Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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Rogers narrowly gains authority to hire execs

CARSON CITY -- The state university and college system Board of Regents gave interim Chancellor Jim Rogers a narrow vote of confidence Thursday to permit him to hire his own executives without approval of the board.

Rogers told the University and Community College System of Nevada regents that he answers to them and he wanted the administrators he hired in the system to be accountable to him.

The vote was 7-6 to give him that authority.

Voting to approve Rogers' request were Mark Alden, Jack Schofield, Chairman Stavros Anthony, Thalia Dondero, Douglas Seastrand, Steve Sisolak and Bret Whipple, all from Clark County.

Regent Linda Howard of Las Vegas said there needed to be a check and balance system. She said the regents did not want to pick the administrators but wanted final approval.

Regent Jill Derby of Gardnerville also expressed reservations, saying the system is going through an interim period. She said more study is needed on the authority of the chancellor. "It is not a good idea to make piecemeal changes," said Derby.

But Alden, a Las Vegas Valley resident, argued that the board selected Rogers to be the chief operating officer and he's either going to be a puppet or the person in charge. "We need to look at the big picture," Alden said.

Regent Doug Hill of Sparks said giving Rogers this authority could create problems in the future. If the board fires Rogers, it is stuck with the administrators he hired, Hill said.

Rogers said that was a valid point. But, he added, the regents would still be stuck with the administrators if they approved their hiring.

Initially, a motion was made to delay the vote until October. But Rogers successfully argued for the vote to be taken Thursday. "I've got to get this done. I don't want to come back in October," he told the regents.

He said he has been spending a lot of time restructuring the legal department.

Rogers wants to hire an independent attorney and assign the central legal staffs to the various campuses.

Schofield said, "We should not tie the hands of the chancellor. We're talking about micromanaging."

Rogers noted that at his 17 television stations, he hires the general manager and lets him hire the staff.

He said he wants to hire the staff so the administrators "won't undermine and undercut the ability of the chancellor." He said in the past some system administrators have "tried end-runs" by going around the chancellor and directly to the regents that approved their employment. He did not give any examples, however, and several regents said such end-runs have never happened.

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