U presidents and privatizing public dollars

So many dust-ups in the education business seem to be about an employee’s level of dedication to the public interest since their wages are paid by public dollars. The strongest union in the state of Minnesota protects school teachers from being asked too much from the public.

Now it is the president of the University of Minnesota, Joan Gabel, who has been forced to forgo a lucrative board position:

Even though Gabel has a five-year contract with the UMN, which is a private agreement for wages in return for labor, she does not own the cloat necessary to pick up a cool $130K as a board member. That influence still is in the hands of the public. And the public said no to the side gig.

It happens the other way around too. Teachers find themselves working amongst the public when they teach in front of the classroom. Their position is a private contract that gives clear instructions on what is to be taught in the curriculum. Yet some teachers cross all sorts of lines working in personal views on history, the family, or gender.

The point of all this is that there is not one clear-cut private transaction and one clear-cut public transaction. The private incentives among public employees work in the same way as in the private market. People are always juggling a mix of both personal reward and dedication to groups of interests.

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