Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Good Speech" Mark Yudof Lobbied Against and Arnold Vetoed

Mark Yudof writes: "As always, the remedy for bad speech is good speech. For that reason, we call on all members of the UC community -- students, faculty and staff -- to affirm and defend the values of the University of California. We are speaking out and ask that you do the same whenever, wherever and however you confront behavior that violates the principles and values of this university."

Yet, just a few short months ago,in October 2009, Mark Yudof --with his UCOP crew and Arnold Schwarzenegger-- fought against and VETOED whistle blower protections for University of California workers!

Staff and students see the headlines, the alumni and taxpayers see the headlines listed -see side column to your right- --and the stench of the hypocrisy and corruption at UCOP REEKS..

Mark Yudof forgets that he lobbied heavily for a VETO of "GOOD SPEECH"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

UC Compensation Task Force?- "where are they now ?"

Remember when Fabian Nunez requested an audit of UC in 2006? one of those "where are they now ?" moments- UC Compensation Task Force?- where did they go after they gave us a report to tell us what the state auditor was already telling them? and the SF Chron confirmed with this headline "Auditor blasts UC's pay practices / University routinely violates own policies for compensating highest-paid employees"--did that Compensation Task Force ever stick around and provide an updated final-final report to the UC community on the changes that were made/completed- not just proposed- in order for UC to fall into compliance with the 2006 audit findings? if that did not happen, why not?- leave me a comment if you happen to know of an update to the UC Compensation Task Force delivered after "President announces action steps in response to compensation task force recommendations, April 17, 2006"

"Chairman Parsky letter to regents' compensation committee chair, requesting plan of action for addressing task force recommendations, April 18, 2006"


There certainly have been additional compensation scandals at UC since 2006- see stories on the right- so, where were these folks to address the implementation of the action items mentioned in all of the findings?

If those audit recommendations were not followed -- then what hope should we have that this new 2010 audit will result in any action steps that will be immediately implemented if the state auditor recommends them?


Here is an editorial on the audit of UC from the Daily Cal

Oh gosh, The People's Vanguard of Davis (nifty name?!) has an interesting way of covering the audit- see this story take a look at the reader comments, highly amusing...


Please check out the panel discussion at the bottom of this page. Watch live streaming video from TheInformant at livestream.com. Panelists include David Kessler, David Ellsman, Frank Serpico and more- Juan Williams hosts.

Disturbing comments I've come across recently, here:

"Stop! and think, please!

The University of California is fighting for its life in a state with dwindling funds and dysfunctional politics. This is NOT the time for a story like this. Please do NOT kick UC in the face or in any way make it seem to the electorate to be less worth of state funding. If/when things are a little more stable I'd be interested in the story. Now is the absolute worst time to even contemplate it, and I plead with you to use your heads and find something else to write about.

by Robert Ley on January 16, 2010 04:58"

thank goodness for this response:

"Sunlight is a disinfectant.


Robert: I can understand your sentiment. I (David Cohn, the founder of Spot.Us) am an alumni of the U.C. system and believe greatly in public education.

But that is precisely why this investigation should be happening. Turning our head to potential abuse is worse than the abuse itself. A journalists role is to explore the truth - even if the truth hurts.

Sunlight is often the best disinfectant.

by Spot Us on January 18, 2010 20:24"


Great to see so many SoCal UC folk at the Beverly Hilton--
those photos are just beautiful!--the "Regent Wachter WTF with DFA" signs had us in fits of giggles! Congrats on making it to that very posh event ;-)
you can see the photos at the bottom of the page here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

UC : We Were For the Audit- Before We Were Against It....but we're still against it??!!..

From the Daily Cal:
"UC officials have denied that funds have been mismanaged, adding that a financial audit of the 10-campus university's approximately $20 billion operating budget would not be plausible."
http://www.dailycal.org/article/108262/

but then after the JLAC unanimously voted to audit UC
UC made this statement:

"We have nothing to hide, and embrace with enthusiasm this opportunity to illuminate once more the work and finances of the University of California," said Nathan Brostrom, a UC executive vice president, in a statement. "Transparency is this institution's best defense against misinformation."

and then there is this ... Chron of Higher Ed:
the Twit:

Mark G. Yudof, the university's president, said on Twitter, "We have nothing to hide, and embrace opportunity to illuminate once more the work and finances of UC."

and then we recall the Grassley letters and former Dean David Kessler (see stories via links on the right) etc etc

-so UC, which one is it? ah, the transparency...

more...

