Lone Beasley Publisher
Ada Evening News
Oklahoma City —
We applaud Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto of House Bill 1227 that would have made Ardmore Higher Education Center a branch campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. If nothing else it demonstrates her to be a Harry S. Truman-like “the buck stops here” chief executive officer.
Chief executive officers are supposed to look at all sides of issues and make tough and unpopular decisions even when their supporting cast is clamoring for them to do otherwise. In this case, the majority of votes from representatives in Fallin’s own party were touting the party line, and refusing to be swayed by the facts.
The facts are these: In 2007 the Ardmore center’s board of directors accepted a proposal by East Central University to fall under the auspices of ECU’s educational umbrella. Oklahoma legislators later decided sufficient funding was not available for the plan to proceed. Funding is even less available in 2011. A transitioning of this sort inevitably takes more, not less money and with a limited supply of money to go around, HB1227 makes even less sense than it did four years ago.
This plan was set in motion secretly in a lawmaking body that had put Oklahoma residents on notice that it intended to be the high and holy standard bearer for an open and transparent political process. The reality was that Ada area legislative representatives could barely get a foot in the door of the backrooms where HB1227 was being hatched.
In the end, it was Gov. Fallin’s big picture view as Oklahoma’s CEO that won the day. In a press release the governor said, “...the people of Oklahoma will most likely be asked to foot the bill for this project. With no estimates on what that might cost...and with the state still struggling to find its way out of a $500 million budget shortfall, I do not believe it would be appropriate to proceed.”
In other words, “The buck stops here.” Harry Truman would unquestionably approve.
— Loné Beasley