closed session, the Committee discussed and approved a repair and reconstruction of a student housing facility on the Santa Cruzcampus.  Apparently, in the university’s view, a construction contract built the facility with major design defects that now require closing and a substantial repair.  Although there was much description of what was wrong with the facility and why it needed reconstruction, it was never clear how it happened that a major project was allowed to be built with the faults described. 
Similarly, a medical project was proposed for approval at San Diego.  When the chair of the Committee raised a question about a $40 million cost to induce local contractors to bid, the answer was initially that the local contractors were busy with other projects and had to be motivated to make bids.  The chair asked why contractors from out of the area were not asked, since in his view the national market was still soft and competitive after the Great Recession.  He essentially never got an answer.  But like the Santa Cruz project, ultimately the proposal was approved.
It also came out in the discussion that the policy is that if there is a cost overrun above the proposal, the Committee is only told about it if the overage exceeds 25%.  As members then noted, essentially current policy amounted to approving $1.25 for every dollar the Regents thought they were approving.  The Committee asked the administration to come up with something better.  But although a promise was made to do so, no date could be promised.
Also approved was a replacement of a pier in San Diego used for ocean research ships.
We have noted many times that the Regents – absent an independent auditing capacity – really cannot judge or track the outcomes of the major capital projects on the UC campuses.  The issue became apparent in the eventual approval of the UCLA Grand Hotel.  But it arises with every project, almost all of which involve really large capital expenditures.  Ultimately, when mistakes are made, the funds to deal with them have to come from someplace.  Despite assurances about reserves, business plans, donations, etc., money taken from whatever source means less for some other purpose.
You can hear the audio of the July 16 session at the link below:

And as for whose fault was it at Santa Cruz:

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