The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia a.k.a. “THE UNTOUCHABLES”


Editor’s note. After I published my article called Retired Middle Georgia State President David Bell Paid $347,300 in 2014 I received the following statement by Denise Caldon who was the whistleblower that claims she was fired after she refused to falsify any more medical leave reports. This is her statement. 

E. Denise Caldon SorknessBy Denise Caldon

When I attended a USG educational forum a few years ago, and mentioned the serious issues within the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the Host’s immediate response was, “Oh, you mean “The Untouchables!” 

After fifteen years of working in the Office of the President at Middle Georgia State University (formerly Macon State College), I have been encouraged to write a book on the malfeasance – fiscal, criminal and ethical – I, and many of my former colleagues, witnessed firsthand.

One of my many sources within the Board of Regents (BOR) told me the reason former President David Bell received over $300,000 two years after he retired  is because this is a part of the BOR’s “90/60” unwritten policy not made known to Georgia taxpayers.  The source went on to say, “When a USG president retires, he/she is given “90%” of their presidential salary for two years following their retirement, and “60%” of their presidential salary for an indefinite time, thereafter.  Retired USG presidents and administrators are commonly re-hired as “consultants” or simply asked to teach a part-time class to justify their egregious salaries.”

David Bell

David Bell

My source further stated the reason the BOR never addressed the fact they had allowed former President David Bell to stay in office under the circumstances – well documented and sealed – was their fear of the “PR ramifications” and their fear of “losing their own jobs for having not taken appropriate steps.”

Note: Bell’s practice of arriving late to his office, closing the door and sleeping was routine.  When I tried to schedule an appointment with the President following a student’s request, Bell’s repeated response to me and my secretary was, “If they are not the child of a donor or legislator, I am not interested.  Send them to Student Affairs.”  In Bell’s eleven years of office at Macon State College, he allowed me to schedule less than five student appointments – and only because they were required for his annual evaluations.

USG presidents are allowed to pick their own evaluators!

When a Student Presidential Appeal was submitted to President Bell, he would not even bother to read it.  When I mentioned the Student’s Presidential Appeals process states their appeals would be “reviewed by the President,” Bell laughed and said, “I just sign what they send me from downstairs.”

Bell perjured himself about these facts, and more, in his Deposition, still kept sealed from public view by our “open government advocate” Attorney General Sam Olens, the BOR’s attorney.

The fact Applications for Review (Appeals) submitted to the BOR by USG faculty, staff, and students statewide are, in fact, also never read by the BOR’s Organization and Law Committee – contrary to what they are made to believe and confirmed in the Deposition of Regent Doreen Stiles Poitevint – is another example of the malfeasance which will be brought, again, to the attention of our elected officials in the next Legislative Session.   

Chancellor Hank Huckaby continues to try and justify the recent egregious presidential salary raises and tuition hikes.  Here are the top 3 highest compensated USG presidents for the upcoming fiscal year:  Bud Peterson, Georgia Tech, $1.09 million ; Mark Becker, Georgia State, $1.07 million ; and  Jere Morehead, UGA$811,353

Dr. Gary Kline, a professor of political science at Georgia Southwestern State University, responded in his recent letter to the Board of Regents, the chancellor and the campus presidents, in part, with:

 “Apparently, the Board of Regents and the Chancellor have no awareness of the deleterious effects that years of salary stagnation have had on the morale of USG faculty and staff. Apparently, too, you have no sense of fundamental fairness. Do the right thing – for the state, for the students, and for all of the USG personnel.”

Our Georgia Constitution has allowed the “Fox (BOR) to guard the hen house (tax dollars)” for far too many years!

Article VIII, Section IV, Paragraph I Board of Regents

The only way to stop this “run-away” train carrying hard-earned tax dollars allocated for education to the personal bank accounts of USG presidents and administrators, while depleting the bank accounts of students and their parents with higher tuition and student fees, is to have the voices of USG faculty, staff, students and Georgia families heard.

We encourage Georgians to call their elected officials and request the introduction of a new Bill to bring back accountability by our state’s higher education officials.   Demand answers from your elected officials. Do not accept any more rhetoric that has become the norm and acceptable.

The fact the Georgia Constitution allows the Board of Regents of the USG “exclusive authority” to do what they want, and be accountable to no one – not even the Senate and House Higher Education Committees or the Appropriations Committee – is reason enough for a Bill to be introduced.

It is the bank accounts of hard-working Georgians and USG faculty, staff and students the Board of Regents are depleting which has allowed USG presidents and administrators to laugh all the way to their banks for years….and their second home in St. Simons, like retired former President David Bell does with his $347,300 salary from 2014!

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”          – Martin Luther King Jr. 

The Untouchables aka the Georgia Board of Regents

The Untouchables aka the Georgia Board of Regents