Gibbons, Rogers at odds over opinion column |

Gibbons, Rogers at odds over opinion column

Associated Press Writer

Chancellor Jim Rogers’ criticism of Gov. Jim Gibbons over higher education funding escalated over the weekend, prompting the governor on Monday to say he won’t deal with Rogers any more and will discuss budget issues with a liaison instead.

At the same time, Gibbons released a letter from two regents of the state’s university and college system saying they appreciate Rogers’ “enthusiastic and zealous advocacy for higher education” but don’t endorse what he said in a weekend commentary published in the Nevada Appeal.

In the op-ed piece, Rogers said Gibbons’ repeated statements that he will support no new taxes “represent a total lack of understanding of the purpose of government” and indicate he’s more of a libertarian than a conservative Republican.

Rogers said his own view is that Gibbons 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.”

“The man has absolutely no regard for the welfare of any other human being,” Rogers said in the commentary.

Gibbons responded Monday with a letter to the regents saying he met with Rogers and others last week to discuss how federal stimulus funds could help cover higher education costs and thought that meeting was “extremely productive.”

The governor added he was “extremely surprised and disappointed” to see Rogers’ op-ed article, which included statements that were “vile and insulting” and “bizarre and inaccurate.”

Gibbons said he feels direct dialogue with Rogers will no longer be productive and asked for a liaison from the university-college system who can work “in a professional and courteous manner, so that valuable time is spent solving problems instead of engaging in personal attacks.”

Rogers’ criticism “in no way advances the dialogue that we need to have in order to find solutions to the real problems Nevada is facing,” Gibbons said.

The letter that Gibbons got Monday from Regents Chairman Michael Wixom and Vice Chairman Jason Geddes said the regents didn’t endorse what Rogers said and didn’t review his comments before they were printed.

Wixom and Geddes also said they’re committed to “keeping our public discourse civil and constructive in substance and tone.”

The governor’s proposed budget for the higher education system proposed major spending reductions, including cuts of about 50 percent for the two state universities in Reno and Las Vegas.