Lawmaker Critical of Regents' Tahoe Meeting

University of Nevada, Reno
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The Board of Regents spent $4,000 to hold an overnight workshop at Lake Tahoe last week, and one lawmaker said the expenditure shows"poor timing and judgment"in light of the state's budget crunch.

The 13 regents, who oversee Nevada's higher education system, stayed Thursday at the Cal-Neva Resort, Spa and Casino at Crystal Bay to discuss their duties and goals. The workshop followed the board's regular meeting in Reno.

"We felt that was an ideal location to do this,"regents'Chair Doug Seastrand told the Reno Gazette-Journal."The cost was a factor, which is why we planned the workshop to be held after the board meeting so we didn't have travel expenses."

The $4,000 included the cost of hotel rooms, meals, a meeting room and equipment, a board staff member said.

Assemblyman Jason Geddes, R-Reno, said he understands the value of the workshop, but questioned why regents couldn't find a less expensive site.

"I just think they could hold it at a cheaper location this year and demonstrate prudence,"said Geddes, a member of the Assembly Education Committee.

"I don't think it will help their cause when the other legislators learn about this while there's a big push to reopen the budget and look at the funding, including for the university system,"Geddes added.

Lawmakers will meet Wednesday for their second special session since the regular 2003 session ended June 2. They will consider an $860 million tax package needed to balance Nevada's record $5 billion state budget.

Assemblyman Wendell Williams, chairman of the education committee, said rather than criticize its cost, he will be interested to see what regents accomplish after the workshop.

"In all fairness to the regents, I think we'll have to determine that after the meeting and ask what they felt they got out of this,"the Las Vegas Democrat said.

"We'll have to see what the long-term benefits are. I'll be interested to find out the results,"Williams said.