Video: ND Senate Re-Considers And Passes Buy Out For Chancellor Shirvani

New Chancellor

On the floor of the state Senate today Senator Tony Grindber re-introduced his amendment to buy out Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, amended slightly to make it clear that the legislature is not attempting to order that Shirvani be fired but merely providing funds for his buy out and termination.

This time around, with only Senator John Andrist speaking against it, the amendment passed on a 28-19 vote. The full bill, the budget for the university system, passed on a 36-11 vote with no debate at all.

Here’s the video of the amendment passage from the floor:

I maintain that Shirvani is irrelevant to the problems that plague the university system. The way the system is currently composed, I’m not sure anyone could govern it.

To that end, Senator Joe Miller has introduced a constitutional amendment to change the way the university system is governed, SCR4028. Yesterday Rep. Rick Becker introduced a similar amendment.

Miller tells me that he likes Becker’s amendment, but that he’s uncomfortable with adding another statewide elected official.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Lianne

    I guess they showed the Chancellor, huh? You be nice, change your rude tactics shown the Presidents of the universities or you will go home. For pete’s sake. Those presidents are not kings. I would love to see how they treat the Chancellor.

    • Rob

      This presidents revolt against the chancellor is exactly why we need to reform the way the university system is governed.

    • Roy_Bean

      I wonder if all the Presidents will hop in air bison and go somewhere to celebrate.

  • camsaure

    Maybe the money should just be deducted from the SBHE budget. After all they are the ones responsible, it should not be another additional hit to the taxpayers money.

  • ec99

    As I said before, if Shirvani leaves, you will get a political hack who will do things the “North Dakota Way.”

  • The Whistler

    Shouldn’t we all get a big fat check from the state?

  • Too scared to say

    Until you have had to work for this beast, you have no idea the disrespectful, dishonest “leadership” he has displayed. When staff – and I am NOT talking about campus presidents – are having physical and mental breakdowns due to fear and intimidation, the problem must be taken care of. This Shirvani is the problem.

    • Lianne

      provide some real examples– please. anonymous claims carry no weight and can be dishonest and disrespectful.

    • The Whistler

      If he’s that bad then he should be fired without the golden parachute?

      • Too scared to say

        Absolutely he should. I hope that’s what will eventually happen.

        • The Whistler

          If they go through with the buyout that will pretty much end it. We might hear a few more stories, but I suspect the media won’t cover much.

        • Lianne

          They voted that the buy out could be offered. Seems they don’t have anything legal to back their actions.

    • Too scared to say

      I do understand the comment about anonymous claims and I agree that they are not always, perhaps not usually, credible. All I can say at this time is there is way more to this story and in time, the truth will come out.

      • Lianne

        You are asking that we agree to get rid of him and then here why when he is in no position to defend his position? If the charges are aas serious as you say they are, are there not charges that can be brought forth?