State to audit UC finances
By Matt Krupnick
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 02/18/2010 03:25:07 PM PST
Updated: 02/18/2010 03:25:07 PM PST

The state will audit the University of California's finances at the request of a state senator who has criticized UC's spending decisions.

A legislative committee voted unanimously this week to approve the request by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who had asked that the state auditor examine the university's use of public funds and money raised from rapidly increasing student fees. Yee has often chastised UC administrators for their secrecy and compensation decisions.

"The UC administration expects taxpayers and students to foot the bill without asking any questions," he said in a written statement. "It is long overdue for the UC administration to start acting like a public institution and not a private country club."

UC responded by saying the 10-campus system welcomes the audit and already opens its books to state and federal agencies several times per year.

more info: State to Audit UC After Years of Financial Controversy

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) -- State lawmakers have voted unanimously to require The University of California to open its books for an audit of how it spends the people's money.
ListenKCBS' Doug Sovern reports

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted 10-0, to have the state auditor examine U-C's finances. The audit was approved after years of controversy over U-C's financial practices. Many have questioned why student fees keep going up, while U-C executives get pay raises.

State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco has been pushing for this for years.

“This audit is long overdue,” he said. “UC has never had this kind of an audit, and it’s just high time.”

Yee told KCBS he to know exactly where the university gets its money and how it spends every dollar. He suspects the audit will uncover significant waste and abuse.

“UC continues to increase our student fees to the point where we are pushing our students out of the state to get a college education. Yet, at the same time, they are giving these extraordinary salaries and benefits to their top executives,” he said. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of exactly how these dollars are being obtained by the UC and where they’re being spent.”

The audit will take about eight months.

UC officials say they do not think it is necessary, but they say they will cooperate.

(gba)
KCBS covers this story audio

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

State to Audit the University of California

To all those who worked so hard to begin this important work, THANK YOU. It is one very necessary step along the path to restoring UC!
State to Audit the University of California
Committee approves audit request by Senator Yee

SACRAMENTO – The finances of the University of California will finally be examined by the state auditor as a result of an official request by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). After several improprieties and poor decision-making by UC executives, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) today unanimously (10-0) approved Yee’s request.

“Unfortunately, not even one month can pass without another scandal plaguing our university,” said Yee, who is an alumnus of UC. “A comprehensive state audit will help further uncover the extent of the waste, fraud, and abuse within the UC, and finally hold university executives accountable.”

“The UC administration expects taxpayers and students to foot the bill without asking any questions,” said Yee. “It is long overdue for the UC administration to start acting like a public institution and not a private country club.”

Among the requests of the state auditor will be to: identify the sources of UC’s public funding; review and evaluate the policies and practices UC uses to track and allocate public funds; determine how the UC has spent its state appropriation, student fees, and funds from the federal government; evaluate UC’s practices for non-salary expenditures including travel, consultants, and entertainment; assess expenditures for instruction and identify the average amount per student UC spends on instruction; determine what funds are restricted and how; and examine auxiliary organizations, including expenditures.

Testifying in support of the audit included individuals from the California Federation of Teachers, University Council-American Federation of Teachers, University Professional and Technical Employees, California Labor Federation, California Nurses Association, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

Yee has long fought for greater accountability and transparency at the UC. In 2007, Yee passed SB 190 to end the Regents’ practice of making executive compensation decisions behind closed doors without public comment or disclosure. Also in 2007, Yee passed legislation to require greater public oversight of the UC Retirement Plan. However, the Regents have ignored the resolution and refuse to give workers and retirees a voice on their pensions.

In 2006, Yee passed a bill to provide greater speech and journalism protections for UC students, and in 2008, he passed another bill to extend such protections to employees. However, the Regents did not officially adopt the speech protection policies until last year. In 2009, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved three bills authored by Yee to freeze executive pay during bad budget years, subject campus auxiliary organizations to the California Public Records Act, and provide legal protections to employees who report waste, fraud, and abuse. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) vetoed all three bills.

