Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2012

Part-time driver hired for KU’s chancellor

August 30, 2012


In the hopes of freeing up more work time for Kansas University’s leader, KU has hired a part-time driver for Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to take her to and from some out-of-town appointments.

The university hired Robin Moore, a retired Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy with 32 years of law enforcement experience, to serve as her driver, said Mary Burg, executive assistant to the chancellor.

He will make $20 per hour start Sept. 10, and will serve on an as-needed basis. Burg said the university said the times the chancellor would need a driver could vary widely, but the university was preliminarily estimating that he would work 15 hours per week.

“We’re trying this out. We’ve never done this before, so we don’t know how many hours this will end up being,” she said.

The driver will be primarily for trips to and from Kansas City, where the chancellor spends at least one day each week at KU Medical Center.

This week, however, Burg said Gray-Little has spent more time in Kansas City interviewing executive vice chancellor candidates for KUMC.

The chancellor will still drive herself to and from all appointments in Lawrence.

Not all trips to Kansas City will require a driver, and he will be used primarily when the chancellor has more than one appointment in a day, said Jack Martin, a KU spokesman.

Regent Ed McKechnie, of Arcadia, said regents have been working with university CEOs on time-management strategies that can help them be more productive.

With KUMC and KU’s Edwards Campus in the Kansas City area, he said, the regents suggested Gray-Little hire a driver so she could work while in the car.

“We’re not paying (the chancellor) to circle the block 20 times looking for a parking spot,” he said.

He said regents do encourage Kansas State President Kirk Schulz and Fort Hays State President Ed Hammond to make use of university aircraft to cut down on travel time, though neither has a driver.

KU’s chancellor has been working long hours since taking the job in 2009, he said.

“I think the chancellor inherited more opportunities for improvement than Kirk Schulz inherited,” McKechnie said.

Officials at KU’s regional peers in the Association of American Universities — the University of Iowa, the University of Missouri and Iowa State University — all said that they do not employ drivers for their university leaders.

But Martin said Gray-Little had heard from peers at the University of Texas-Austin and the University of Virginia who did use drivers.

A UT spokesman said an employee of the president’s office had job duties that included, but were not limited to, driving the president to some meetings and events.

Burg said the university hired Moore without posting the job, something that the university’s human resources department allows, she said.

She said the university was looking for a person with a certain maturity level, someone that the university felt comfortable overhearing confidential conversations and someone with law enforcement experience.

For some trips to the airport in Kansas City, KU had been hiring a car service for the chancellor at $100 per hour.

“At least for the airport travel, that’s going to save some money,” Burg said.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 1 month ago

All well and good but $20/hr for a driver? Jez... I guess money does grow on trees at KU.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

Yea, I'd bet they could get some pizza delivery kid to do it for minimum wage.

MartyT 4 years, 1 month ago

I made c $15-$20/hr at Pizza Shuttle, and that was the late '90s.

$20/hr is a really bad wage for someone with that much professional experience....

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 1 month ago

How much freekin skill does it take to drive a car? It is an entry level job at best...jez...

DillonBarnes 4 years, 1 month ago

No, it's not an entry level position. When you spend a lot of time and money searching for a position like Chancellor, you want to protect that investment. Hiring someone off the street and paying them $7.50 for this position will probably not get you someone who has the experience necessary to be a professional driver. I can bet you that $20/hour is much lower than many other professional drivers make.

This is a pretty common sense hire and should save the University money in the long run.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 1 month ago

Will the Deputy be in full uniform with a sidearm? This sounds a lot more about security for the Chancellor than efficiency. Why not an unarmed Professional Chauffeur? They must have their reasons.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 1 month ago

Will the Deputy be in full uniform with a sidearm? This sounds a lot more about security for the Chancellor than efficiency. Why not an unarmed Professional Chauffeur? They must have their reasons. What happened to VIP Parking places? Circling the block 20 times looking for a parking place sounds a little far fetched to me.

kernal 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't recall seeing a VIP parking space at a major hospital since handicapped parking spaces were mandated.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 1 month ago

This site is acting up. It posted what I tried to edit twice. I flagged the shorter post for removal.

hip_gma 4 years, 1 month ago

I think this is a great idea! The driver can focus on the driving and the chancellor can focus on her work and not have to deal with the traffic or crazy drivers.

budwhysir 4 years, 1 month ago

the article says they dont want her driving around for an hour looking for a parking spot??? in KC at KU Med???? There is a parking garage and the staff has its own parking area that is reserved... doesnt she have her own parking spot?

budwhysir 4 years, 1 month ago

There goes this years tuition hike...