  • NDConservative2011

    For someone who has double dipped both as a legislator and as an employee of NDSU, it is no small wonder that Senator Grindberg is the waterboy for President Bresciani.
    He is the legislator who was working at, and getting paid by NDSU while at the same time getting paid by the state to serve as a legislator. It’s a good gig if you can get away with it, but somehow it does seem to lack in integrity.
    Remember the promises made by both the Board of Higher Education and Bresciani back in 2011 that tuition rates did not need to have a cap set by the legislators at 2.5%, as both the Board and NDSU could live with the 2.5%. Just 2 weeks after the session closed, Bresciani requested an 8.8% in increases in tuition from the Board of Higher Education and the request was granted. Talk about building trust with the organization that funds your lavish spending. It’s no small wonder that the legislators do not, and cannot trust a system that will not live by it’s own promises.
    The chancellor may not have the best “bedside manner”, but one must realize that he has been given a mandate to bring higher education up to a higher level of standards that has been lacking for decades. Apparantly the college presidents fear accountability as well as possible changes.
    The college presidents have been acting with impunity protecting their fiefdoms with disregard for the taxpayers as well as for the legislators. Now that the system has a “tough” chancellor who will not bow to the presidents, all hell breaks loose.
    The Board of Higher Education need not kowtow to either the legislature nor the college presidents. They need to stand their ground and stay the course. If they keep giving into the pressure put upon them and fire another chancellor, then where would they find another qualified person in their right mind who would to step into this mine field. A buyout amendment is an affront to both the Cancellor and the Board of Higher Education as well. Who in the world would want to serve on the Board of Higher Education with all of the sniping and undercutting that is being insigated by the college presidents as well as by some members of the legislature. Talk about a tough and thankless position to be in.
    At some time, the system needs to be brought under control, funding needs to be accounted for, the layers of cream needs to be slimmed off the top of a bloated budget, and the college presidents need to be held accountable.
    Funding at $1,100,000,000.00 (or) $1.1 BILLION dollars for a system that is broken is beyond comprehension of the average citizen who is fighting just to keep their heads above water during this troubled economy. It is really difficult for us to understand the level of spending for higher education when fuel prices, food prices, rent, property taxes, as well as the cost of living are reaching the point that cannot be sustained with our paychecks. There is a reason that North Dakotans lead the nation with folks who need to hold down two jobs just to make ends meet, and it’s a sad state of affairs that our leaders just don’t get it.
    I might also mention that the Energy & Environmental Research Center at UND operates as an independent organization with the director answering only to President Kelly. The EERC needs to be brought out of the shadows with their budget subject to an audit. Where is the funding being applied, is it properly applied, and is the funding being accounted for as intended. It is my understanding that the director and his administrative staff are being paid far above the rate of any other department head and staff. If this is a fact, President Kelly needs to address this concern. Why in the world would EERC be subject to a different set of standards then any other department. Is not the med school, the school of law, the engineering department and all the other departments just as, if not more important then the EERC.
    Well President Kelly, if this is true, I for one will be waiting for your explaination.

    • Nelly

      Amen! Doesn’t senator Poolman’s husband also work for EERC? If so, her speaking out in support of the bill yesterday is a conflict of interest.

      • Roger

        No it is Trippletts

  • Captjohn

    Rob I haven’t formed an opinion on Shirvani. I agree this whole dust up is a sign of the dysfunctional governance of NDUS.
    Which senators changed their votes. You can bet a lot of phone calls were being made to senators who didn’t vote for the money yesterday.
    In this case I doubt that the Republicans or Democrats took a caucus position. It then becomes a free for all. Once a vote is taken the opposing sides know who they have to convert. A comparison of the votes might be cause for some interesting speculation.
    It is going to be a real donnybrook when it gets to the house.

  • zipity

    Huh. Who would have thunk a Left Coast extremely Liberal Higher Education Chancellor who left in his wake a series of unhappy campuses, plus a settlement payout to avoid an unnamed legal issue with an underling, would be a issue in a conservative state like North Dakota.

    One might also inquire why someone with his Liberal pedigree would leave the warmth of Liberal La-La-Land California and take a job in cold and Conservative North Dakota.

    Unless of course he had crapped out so badly in California that he had little choice….

  • ND Observer

    Watch the video. My guess is that Sen Dever’s comments about fear, intimidation and retribution in the higher ed office in the capitol tower is a deciding factor. Too scared to say also reports the abuse, hostility and dishonesty of the Chancellor. They have a big leadership problem by picking the wrong guy, a dictator.

    • Tall Tom

      Throw enough mud and see what sticks. Haven’t we seen these tactics used enough todiscredit Conservatives to buy into them without any proof. The man abuses his staff, he beats his dog, he sings on the street at night, he has a Porsche (10+ years old is left out), and next he will be a foreign spy or sex feign.

      Until there is some type of proof to back up the allegations I for one will treat them as political attacks without serious substance.

  • Lynn Bergman

    How about a constitutional amendment to ban public contracts with buyout clauses?

    • Nelly

      Be careful or the Presidents will ome after you!

      • NDConservative2011

        With his private air force at NDSU Bresciani could attack from the air.

        • Lianne

          The House passed 1033 to get rid of the plane, AG’s plane and purchase a couple that are more economical.

    • NDConservative2011

      Your on to something now – great idea.