Despite criticism, Rogers says he wants to work with Gibbons
Chancellor Jim Rogers was unapologetic Tuesday about his sharp criticism of Gov. Jim Gibbons in Sunday’s Nevada Appeal.
But he said prolonging the battle is unproductive and that the two sides need to get to work fixing the deep cuts to the university system budgets.
The Gibbons budget plan would chop state funding to the system by 36 percent, which college officials say would mean either closing down all community colleges or one of the main universities.
In that opinion piece, Rogers said Gibbons “has absolutely no regard for the welfare of any other human being.”
He said the governor’s no-new-taxes mantra shows “a total lack of understanding of the purpose of government.”
“He is simply a greedy, uninterested, unengaged human being whose only, and I mean only, goal is to see what Gibbons can do for himself and his greedy friends.”
“I meant every word that I said,” Rogers said Tuesday.
The assault, the strongest yet in an 18-month battle between the two, drew a sharp protest from Gibbons who, in a letter to the Board of Regents, said he no longer wants to deal directly with Rogers.
In that letter to Board Chairman Michael Wixom and Vice Chairman Jason Geddes, he described Rogers’ statements as “vile and insulting.”
Rogers said that’s fine if the governor wishes to deal with others in the system.
“The truth of the matter is I’ve never dealt with the governor,” he said. “I’ve had one or two phone calls, one or two meetings that lasted a half hour or so. They weren’t very productive.”
“I’m more than willing to provide him any access he wants to my staff if he doesn’t want to talk with me,” said Rogers.
He said nearly all of the discussions over the budget thus far have been between staff, without Gibbons in attendance. He said the system’s arguments have been led by Executive Vice Chancellor Dan Klaich ” most often meeting with the governor’s chief of staff and Budget Director Andrew Clinger.
“We need to be dealing honestly with each other,” he said. “It’s unfair to the public.”
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.