UNC BOG 101…. “Pre-New Breed”

April02/ 2014

I do enjoy poking around The UNC Board of Governors. The noble concept of that august body incorporates so many of the fascinating incongruities within our representative republic, especially of a socio-political nature. Incongruities reflecting the broad spectrum of human nature. Human nature doesn’t change, ergo much of the derm & strang involving “The UNC BOG” will not be changing within our lifetime

…. but some of it HAS changed. Maybe more will be changing.

All in favor of bureaucracies, committees and meetings please raise your hand. Go ahead. If you have a warm, fuzzy visceral reaction to bureaucracies, committees and meetings, feel free to say so. At least one person please raise your hand.

I see an advantage to a bureaucracy. I prefer Total Gridlock in my government. Government governs best that governs least. Bureaucracies (and 5:00 PM) are the monkey wrenchs that brings the wheels of government to a grinding halt.

Tie something up “in committee” or “table it until next month” are wonderful ploys that bureaucrats employ to avoid actually accomplishing anything. Which to a bureaucrat is his/her raison d’être.

Bureaucrats consider the multi-directional “telephone tree” to be mankind’s greatest invention since Eggo frozen waffles. Get that darned public so frustrated they go-away and we can continue finalizing the agenda for next month’s meeting. Moving right along….

The Late Kindly Ol’ Bill Friday created the UNC Board of Governors in the early 60s. Bill’s intent was to create the illusion that the great unwashed aka “the people” were actually involved in the management of various Universities Of The People of North Carolina. In truth, Bill Friday was Oz The Great & Powerful “behind the curtain” running the show…. exactly how Bill designed it.

The same concept used by those other luvable Oz-types, Lenin and Stalin when creating the Soviet Union. Is an Obama / Alinsky reference needed here? Lets not go there today.

With Kindly Ol’ Bill being universally perceived as “kindly” even before he became “ol’”, the perception of one exceptional and capable visionary at the wheel of the Good Ship UNC System worked really well to a generally disinterested general populace. …. exactly how Bill designed it.

The concept that “Bill Friday would surely live forever” was critical to such an organizational structure. ….. Molly Broad ?? Tom Ross ??? Who Dat?

Bill Friday crafted his image as “the Sara Lee” of university system CEOs. As in “nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee”. UNC’s consolidated systems of state-wide institutions was the first of its kind so Bill Friday was, therefore, the best there ever was at running one of’em.

NOTE: Bill Friday actually WAS as benevolent and capable a system CEO as there was/is likely to ever be. He ruled in a era where political in-fighting was sorta polite. Politicians were still politicians (yuck!) but their arrows had rubber-tips on them versus the poison darts of today. And, of course, “the media” still had everyone fooled about their (lack of) journalistic integrity. We “trusted” Uncle Wally Cronkite…. Thud! Klunk!

Was Bill Friday “perfect”? No, but only St Dean Smith ever approached his perceived imperial perfection. A certain partisan demographic with a decided messianic complex, tends to include both guys in a holy bubble. That demographic is not prevalent throughout the UNC System. Nor shared by this humble cyber-scribe.

Bill Friday was, also, (1) a yellow-dog Democrat and (2) quite a hard-line liberal…. and (3) a career academician. Back in the 60s, those last two qualities were not the mega-nasty labels we know them as today. I’m not saying Bill Friday was the Gene Nichol of his day. No one is THAT bad….. but it was probably best that both Bill Friday and St Dean of Dome Fame are not around to see nasty ol’ Republicans having the primo parking spaces on Jones Street.

Bill woulda bit his tongue and “worked the current General Assembly” as only Kindly Ol’ Bill Friday could, but he would have endured acid reflux on the rides to/from his citadel HQ on Raleigh Road.

In Bill Friday’s hey-day, the GOBs of NC Democs were the warlords of Jones Street. GOB being “Good-Ol-Boys”. They allocated and burned thru tax dollars like permanently drunken sailors on shore leave. That many of’em were often drunk added to that perception.

Ahhhh, those halcyon days of unrestricted lobbying were wild ‘n wooly in Raleigh. And, incredibly profitable for the purveyors of imbibable spirits and loose ladies.

Decades of Basnights and “Boss Hogg” Rand incarnations doled out board appointments faster than one could say “crony” and hand over a sack o’ freshly-minted Benjamins.

The power-drunken Democ warlords worked in concert with Kindly OL’ Bill to give him an appointed board of 32 “concerned citizens” to oversee their universities…. wink, wink, giggle. A board that was given an operational tool-box consisting of a rubber hammer, two thimbles and a piece of string. Bill kept the key to all the power tools.

Bill wrote up the rules and operational structure of the UNC BOG giving the board full power over (1) choice of danish for their coffee breaks and (2) latitude over whether to wear gray or navy suits at the monthly meetings. Beyond that…. Prez Friday would handle all the rest. Thank you very much.

Oh…. have I mentioned that BOG appointees by the power-drunken warlords were coincidentally all Democrats who had, again coincidentally, contributed significant $$$$ to said Democ warlords’ campaign war chests and rainy day funds.

AND….. coincidentally, an incredibly high % of’em were weaned on Carolina Blue Kool-Aid and stood in revered attention whenever Hark The Sound was played. Uh oh!

That collection of documented FACTs about UNC BOG demographics is no secret but resistance was futile. The benevolence (lack of) of Democ warlords has never been questioned. They simply didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about how they, and Bill Friday, were running The UNC System.

An occasional registered (R) would be appointed to The BOG but instructed in no uncertain terms that he/she was there as “a token” and to only speak when spoken to, and that would be seldom if ever.

If an occasional BOG member vented a concern on behalf of any of the seventeen system institutions NOT located in Orange County, he/she was taken aside and told that AFTER “The Flagship” has all the $$$$ it needs to do anything it damn well pleases, IF there is any $$ left…. we’ll let the rest of you beg for table scraps.

The image of an ECU or AppState partisan looking like Oliver Twist asking for “more gruel, please sir” is an apt one….. from those halcyon days.

If a BOG member didn’t like that, the Democ warlord that engineered his/her appointment to the board would be notified and “a talking to would take place”.

An appointment to the UNC Board of Governors has, for 90% of its existence, been viewed as pure political nepotism, patronism, cronyism and all those other ‘isms that give “politics” its well-earned reputation.

The quid was: We need several dozen well-heeled gentry on this silly board to create the illusion that there actually is public input in the System. ….. wink, wink, giggle. …… The quo was: These well-heeled gentry can always use another plaudacious line in their obituary and/or their corporate bio. Something to brag about at “the club” or behind the gates of toney enclaves.

And THAT’S the way it was until the political landscape of North Carolina began to change about six years ago. So long GOB Democs…. Hello New Breed.


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