Source: http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={EFA496BC-EDC8-4E38-9CC7-68D37AC03DFF}&DE={8E5788C4-C08B-4907-92F7-83DFFACD328F}

See Also: http://kalwnews.org/blogs/nancymullane/2010/02/12/state-audit-uc_150231.html

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Too Big To Audit"?! AKA "Too Big to Fail"...

From today's Daily Cal--A request for a state audit of the University of California will be filed Wednesday in response to alleged financial mismanagement by the university administration.

UC officials have denied that funds have been mismanaged, adding that a financial audit of the 10-campus university's approximately $20 billion operating budget would not be plausible.

**"Too Big To Audit"?! AKA "Too Big to Fail"... **

Among the issues cited by Yee as reason for his request is an alleged conflict of interest surrounding UC Regent Paul Wachter's stock investment in a mutual fund management company in which the university has a substantial financial interest.

According to a March 2009 Statement of Economic Interests, Wachter-who is the chair of the Regents' Committee on Investments-owns more than $1 million in stocks in Dimensional Fund Advisors Inc.

Wachter did not respond to a request for comment left at his Santa Monica office Friday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger-who appointed Wachter, a longtime friend, to the board in 2004-also has invested more than $1 million in the company, according to a March 2009 Statement of Economic Interests.

____

According to UC spokesperson Steve Montiel, safeguards are in place to preclude potential conflicts of interest.

"The Regents' role is oversight," he said in an e-mail. "It's up to the Treasurer's Office to make decisions about specific investments, investment managers or investment management firms."

According to board policy, alleged conflicts of interest are referred to the Office of the President's General Counsel, who "shall immediately bring the matter to the attention of the Chair of the Regents' Committee on Investments."

Montiel added that given both the size of the company and the extent of the university's retirement fund investments, there was no reason to suspect undue financial practices on the board.

TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE : http://www.dailycal.org/article/108262/

Source: Daily Californian

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Scandals Uncovered at UC, Yee Requests State Audit

If you are interested in supporting this audit, please write an email to Senator Yee’s office at: Nicolina.Hernandez@sen.ca.gov
to understand the process for audit request, please see :
http://www.assembly.ca.gov/committee/c208/hearing_documents/formulate_submit_Audit_request.htm
SACRAMENTO – Two investigative journalism websites – Spot.us and Californiawatch.org – have uncovered further scandal within the University of California. Spot.us reports that several UC Regents have direct financial ties to a number of university investments. Californiawatch.org reports that UCLA recently hired a consulting firm that is currently under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for numerous accounting errors.

The scandals are just the latest in a long series of improprieties and poor decision-making by university executives, which has prompted Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) to make an official audit request to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC). JLAC will consider and vote on Yee’s state audit request at a hearing on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, not even one month can pass without another scandal plaguing our university,” said Yee, who is an alumnus of UC. “A comprehensive state audit will help further uncover the extent of the waste, fraud, and abuse within the UC, and finally hold university executives accountable.”

Yee has long fought for greater accountability and transparency at the UC. In 2007, Yee passed SB 190 to end the Regents’ practice of making executive compensation decisions behind closed doors without public comment or disclosure. Also in 2007, Yee passed legislation to require greater public oversight of the UC Retirement Plan. However, the Regents have ignored the resolution and refuse to give workers and retirees a voice on their pensions.

In 2006, Yee passed a bill to provide greater speech and journalism protections for UC students, and in 2008, he passed another bill to extend such protections to employees. However, the Regents did not officially adopt the speech protection policies until last year. In 2009, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved three bills authored by Yee to freeze executive pay during bad budget years, subject campus auxiliary organizations to the California Public Records Act, and provide legal protections to employees who report waste, fraud, and abuse. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) vetoed all three bills.

The latest in an ongoing investigation by Spot.us highlights how some UC Regents may be making millions of dollars from university investments. Their latest report can be found here: http://blog.spot.us/2010/02/11/uc-regents-schwarzenegger-and-wachter-are-they-making-a-profit-from-university-investments/.

The Californiawatch.com story regarding UCLA’s consulting firm that has been plagued by accounting scandals can be found here: http://www.californiawatch.org/watchblog/ucla-consultant-involved-accounting-scandal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Senate Approves UC, CSU Accountability Bills, now to be considered by State Assembly

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Legislation would bring greater sunshine to public universities and protect whistleblowers

SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Senate approved two bills designed to bring greater transparency and accountability to the State’s public higher education institutions. Both bills authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) were vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) in October.

