February 3, 2017

What would happen if the UNC football team had 32 offensive coordinators up in the press box trying to call plays? A mess.

But the UNC Board of Governors has 32 members and 17 campus boards under the BOG with each campus board larded up with a gaggle of political appointees. And that’s definitely too many coaches confusing the quarterback down on the field – UNC President Margaret Spellings.

As she explains, ”I hope I’m not going to get into trouble for saying this too much, but the governance of the university, I just wonder, does it make sense to have a 32-member board … with 17 boards of trustees underneath that with 17 chief executive officers, with me and my staff of 300 in a centralized function, a legislature that sits on top. It’s just a lot of layer.” 

Rep. David Lewis has bipartisan legislation to begin making the system more efficient by reducing the BOG 25% over the next two years. As board terms expire, the Legislature wouldn’t elect a replacement, bringing the BOG down to 24.

Bravo to Lewis and reformers in the House for choosing efficiency and a streamlined university system over political patronage. The Senate should follow their lead.

Streamlining government at any level – university system included – is usually a good idea. The House’s bill does that, saves money by cutting the number of political appointees drawing expenses, and lessens the chance of throwing an interception because of confusion about which play has been called.

Some in the Legislature might balk at having fewer patronage appointments for contributors. But with radicals burning buildings if they don’t like a speaker, UNC needs strong leadership and a common sense process, not conflicting confusion. Pass the bill.