Friday, October 30, 2015

Bartleby the Economist!

Our universally acclaimed  Governor has promulgated a budget clawback executive order, which was passed on to us individual OU faculty without any guidance about which parts, if any, apply to us.

What applies is an open question because State appropriations only provide 15-20% of OU's budget, thus limiting what can be clawed back.

The parts that have attracted faculty attention are these bits:

So the question is, do I have to notify the State in writing when I renew my Econometric Society membership?

Or, if another school or organization pays my expenses to come and give a seminar (which I have coming up at least 3 times next semester) do I have to inform the State and get permission from the Governor?

I'm not sure who to blame most, Fallin for the unparseable XO, or the OU administration for just forwarding it to us with no interpretation or guidance.

However, in this matter, as in most other such cases I have encountered along my life's journey, I will practice my usual passive civil disobedience.

Bartleby the Economist!


Simon Spero said...

[Not quite as ridiculous as the asset management tags that UNC attached to all assets which required notifying asset managers by phone "whenever this asset is moved". It took a long time before they stopped using this wording on the tags attached to laptops. ]

According to the XO, the advance notification must be submitted by the Governing board - so it's the administration's job to notify their chain of command.
The wording of the parts requiring approval of membership of any private or public organization seems to include some constitutionally protected rights to freedom of association unless state funds are being used.

I expect that clarification has already been issued.

Worst comes to the worst, they come after you and turn you into the Vaclav Havel of Econometrics. Hundreds of Econometricians marching in support, protest signs held high (most of them criticizing the other signs). A New Model ARMA. Prayers from ARCH bishops.

Simon Spero said...

"What do we want?"
"More data!"
"When do we want it?"

Unknown said...

It seems pretty clear to me that the memo says:

"Effective 9/1/15, advanced written notification must be given [for this list of things] that exceed $10k"

The ES memebership and expenses paid seminars don't cost more than 10k, so you don't need to notify. Maybe it should have said "IF the proposed expense exceeds 10k", or used commas instead of semicolons, but it reads pretty straightforward to me as is.

zbicyclist said...

Thought experiment: Put the entire English faculty in individual soundproof boxes. Have them parse it. Measure their condordance.

ColoComment said...

To be extraordinarily picky about the grammar:

Given the use of semi-colons, these should be treated as separate clauses subordinate to the main clause that begins "Effective." Therefore, the $10k lower limit should apply solely to the "non-emergency" purchases. Note as well that the "wholly paid for by an entity other than the State" applies solely to "non-essential out-of-state travel," and not to all three expense circumstances described. The defined term "proposed expense" in the parenthetical DOES apply to all three, as specified by use of the word "collectively."

It appears to me that membership expense of ANY amount triggers the advance written notification requirement.

Angus said...

ColoComment: that is how I parse the grammar here as well. The semi-colons are crucial!

ColoComment said...

OTOH, in this world of lolz and policy pronouncements written in 140-character twitterese, are we confident that the writer of that POG* even knows the name of that punctuation character, or its grammatical function is in a sentence? That he may have used it consistently is no evidence that he knew what, in fact, he was doing. lolz :-)

*Piece of Guidance.