Where’s the Budget?
by Silence Dogood

According to Wikipedia, Clara Peller (August 4, 1902 – August 11, 1987), was a retired manicurist and American character actress who, at the age of 81, starred in the 1984 “Where’s the beef?” advertising campaign for the Wendy’s fast food restaurant chain. Clara became a phenomenon asking the all too obvious question.

Three months into FY15, there is no budget document whatsoever on the website for the Office of Finance and Administration. Even the budget document from last spring has been removed.

Apparently, promises have been made by the administration that a budget will be provided within the next few weeks. The obvious question is “Where’s the beef, I mean budget?” It’s simply incredible that more than 25% of the way through the fiscal year there is no budget for a $200,000,000 enterprise.

How can anyone think that, three months into the fiscal year, it is appropriate not to have a budget document available for discussion? Does anyone really believe that the administration is so incompetent that more than 25% of the way through the budget year there is no budget? Not even a “draft” budget? It’s sad to admit but we know that there is a budget—the administration just doesn’t want to show it to anyone.

Last spring, the declining enrollment at SCSU had been going on for four years it certainly can’t come of as a surprise. From FY10 through FY14, the FYE enrollment has fallen a staggering 18.0%. SCSU’s $6,400,000 loss on the Coborn’s Plaza apartments has been well documented. The university spent nearly half million on a “branding” makeover. SCSU has been hemorrhaging cash. Little, if anything, has been done about it.

President Potter even admits it in a St. Cloud Times article on August 29, 2014!

The curious thing about the timing of this article is that President Potter didn’t mention anything about an impending $10,000,000 shortfall, a 5% across the board budget reduction, or a ‘flexible’ hiring freeze in his convocation address nine days earlier. Here is a portion of an August 19, 2014 news release describing his address.

To top it off, President Potter held a real ‘feel good’ event after his address.

Are we to believe that nine days later, there is a looming financial disaster? T. Boone Pickens once said

Does anyone believe that President Potter was not aware of the financial situation of the university before his convocation address? If so, his Vice President for Finance and Administration, Tammy McGee, would probably be looking for work right now. Of course he knew!

The reason that there is no budget document is because as soon as a budget document is provided, there will be discussion. As of right now it’s only smoke and mirrors about a ‘flexible hiring freeze’ and a 5% across the board cut.

Whenever you make a prediction, you typically make a fool out of yourself. Last March 19, 2014, a Silence Dogood article published on the Let Freedom Ring Blog entitled More on State Appropriations ended with the quote “The truth will be evident as enrollment numbers come in for next fall and budget cuts are announced.” I guess Silence got it right.

The enrollment debacle President Potter has directed for the past seven years has finally run the “Flagship” of MnSCU aground and a shortfall of $8,000,000 to 10,000,000 is the consequence of his inaction. The captain of the Costa Concordia made a bad decision and we saw how well that worked out.

Unfortunately, President Potter’s only solution seems to be is to now ask the very people who are going to suffer the most as a result of his decisions to roll up their sleeves and help overcome this latest challenge. Or perhaps he’ll just hire another consultant—it’s worked so well in the past. What could go wrong?

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