NC Policy Watch raises a whole bunch of eyebrows this morning with its dead-on assessment of the UNC Board of Governors and their propensity for questionable judgment. The way I see it, there's no more than a handful of Rich White Guys for Bidness and Industry running the show here in North Carolina these days. Basnight, Black, Easley and Pope are the first tier. Then there's a back-bench club of also-rans, of which tobacco lobbyist Jim Phillips is apparently a member.
It is not surprising that lobbyists are on the Board, considering how Board members are chosen. They are elected by the General Assembly. People who want to serve in effect lobby legislators for support. Who better at that than people paid to lobby for a living?
The problem is that it’s hard sometimes for legislators and the public to know who the Board member lobbyist is speaking for and we shouldn’t have to wonder. There are plenty of ways for dedicated supporters to help the university system. And surely there are people qualified to serve on and lead the Board of Governors who are not also paid to influence state lawmakers on behalf of other clients.