Morgan opts Regents out of Haslam outsourcing

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan has removed, at least temporarily, the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology from Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan for the massive privatization of the management and operation of virtually all state-owned buildings, including college campuses.

Further from the Richard Locker report:

And given the governor’s new plan to remove all six TBR state universities from the Board of Regents’ control and create their own governing boards, Morgan is also asking that the governor’s team running the outsourcing initiative work directly with the six universities determine if it’s in their bests interests to participate.

The chancellor presented the Haslam administration with a broad list of concerns about the outsourcing plan in a letter… including unforeseen costs and protecting existing college and university employees whose jobs would be outsourced to private building management companies.

(Note: Text of letter HERE.)

The governor said repeatedly last year when the outsourcing plan became public that state colleges and universities would be able to “opt out” of the plan and retain control over their campuses and buildings. But it’s unclear what impact Morgan’s decision, announced last Thursday, to retire effective Jan. 31 — a year earlier than he had planned — will have on the institutions’ ability to opt out. Morgan made it clear that he is resigning early in protest of the governor’s plan to break up the Board of Regents system, which the chancellor called “unworkable.”

Nevertheless, his letter said TBR’s community colleges and TCATs “will opt out of the FMO (facilities management outsourcing) process at this time.”

He said existing staff must adapt to the possibility of the new higher education governance system and that continuing in the process “represents a risk to progress being made in a number of other initiatives” by the Board of Regents focused on student success and efficiency.

The outsourcing letter, dated Jan. 6, was planned before his resignation decision. The letter is an attempt to summarize points discussed in meetings in December among top TRB staff and the governor’s office, represented by Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin and the governor’s chief operating officer, Greg Adams.