Silent_Dave 4 years, 1 month ago

“We’re not paying (the chancellor) to circle the block 20 times looking for a parking spot." Isn't she like 80? She should have a handicap placard.

hedshrinker 4 years, 1 month ago

apparently 55 or so looks like 80 to you, and even if she was 80, that wouldn't automatically make her handicapped...I know several 80 year olds that can walk and especially do stairs better than I can (I who am closer to Chancellor's REAL age).....wake up and pay attention, Dave.

ironhead80 4 years, 1 month ago

Like I said in a previous reply! hedshrinker should apply, seems like he likes the word hedshrinker, for some apparent reason??

classclown 4 years, 1 month ago

Frankly I think they're starting the process of taking the old gals' keys away. Easing her into it. "We'll just have him drive you long distances on the highway." Then soon it will be a good idea to have him drive her around town as well.

Next thing you know they'll say she can't drive anymore and will pay to have a chauffeur drive her everywhere whether she is on company time or private time.

classclown 4 years, 1 month ago

And of course that will set a precedent. Every chancellor in the future will be entitled to a personal chauffeur during his/her tenure there. And probably in retirement as well.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

If previous chancellors had spent one or more days a week at KU Med, maybe KU Med would not have experienced its recent turmoil.

classclown 4 years, 1 month ago


Let's not call him a "driver" ... I prefer "Coachman".

August 31, 2012 at 10:19 a.m


I thought a coachman was the guy that hung on for dear life on the back of the coach and then would open the door and put the steps in place for the riders to enter/exit the coach.

Mike Hatch 4 years, 1 month ago

Will he carry her to the Piggly Wiggly?

Kidding aside, sounds like a good idea to me. Makes sense.

rumor_man 4 years, 1 month ago

This is the "pc" way of saying she has gotten behind the wheel one too many times after drinking too much at fundraisers.

irvan moore 4 years, 1 month ago

robin is a good guy and i think he's a bargin at $20. per hour, would assume he has driving skills and a carry permit

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 1 month ago

Deputy's Character was never in question. Retired after 32 years service speaks volumes.Excellent Officer of the Law no doubt.Just seems like overkill for a "Driver".

JackMcKee 4 years, 1 month ago

Seriously? What a time to be in Lawrence, KS. Worst City Commission ever. Worst Governor ever. And worst chancellor ever. Anyone remember when the Big 12 was imploding and Bernadette was pleading with Nebraska and Colorado to stay in the Big 12, then she just sat around with a deer in the headlights look and sent Bill Self out to do her job? God that woman is a mess.

1southernjayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Jack, you are just a real positive guy. You must be a pleasure to be around.

JackMcKee 4 years, 1 month ago

Brownstain. Cramwell. Do-Little. What do all three of these people have in common?

Eddie_Haskell 4 years, 1 month ago

No. I did not like that Driving Miss Daisy movie.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

The chancellor is responsible for academics, the KU Med Center complex, and athletics. (Athletics and KU Med could have used more scrutiny in the past.) She has a lot on her plate and should have a driver.

Liberty275 4 years, 1 month ago

OK. Charge me an extra penny next year if it will protect her and allow her to work more efficiently.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Good for KU for creating a job!

$20 per hour isn't really a lot of money. Not in this century. That would be about $37,000 - $40,000 a year. Will that buy a home anywhere in Lawrence,Kansas? = likely not.

Would that support a family in Lawrence,Kansas? barely to not any longer.

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