|Office of the Chancellor / Public Affairs||
Friday, July 9, 2004
San Diego Union-Tribune 7-9-04
UC regents alter meeting attendance procedure
The University of California has decided to simplify its attendance procedure for its Board of Regents, a day after reports that absenteeism by some regents is causing resentment and divisiveness among board members.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported yesterday that some regents are not fulfilling expectations that they attend at least six board meetings a year.
An analysis of UC records showed that four of the 18 governor-appointed regents had missed more than one-third of the board and committee meetings from 2000 to 2003. Two regents had missed nearly two-thirds of their scheduled meetings.
In a letter to regents yesterday, board secretary Leigh Trivette announced that future attendance summaries "would simply indicate Regents' attendance at the regular meetings."
Generally, the regents meet in back-to-back committee and board meetings over two days every other month. On any day, they can hold several committee and board meetings.
"It is apparent that the detailed session-by-session reporting we have done historically is confusing rather than illuminating," Trivette's letter read. She attached a copy of the Union-Tribune story to her note.
Trey Davis, a spokesman for the UC president's office, said he interprets Trivette's letter as saying that regents who attend any board or committee session will receive credit for attending all of the sessions conducted that day.
"This is a procedural matter between the board and the secretary," Davis wrote in a subsequent e-mail.
Up to now, regents' attendance had been tabulated in grids, based on their presence at each session. Davis said the grids were subject to misinterpretation.
Although he said the numbers cited in the Union-Tribune article were accurate, Davis pointed out that the UC's current attendance procedure gives equal credit for attending long and short meetings. He did not elaborate on how the new procedure would address that concern.
Regents' reactions varied. Some, including Ward Connerly, said it was a good move but does not address the problem of absenteeism.
"We have, on many occasions, had difficulty maintaining a quorum because certain regents aren't there," Connerly said. "We're a public body and we should not try to put a spin on something that most regents, if not all, are very much aware of and have complained about."
Other regents said they were concerned that the simplified record-keeping would overstate the attendance of some of their colleagues, and said it does nothing to discourage absenteeism. They asked that their names not be used because of fears of creating more divisiveness on the board.
The UC regents are responsible for setting policy and overseeing the assets of the 10-campus system and its annual $14 billion budget. They are appointed to 12-year terms.
The Union-Tribune's computations were based on regents' attendance at board meetings, public comment periods and assigned committee sessions.
They showed that Regent Haim Saban, a Los Angeles entertainment magnate, has missed two-thirds of his board and assigned committee meetings. In one 12-month period, he missed 84 percent of committee meetings and all the board meetings.
Norman Pattiz, the founder and chairman of Culver City-based Westwood One, a radio network company, missed nine of 10 board meetings in 2002-03.
Regents are not paid for their service, but the university system pays for their travel, lodging and meals during meetings.
These news clips are provided by the Public Affairs Department of The California State University. They are intended for the internal use of The California State University system and should not be redistributed. Questions and submissions may be sent to email@example.com.