Monday, June 05, 2006

MSSU retreats should not be repeated

Last week, the Missouri Southern State University Board of Regents continued its annual practice of leaving the campus and holding a retreat in which university business is discussed.
In previous years, the retreat was held in Branson. This year, it was moved to Springfield. Next year, the practice should be discontinued, but I have no doubt it won't be.
I don't know how much this year's retreat cost. Last year's put the taxpayers out $1,000.
As I wrote one year ago in The Turner Report:

The Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors continued to snub its nose at patrons, students, and employees by conducting business at a retreat in Branson.
Though it could be argued that nothing major was discussed at the meeting, which has become an annual tradition, that is beside the point. Public meetings should be held at a place that is convenient for the public to attend. It doesn't matter whether the public would actually attend, what matters is that it is afforded the opportunity to do so.
It is not easy for a civic-minded person who wants to know how the Board of Governors is running the university to drive from the Joplin area to Branson to attend a meeting. The reasons for having the retreat are sound...from a business standpoint. It makes sense for the board of directors of a business to head to some scenic spot for a get-together and to recharge the old batteries.
That being said, boards that conduct the taxpayers' business are different. Their meetings must be open and accessible. It doesn't matter if 1,000 people want to attend the meeting or just one, all anyone who wants to see the Board of Governors in action should have to do is drive to the college.

Nothing has happened to change my mind. When you conduct the public's business, the public has every right to be there.


Anonymous said...

Was the meeting held in an undeground bunker that was sealed off to the outside world until they were done? This is typical complaining of the media (of which you aren't) about not having access. I noticed that the real media actually goes to cover stories as opposed to making them come to you in your easy chair.

Anonymous said...

The comment about the "real media" is interesting.

I ask this question of the commenter: What member of the "real media" attended the meeting--was actually there?

Name me one.

Randy said...

Judging from the article the Joplin Globe ran on the retreat, it appeared the Globe did not have a reporter in Springfield, but conducted a telephone interview. As for the real media comment, hey, you're the one who's taking the time to read this blog.

Globe Rat said...

$1,000 is still $1,000, and it's likely more that was actually spent on these outings at the taxpayers expense. But some creative accoutning will remedy any hint of wrongdoing. What possible reason would the Missouri Southern Board of Regents need to meet in Springfield, Lake of the Ozarks, Branson or anywhere else other than the campus? Is Andy Williams planning on taking dental hygiene classes and they needed to go to Branson to recruit him? It was just plain wasteful.

Randy isn't always wrong said...

What I find amazing is that The Chart, the student newspaper of MSSU, doesn't seem to EVER send a reporter to ANY meeting. Even the ones on campus.

Granted, not much happens at the BoG meetings. The Globe probably didn't see it as cost effective to send a reporter to Springfield for a lot of minor discussion. And I really don't blame them. I can't see's Kaylea Hutson wasting a whole day either. But the campus paper is ignoring it's own backyard and that is inexcuseable.

What scares me is that the BoG schedules one of these every year knowing full well the media won't be there. It has kind of a back-door, almost-closed meeting stench to it.

If I were Chart editor next year, I would ask about it in the fall, then I would mark the retreat meeting on the calendar in red. Then I would send a reporter just to make a point and be a presence.

Anonymous said...

If the BOG schedules the meeting...tells you when it is, where it is, and gives you the agenda then how are they keeping the public from coming?

Randy said...

The same thing would hold true if the meetings were scheduled in Kansas City or St. Louis or Switzerland, for that matter. Yes, the media can go to any of those places, but for the general public, the taxpayers who are footing the bill for the university and for this retreat, the only place a meeting should be held is at Missouri Southern State University.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true liberal media (not really) reporter who always assumes the school districts/government entities are hiding something by going away.

Globe Rat said...

The last poster has missed Randy's point all together. It's not about the fact they are going away to have these meetings, it's that it's an excessive expense to the taxpayers to do so and there is the hint of impropriety in doing it. So far, no one has legitimately reconciled any rationale for these retreats. So yeah, it looks shady and it's wasting money that should be going toward educating the students who are paying for it. How is it liberal to want to save money? That's the very definition of conservative, you dope.