Submitted by Bob Burton on
The University of California (UC) has dismissed objections by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union to UC management's hiring of Hill & Knowlton to spin its labor record. UC's Executive Director of Systemwide Labor Relations, Howard J. Pripas, did not respond to the specific concerns raised by AFSCME, such as H&K's work for the tobacco industry, instead praising the PR firm. "Hill & Knowlton," Pripas wrote, "is one of the most well-known and well respected firms in the world." After AFSCME went public with its concern, H&K's Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Thorne, wrote wrote to PR Week, stating that the firm has a policy "that we will not provide services in any way related to tobacco, anywhere in the world." The UC hierarchy, on the other hand, is opposing a policy that would ban the university from accepting tobacco industry funding of research projects.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
UCBerkeley $3 million blunder swept under carpet by media
$3 Million Extravagant, Arrogant Spending by UC President Yudof for UCBerkeley Chancellor Birgeneau to Hire Consultants - When Work Can Be Done Internally and impartially.
These days, every dollar counts. Contact Senate (Ms. Romero 916.651.4105) & Assembly (Ms. Brownley 916.319.2044) Chairperson’s Education Committees or your representatives.
Do the work internally at no additional costs with UCB Academic Senate Leadership (C. Kutz/F. Doyle), the world – class UCB faculty/ staff, & the UCB Chancellor’s bloated staff (G. Breslauer, N. Brostrom, F. Yeary, P. Hoffman, C. Holmes etc) & President Yudof.
President Yudof’s UCB Chancellor should do the high paid work he is paid for instead of hiring expensive East Coast consults to do the work of his job. ‘World class’ smart executives like Chancellor Birgeneau need to do the hard work analysis, and make the tough-minded difficult, decisions to identify inefficiencies.
Where do the $3,000,000 consultants get their recommendations?
From interviewing the UCB senior management that hired them and approves their monthly consultant fees and expense reports. Remember the nationally known auditing firm who said the right things and submitted recommendations that senior management wanted to hear and fooled the public, state, federal agencies?
$3 million impartial consultants never bite the hands (Birgeneau/Yeary) that feed them!
Mr. Birgeneau's accountabilities include "inspiring innovation, leading change." This involves "defining outcomes, energizing others at all levels and ensuring continuing commitment." Instead of deploying his leadership and setting a good example by doing the work of his Chancellor’s job, Mr. Birgeneau outsourced his work to the $3,000,000 consultants. Doesn't he engage UC and UC Berkeley people at all levels to examine inefficiencies and recommend $150 million of trims? Hasn't he talked to Cornell and the University of North Carolina - which also hired the consultants -- about best practices and recommendations that will eliminate inefficiencies?
No wonder the faculty, staff, students, Senate & Assembly are angry and suspicious.
In today’s economy three million dollars is a irresponsible price to pay when a knowledgeable ‘world-class’ UCB Chancellor and his bloated staff do not do the work of their jobs.
Together, we will make a difference.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
University of California Berkeley Chancellor Loss of Trust
UCB Chancellor Birgeneau Loss of Trust,Credibility
The UCB budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Chancellor is spending money that isn't there on expensive outside consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the "innovative thinking, expertise, and new knowledge" the consultants would bring.
Does this mean that the faculty and management of a world-class research and teaching institution lack the knowledge, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from interviewing faculty and the UCB management that hired them; yet solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor were doing the job HE was hired to do. Consultant fees would be far better spent on meeting the needs of students.
There can be only one conclusion as to why creative solutions have not been forthcoming from the professionals within UCB: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility and the trust of the faculty as well as of the Academic Senate leadership that represents them. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants' recommendations - disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy - the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
UC Berkeley Chancellor uses $3,000,000 for consultants
Sorry Tale of UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office: easily grasped by the public, lost on University of California’s President Yudoff. The UC Berkley budget gap has grown to $150 million, & still the Chancellor is spending money that isn't there on $3,000,000 consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the consultants "thinking, expertise, & new knowledge".
Does this mean that the faculty & management of UC Berkeley – flagship campus of the greatest public system of higher education in the world - lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, skills to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from faculty interviews & the senior management that hired them; yet $ 150 million of inefficiencies and solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor & Provost Breslauer were doing the work of their jobs (This simple point is lost on UC’s leadership).
The victims of this folly are Faculty and Students. $ 3 million consultant fees would be far better spent on students & faculty.
There can be only one conclusion as to why inefficiencies & solutions have not been forthcoming from faculty & staff: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility & the trust of the faculty & Academic Senate leadership (C. Kutz, F. Doyle). Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants' recommendations - disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy - the underlying problem of lost credibility & trust will remain. (Context: greatest recession in modern times)
Contact your representatives in Sacramento: tell them of the hefty self-serving $’s being spent by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
Well Intentioned UC Berkeley Chancellor makes poor decisions
When UC Berkeley recently announced its elimination of baseball, men’s, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found by Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste, inefficiencies in UC Berkeley (Cal), despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was accomplishing the same thing without expensive consultants.
Essentially, the process requires collecting, analyzing information from faculty, staff. Apparently, Cal senior management believe that the faculty, staff of their world-class university lacks the cognitive ability, integrity, energy to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor has lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated to $150 million. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (‘They told me to do it’, Birgeneau), credibility, trust, problems remain.
Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and academic senate leaders to identify $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms.
Students, staff, faculty, California Legislators are the victims of his incompetent decisions. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni, benefactors, donors, will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year while abdicating his work responsibilities.
Let there be light.
The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.
PS University of California Berkeley (Cal) ranking drops. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked Cal the second leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.
Kiplinger rated UC Berkeley 16th best in 2011