A plum state job for a budget cutter

Gov. Rick Perry, a career state employee, is something of a hero to the antigovernment Texas Public Policy Foundation because he heeds the TPPF’s advice on axing lesserpaid state workers, including teachers, from the public payroll.

Perry and the TPPF “think tank” are two peas in a pod when it comes to telling lesser mortals how we need to tighten our belts while they slash and burn their way through health care, the public schools and higher education. The University of Texas is among those institutions cutting experienced faculty while watching financial aid for deserving students dry up.

But the UT Board of Regents, all Perry appointees, managed to find $200,000 a year to hire a “special adviser,” a guy named Rick O’Donnell, who used to be a senior fellow for none other than the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the very same tinygovernmentisgoodgovernment TPPF.

A school district could have used that $200,000 to save four teachers’ jobs, and everyone (except O’Donnell) would have been better off.

According to recent stories in The Texas Tribune, O’Donnell apparently was hired to meddle with UT’s research initiatives. He thinks research isn’t good for the teaching environment.

Both the Tribune and the San Antonio ExpressNews/Houston Chronicle had stories today, reporting how some key legislators, both Republican and Democrat, are questioning what is going on and expressing fear that O’Donnell’s views on higher education research run counter to legislative policy.

His hiring and salary run counter to the budgetary emergency.

-From The Texas Tribune and Mysanantonio.com


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