Friday, December 01, 2006

Comment to make fun of, more on SIU killing the local economy

A comment from this post -

Peter, you're very unrealistic on much of this. You would have to renegotiate strictly worded union contracts to do a lot of the outsourcing you suggest. No way is that going to happen. Also, there are state regulations that cause a great deal of the purchasing to occur as it does (Logan, as a comm college, does not have to follow these laws and has reasonable union contracts-yet another advantage). Other state university communities face the same issues. Yes, some outsourcing could be done and in the long run would be helpful. Btw, there is no way that private landlords would be a better alternative to dorms. One reason why some students chose Edwardsville, paraphrase their comments, "as soon as I walked in the dorm I knew I wanted to go there." Yes, brand new dorms and food services made the difference. We need better dorms to compete, not less. The belated Grand Ave complex is a start.
Can you do anything at SIU or organizations like this in just a year or two? Well no. Can you set a management direction that will eventually improve the place? Well yes. You are right of course, they would have to renegotiate a contract or two, or maybe not, I bet a management change would do most of it. These contracts only last a few years, plan for the change and next time the contract is up make a move. Of course, this would mean that some jobs would be eliminated at SIU, but that would be a good thing. They would have to act responsibly with the taxpayer's money. They would have to spend money effectively and not waste so much. They would have to remove under the table grease and chip away at some administrator's empire, but that would be a good thing.

You know that SIU employees know that everything sucks and most would like to do better. If there were better jobs in the area, I dare say a majority of SIU employees would have gone to work somewhere else given the chance. Like the professors, SIU only gets people who can't find a job somewhere better.

If you don't think that private landlords are better than SIU, you aren't paying attention. Grand Ave apartments will be great (if they ever open, you have checked the prices?), what about the rest of SIU housing? The market is providing the correct housing for the students, but it isn't an instant process. New apartments are being built all over the place as students have become willing to pay for them. Maybe SIU should remove the Freshman dorm requirement and see if enrollment goes up? SIU's dorms suck, as do almost every space that SIU houses students. Let's list them - high rises, Thompson Point, Evergreen Terrace, what is that dump on Wall called and the other dump on Wall they just bought too. They all suck. First you tell me SIU is better than private landlords, then say students are going elsewhere because SIU's dorms suck. Which is it?

If SIU did away with their dorm requirement, you would see competition in that space fairly quickly. SIU is so easy to beat in the open market, even paying property taxes and not having state bonds to borrow with.

Of course, everyone in Illinois has these issues. Illinois is a corrupt state and is on the road to ruin. Every big bureaucracy has issues like this, but few places waste as much, on a percentage basis, as SIU. Good Universities and good organizations are reasonable efficient. Would you give SIU more money if you were a tax payer, knowing they are going to spill about half on the ground because they are to lazy to fix their systems?

You may not like Capitalism, but it is a better system then the kind of Socialist thing that SIU has going on. For that matter Capitalism has been proven to be better then every other system (anyone want to argue about this?). That is what this comment was about, how the SIU/Illinois socialist system is better then capitalism isn't it?

Don't drink the SIU and Illinois state socialist kool-aid, it is possible to do better. It will be just a little hard to start, but everyone will feel so much better after they do. Everything SIU controls instead of outsourcing is done badly and for the benefit of some empire building administrator. If SIU's administration truly was here to serve the students and the public, they wouldn't be having these problems.

Could SIU outsource everything (yes, I mean everything) and spend the same amount of money and get a better result? Well, yes they would. As a matter of fact, it is hard to believe that you could get a worse result then SIU given the budget continues at the same level, year after year after year. As an offer, I'm willing to take any part of SIU's business and do better with the same money.

Thanks for teeing me up. You did better then a link to a local paper.


Anonymous said...

To all:

Here is a link to SIUC's union contracts. What specific changes should be made for greater efficiency?

Here is a link to SIUC's Agility and Efficiency Task Force Report.

Anonymous said...

A great example of how outsourcing to the private sector works is the student center. In the late 90's they moved from SIU provided food to private company meals - like subway and McDonalds. The place picked up business almost overnight.

Later the bookstore became privately run. It was beautifully remodeled and the service improved dramtically.

Anonymous said...

I bet with the money you save from outsourcing you could fund Saluki Way - or at least make it fiscally possible to issue a bond for it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the commenter was telling you that SIU was better than private landlords. I think he was saying that sending freshman off to private landlords could hurt SIUC. Dorms are part of the package that prospective students look at when they decide where to go, and its part of what parents look for to get reassurance that the their son/daughter won't be completely on their own.

Let's say you dropped the freshmen dorm requirement. Fewer people live in the dorms as more of them go to private housing. University housing has less money to spend on maintenance, and the dorms get even worse. The next year, when students come for the campus tour, the poor condition of the dorms helps more students decide not to come to SIU, and enrollment drops.

Peter in Carbondale said...

I think this last comment is very thoughtful and points out the obvious problem at SIU. It has been mismanaged for 20 years or more, so now the problems are huge and hairy. There are no easy answers now.

SIU is still killing local business by bring everything in house. They are grossly inefficient and corrupt.

Turning SIU around isn't for the faint of heart.

Anonymous said...

While I agree keeping freshmen in SIU housing important - both for safety and retention - one could still consider out sourcing the management to a private firm. There is at least one national company that builds and runs housing for colleg students. I do not remember their name, but for awhile there was a proposal for them to build and run student housing south of Pleasent Hill. The deal fell through. I do not remember the details.