News Column

Cost-cutting consultant to present details at UNI town hall Monday

June 12, 2014

By Mackenzie Elmer, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa

June 12--CEDAR FALLS -- Officials leading a cost-cutting study of Iowa's public universities will visit the University of Northern Iowa on Monday for another round of public meetings.

Deloitte Consulting and Iowa Board of Regents representatives will hold UNI's second town hall from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. Regents have promised more open town hall meetings.

Scott Ketelsen, director of UNI relations, said Deloitte will bring its "team leaders," experts in each of eight areas of the study like student services, information technology and utilities. There will be an open microphone for audience members to ask questions.

Officials will hold a press conference following the presentation.

"They want the internal campus audiences to hear results first, then they will be released in a grander scale," Ketelsen said.

Some expressed concern over how few specifics were provided in the first report of the cost-cutting study, on which the board to date has spent $3.5 million.

"I certainly would not be comfortable for the board to take action based on material that I have seen up to this point," Regent Robert Downer said Thursday.

Regent Larry McKibben, a former state lawmaker who chairs the private subcommittee leading the so-called "Transparency, Inclusive Efficiency Review," said "significant details" will be released Monday.

"What you got yesterday was mostly all the data that we've received," McKibben said.

McKibben said he would release potential savings from this study before July 4.

Asked why meetings of his committee are closed versus others headed by regents that are open to the public, McKibben said since there is no quorum of the board, it's not subject to Iowa open meetings law.

"We have nothing to hide," he said. "When we get all the pieces of the puzzle relatively organized, everyone in Iowa will know."


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Source: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (IA)

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