“These bills are imperative in order to rid the University of California and the California State University of waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Yee. “Through this legislation, we will give the Governor a second chance to do the right thing. Taxpayers and students deserve to know how their public universities are run.”

SB 330, which is a reintroduction of last year’s SB 218, would update the California Public Records Act (CPRA) to include auxiliary organizations that perform government functions at the UC and CSU. To address the Governor’s veto message, the new bill will exempt from disclosure the names of volunteers and donors who wish to remain anonymous provided they do not receive something of value greater than $500 in exchange for their donation or service.

SB 650, which is a reintroduction of SB 219, would provide UC and CSU employees who report waste, fraud and abuse, with the same legal protections as other state employees. Specifically, the bill will ensure that UC and CSU employees can exercise their right to seek damages in court if the university has either reached or failed to reach a decision regarding a complaint within the time limits established by the Regents and Trustees respectively; or if the university has not satisfactorily addressed the complaint within 18 months.

“These bills are the right tools to give Californians confidence in our institutions of higher learning,” said Lakesha Harrison, President of AFSCME Local 3299. “Californians deserve Governor Schwarzenegger to keep his word and stamp out waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds throughout government.”

“The time has come to bring transparency and accountability to our public colleges and universities,” said Lillian Taiz, President of the California Faculty Association and a history professor at CSU Los Angeles. “Because of state funding cuts to public higher education, we must ensure that what money the system has is spent as it was intended – in the classroom educating students.”

SB 330

The UC and CSU have often evaded the public records act by shifting some responsibilities to foundations and other auxiliary organizations operating on campuses. Several recent examples demonstrate the need for increased public oversight and accountability provided by SB 330:

• At Sonoma State, a $1.25 million loan issued to a former foundation board member two days after he resigned. He is now defaulting on that loan, which leaves less money in the foundation’s endowment for scholarships and other more important causes.

• At Fresno State, a no-bid managing contract was given to a foundation member for a theatre complex in which he held a financial interest. In addition, the Fresno Bee newspaper was denied information in 2001, specifically concerning the identity of individuals and companies that received luxury suites at the Save Mart Center arena. The denial resulted in CSU v. Superior Court (McClatchy Company), in which the Court opined that although it recognized university auxiliaries ought to be covered by the CPRA and that its ruling was counter to the obvious legislative intent of the CPRA, the rewriting of the statute was a legislative responsibility.

• At San Francisco City College, a campus executive has been indicted for using money from the San Francisco City College Foundation for personal and political purposes. At San Jose/Evergreen Community College, the Chancellor was found to have engaged in lavish travel and other examples of financial impropriety that prompted her resignation. Since local community college campus auxiliaries are already subject to the CPRA, these instances of waste and abuse have lead to the parties being held to account.

• Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez recently acknowledged his campus is being investigated by the Attorney General in relation to inappropriate expenditures of campus auxiliary money, including $200,000 to remodel President Gonzalez’ kitchen in 2007. Additionally at Sacramento State, $6.3 million of public funds was transferred to University Enterprises Inc., a campus auxiliary, to backfill losses from a property acquisition.

• Campus leadership at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo appears to be under the influence of a well-heeled donor. In October, Cal Poly eliminated a guest lecture at the request of executives from the Harris Ranch Beef Company, who threatened to withhold $500,000 in support for a new campus meat-processing center. Emails recently obtained by the San Luis Obispo Tribune also found that Harris Ranch may have also forced the resignation of a faculty member who taught a course on sustainable farming. Harris officials are now requesting a meeting with Cal Poly administrators to determine whether or not they will continue with their donation.

According to the CSU Chancellor’s Office, 20 percent of its $6.7 billion budget, or $1.34 billion, is held in their 87 auxiliaries and foundations, and out of public view.

“SB 330 would remove the cloak of secrecy that prevents the public from understanding whether significant amounts of educational funding for public colleges and universities is being spent for the benefit of all Californians or just a privileged few,” said Jim Ewert, Legal Counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

“In just the last month alone, the scandals involving these foundations have expanded significantly to reveal that money has been used inappropriately for personal expenses, questionable loans, no-bid contracts, and executive perks for college administrators,” said Taiz.

