« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

TJ Jerke, Forum News Service, Published February 27 2013

ND Senate reverses course, votes to include funds for buyout of higher ed chancellor

BISMARCK - North Dakota state senators this morning reversed a vote from the previous day and approved funding to the University System’s budget to allow the State Board of Higher Education to buy out Chancellor Hamid Shirvani’s remaining contract.

The amendment to include $854,520 for the buyout was adopted by a 28-19 vote.

The system’s budget, Senate Bill 2003, which was approved Tuesday, was reconsidered by a majority vote of the members this morning. It passed 36-11, with the amendment.

After a bill is passed, it sits at the front desk of the Senate until the end of the following day in case lawmakers want to reconsider their vote. If the bill is reconsidered more than two days after the original vote, it takes a two-thirds vote to reconsider the bill.

Tuesday, the buyout amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo, failed by a single vote in the Senate. The Senate later passed the University System budget without the amendment.

After Tuesday’s failed amendment vote, Grindberg and Sen. Karen Krebsbach, R-Minot, noticed, “a lot of consternation,” among some senators who voted against it, Krebsbach said.

Grindberg and Krebsbach spoke to those senators to make sure they had the votes to pass the amendment on a second vote.

“We can’t afford to see the system torn down,” Krebsbach said, referring to Shirvani’s leadership style. “There is fear, intimidation, things that should not be happening in the state of North Dakota.”

Shirvani has been a controversial figure since taking over as the leader of North Dakota’s 11 public colleges and universities, drawing criticism from some state lawmakers and college students.

The State Board of Higher Education, which hired Shirvani last year, has remained supportive of the chancellor.

Tuesday’s vote on the amendment was a verification vote, which means votes are submitted electronically but not recorded. The second vote was a roll-call vote. Here is how the senators voted:

Yeas: Howard Anderson, R-Turtle Lake; Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson; Tyler Axness, D-Fargo; Randall Burckhard, R-Minot; Tom Campbell, R-Grafton; Ron Carlisle, R-Bismarck; Dwight Cook, R-Mandan; Dick Dever, R-Bismarck; Jim Dotzenrod, D-Wyndmere; Robert Erbele, R-Lehr; Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo; Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo; David Hogue, R-Minot; Karen Krebsbach, R-Minot; Judy Lee, R-West Fargo; Larry Luick, R-Fairmount; Stan Lyson, R-Williston; Richard Marcellais, D-Belcourt; Carolyn Nelson, D-Fargo; David O’Connell, D-Lansford; Dave Oehlke, R-Devils Lake; Nicole Poolman, R-Bismarck; Donald Schaible, R-Mott; Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks; George Sinner, D-Fargo; Ronald Sorvaag, R-Fargo; Connie Triplett, D-Grand Forks; Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson.

Nays: John Andrist, R-Crosby; Spencer Berry, R-Fargo; Bill Bowman, R-Bowman; John Grabinger, D-Jamestown; Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford ; Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks; Ralph Kilzer, R-Bismarck; Jerry Klein, R-Fessenden; Lonnie Laffen, R-Grand Forks; Oley Larsen, R-Minot; Gary Lee, R-Casselton; Tim Mathern, D-Fargo; Joe Miller, R-Park River; Phil Murphy, D-Portland; Larry Robinson, D-Valley City; Margaret Sitte, R-Bismarck; Jessica Unruh, R-Beulah; Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown; John Warner, D-Ryder.