[QUOTE][B]UNC-CH Chancellor James Moeser and other high-ranking officials also used the plane to travel to sports events 15 times in 2006, records obtained by the legislature’s fiscal research division show.[/B][/QUOTE]
[QUOTE]A House committee asked how UNC used state-subsidized aircraft in 2006. Part of a list provided by the system:
- March 17, Raleigh to Dayton, Ohio: Chancellor attending NCAA basketball championship
- June 26-27, Raleigh to Omaha, Neb.: Chancellor and athletic director attending College Baseball World Series/development appointments.
- Sept. 12-13, Raleigh to Tallahassee, Fla.: Chancellor attending ACC meeting.
- Nov. 22, Raleigh to Teterboro, N.J.: Chancellor attending NIT basketball.[/QUOTE]
[B]Price may increase for flying to games
[I]By Mark Binker, Staff Writer
Greensboro News & Record
May 7, 2007[/I][/B]
RALEIGH — House budget writers want to make it more expensive for state officials to travel to athletics events on state aircraft, a provision apparently aimed at UNC-Chapel Hill’s use of two state airplanes.
The Commerce Department owns two planes based in Raleigh. They are used by a variety of state officials, ranging from the governor and state treasurer to business recruiters.
University officials have also used the aircraft, often to fly to meetings with members of Congress, officials from other universities and visits with major donors.
UNC-CH Chancellor James Moeser and other high-ranking officials also used the plane to travel to sports events 15 times in 2006, records obtained by the legislature’s fiscal research division show.
An entry on March 17 reads “Chancellor attending NCAA Basketball Championships.”
Use of the state aircraft is “a time-management issue,” a university spokesman said.
“The chancellor is expected to attend and represent the University at major athletic events, which provide opportunities to meet with donors and friends of the university,” UNC Chapel Hill spokesman Mike McFarland wrote in an e-mail.
McFarland says the chancellor also travels by commercial airplane and on one of the university’s medical planes depending on schedules and where he has to go.
During a phone call, McFarland referred to his e-mail regarding the chancellor’s travel.
Several members of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on Natural and Economic Resources said they did not remember the specific discussion that led to them addressing travel to athletic events.
However, the House Natural and Economic Resources subcommittee just voted in favor of a measure that would make it more expensive for any state official — including those in the university system — to travel to any sporting event.
“I think it should probably be up to the booster clubs to send the chancellors,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat who is a vice chairwoman of the subcommittee.
Harrison has been lobbying for a measure that would repeal a tuition break that booster clubs get when they fund athletics scholarships. Even if the athlete in question lives out of state, the booster club only has to pay in-state tuition rates. That measure, passed during the 2005-06 legislative session, provides the greatest benefits to Chapel Hill and N.C. State.
“I think the Rams Club can use all that money they’re saving on in-state tuition to help get the chancellor to the games,” Harrison said.
When state officials travel on the planes, their agencies have to reimburse the Commerce Department. However, even under new higher rates the committee plans to establish, agencies pay less than the cost of operating the plane.
For example, it costs the state $1,200 an hour to operate a Citation C550. State agencies pay only $770 for its use.
But UNC — or any state official — would have to pay the full cost of operating the aircraft if it “is used to attend athletic events or for any other purpose related to collegiate athletics” under the language given tentative approval in the House budget package.
In the scheme of the state’s $20 billion budget, the use of state airplanes is a small matter. The state expects to save $100,000 in tax money with tweaks to aircraft reimbursement rates, including the new athletics travel provision.