“If government agencies can spin off front groups to handle their income with no transparency, those who provide that funding will never know quite where their money goes,” said Terry Francke, General Counsel for Californians Aware.

SB 650

In July 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled (Miklosy v. the Regents of the University of California (S139133, July 31, 2008) that UC employees who are retaliated against because they report wrongdoing cannot sue for damages under the state’s Whistleblower Protection Act, so long as the University itself reviews the complaints in a timely fashion. The ruling uncovered an oversight made by the Legislature when the Act was amended in 2001, which provided legal standing for all other state employees to seek damages.

“This is the classic case of the fox guarding the hen house,” said Yee. “UC and CSU executives should not be judge and jury on whether or not they are liable for monetary claims. This was not the intent of California’s whistleblower law.”

In the Miklosy decision, three of the seven judges urged the Legislature to consider changes to the law, as the current statute undermines the purpose of the Act.

“The court’s reading of the Act, making the University the judge of its own civil liability and leaving its employees vulnerable to retaliation for reporting abuses, thwarts the demonstrated legislative intent to protect those employees and thereby encourage candid reporting,” wrote Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, joined by Chief Justice Ronald George and Justice Carlos Moreno. “If the same government organization that has tried to silence the reporting employee also sits in final judgment of the employee’s retaliation claim, the law’s protection against retaliation is illusory.”

The Miklosy decision deals with the plight of two former scientists at UC’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who repeatedly told their supervisors about equipment problems and poorly trained operators of a project designed to determine the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. One of the scientists, Leo Miklosy, was fired in February 2003 and the other, Luciana Messina, resigned a few days later after overhearing a supervisor say she would also be fired.

“SB 650 will resolve the ambiguity in statute referenced by the Supreme Court and will ensure that all UC and CSU employees are given the same real – and not illusory – whistleblower protections as other state employees,” said Francke. “Fraud, waste and corruption in government cannot succeed if public employees are well-protected against punishment for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing.”

SB 650 would protect UC and CSU employees, who continue to face reprisal for reporting bad behavior and, without protection, will likely no longer be willing to provide journalists, the Legislature and the public with essential information about the operations of these high profile institutions in an era where available financial resources are increasingly scarce,” said Ewert.

Both bills will now be considered by the State Assembly.

source: http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vetoed Transparency, Whistleblower Bills Revived

OPEN GOVERNMENT/WHISTLEBLOWERS -- Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) has reintroduced two bills vetoed last year by Governor Schwarzenegger, designed to bring greater transparency and accountability to the State’s public higher education institutions, Yee's office has announced.“These bills are imperative in order to rid the University of California and the California State University of waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Yee. “Through this legislation, we will give the Governor a second chance to do the right thing. Taxpayers and students deserve to know how their public universities are run.”

SB 650, which is a reintroduction of SB 219, would provide UC and CSU employees who report waste, fraud and abuse, with the same legal protections as other state employees. Specifically, the bill will ensure that UC and CSU employees can exercise their right to seek damages in court if the university has either reached or failed to reach a decision regarding a complaint within the time limits established by the Regents and Trustees respectively; or if the university has not satisfactorily addressed the complaint within 18 months.

SB 330, which is a reintroduction of last year’s SB 218, would update the California Public Records Act (CPRA) to include auxiliary organizations that perform government functions at the UC and CSU. To address the Governor’s veto message, the new bill will exempt from disclosure the names of volunteers and donors who wish to remain anonymous provided they do not receive something of value greater than $500 in exchange for their donation or service.(Note: SB 330 passed its first hurdle in the Senate Judiciary Committee today on a partisan 3-2 vote.)

“These bills are the right tools to give Californians confidence in our institutions of higher learning,” said Lakesha Harrison, President of AFSCME Local 3299. “Californians deserve Governor Schwarzenegger to keep his word and stamp out waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds throughout government.”

“The time has come to bring transparency and accountability to our public colleges and universities,” said Lillian Taiz, President of the California Faculty Association and a history professor at CSU Los Angeles. “Because of state funding cuts to public higher education, we must ensure that what money the system has is spent as it was intended – in the classroom educating students.”

