A state senator suggests Nevada Chancellor Jim Rogers should be cautious when spending public money, after
taxpayers footed the bill to send copies of Rogers' State of the
System speech to business, community and political leaders.
But Rogers and others counter that the benefits to the state's
higher education system far exceed the $2,697 public expense.
One thousand copies of Rogers' speech, along with a DVD of his
televised address, were mailed out this month.
Rogers, owner of Las Vegas-based Sunbelt Communications Co.,
paid $2,000 out of his own pocket for the DVDs. The Nevada System
of Higher Education paid the $1,980 cost for postage and $717 to
print the speech, said John Kuhlman, the system's spokesman.
"We, as legislators, have to be careful about how we use
legislative stationery or postage," said state Sen. Maurice
Washington. The Sparks Republican is chairman of the Senate Human
Resources and Education Committee.
"We can't use it for campaign contributions, so I think there
has do be some discretion on both our parts as public servants
about how we use public funds," he said.
Rogers and others defended the expense.
Nevada's higher education system will benefit, Rogers said,
"because we will get our message out to major business people in
the community who don't watch a lot of TV but now will have the
chance to look at this, digest it, think about it and see if
there's merit in what I was talking about."
Bret Whipple, chairman of Nevada's Board of Regents, said Rogers
has attracted a lot of money to higher education because of his
He also noted that as a multimillionaire and philanthropist,
Rogers refused to accept more pay as chancellor than the federally
mandated minimum annual salary of $8,000, which he donates to
A comparable chancellor could have commanded $300,000 in salary
and perks, he said.
"Our budget will be over a billion dollars in the upcoming
biennium, and paying $2,000 to get the message out that we have to
work together for the good of our students is well worth it,"