SB 330

The UC and CSU have often evaded the public records act by shifting some responsibilities to foundations and other auxiliary organizations operating on campuses. Several recent examples demonstrate the need for increased public oversight and accountability provided by SB 330:

· At Sonoma State, a $1.25 million loan issued to a former foundation board member two days after he resigned. He is now defaulting on that loan, which leaves less money in the foundation’s endowment for scholarships and other more important causes.

· At Fresno State, a no-bid managing contract was given to a foundation member for a theatre complex in which he held a financial interest. In addition, the Fresno Bee newspaper was denied information in 2001, specifically concerning the identity of individuals and companies that received luxury suites at the Save Mart Center arena. The denial resulted in CSU v. Superior Court (McClatchy Company), in which the Court opined that although it recognized university auxiliaries ought to be covered by the CPRA and that its ruling was counter to the obvious legislative intent of the CPRA, the rewriting of the statute was a legislative responsibility.

· At San Francisco City College, a campus executive has been indicted for using money from the San Francisco City College Foundation for personal and political purposes. At San Jose/Evergreen Community College, the Chancellor was found to have engaged in lavish travel and other examples of financial impropriety that prompted her resignation. Since local community college campus auxiliaries are already subject to the CPRA, these instances of waste and abuse have lead to the parties being held to account.

· Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez recently acknowledged his campus is being investigated by the Attorney General in relation to inappropriate expenditures of campus auxiliary money, including $200,000 to remodel President Gonzalez’ kitchen in 2007. Additionally at Sacramento State, $6.3 million of public funds was transferred to University Enterprises Inc., a campus auxiliary, to backfill losses from a property acquisition.

According to the CSU Chancellor’s Office, 20 percent of its $6.7 billion budget, or $1.34 billion, is held in their 87 auxiliaries and foundations, and out of public view.

“SB 330 would remove the cloak of secrecy that prevents the public from understanding whether significant amounts of educational funding for public colleges and universities is being spent for the benefit of all Californians or just a privileged few,” said Jim Ewert, Legal Counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

“In just the last month alone, the scandals involving these foundations have expanded significantly to reveal that money has been used inappropriately for personal expenses, questionable loans, no-bid contracts, and executive perks for college administrators,” said Taiz.

SB 650

In July 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled (Miklosy v. the Regents of the University of California (S139133, July 31, 2008) that UC employees who are retaliated against because they report wrongdoing cannot sue for damages under the state’s Whistleblower Protection Act, so long as the University itself reviews the complaints in a timely fashion. The ruling uncovered an oversight made by the Legislature when the Act was amended in 2001, which provided legal standing for all other state employees to seek damages.

“This is the classic case of the fox guarding the hen house,” said Yee. “UC and CSU executives should not be judge and jury on whether or not they are liable for monetary claims. This was not the intent of California’s whistleblower law.”

In the Miklosy decision, three of the seven judges urged the Legislature to consider changes to the law, as the current statute undermines the purpose of the Act.

“The court’s reading of the Act, making the University the judge of its own civil liability and leaving its employees vulnerable to retaliation for reporting abuses, thwarts the demonstrated legislative intent to protect those employees and thereby encourage candid reporting,” wrote Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, joined by Chief Justice Ronald George and Justice Carlos Moreno. “If the same government organization that has tried to silence the reporting employee also sits in final judgment of the employee’s retaliation claim, the law’s protection against retaliation is illusory.”

The Miklosy decision deals with the plight of two former scientists at UC’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who repeatedly told their supervisors about equipment problems and poorly trained operators of a project designed to determine the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. One of the scientists, Leo Miklosy, was fired in February 2003 and the other, Luciana Messina, resigned a few days later after overhearing a supervisor say she would also be fired.


“SB 650 will resolve the ambiguity in statute referenced by the Supreme Court and will ensure that all UC and CSU employees are given the same real – and not illusory – whistleblower protections as other state employees,” said Terry Francke, General Counsel for Californians Aware.

“SB 650 would protect UC and CSU employees, who continue to face reprisal for reporting bad behavior and, without protection, will likely no longer be willing to provide journalists, the Legislature and the public with essential information about the operations of these high profile institutions in an era where available financial resources are increasingly scarce,” said Ewert.

source: http://calaware.typepad.com/calaware_today/2010/01/vetoed-transparency-whistleblower-bills-revived.html