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It is a well-established fact that one of the most important factors in the establishment of the current Washington administrative jungle has been the great liberal rabbit-like expansion of bureaucracy.
That sort of thinking, first made famous by such think-tankers as Robert McNamara, is very much in evidence in the new Governance Committee report, "The Organization and Functions of the Governing Boards and the President's Office."
The 65-page report, in addressing itself to what it calls the "overburdened" condition of the Administration, recommends the augmentation of the President's staff to include six Vice Presidents. At present there is only one Vice President, L. Gard Wiggins, who will retire in July.
Under the proposed plan, Vice Presidents would be in charge of such areas as finance, development or fund-raising, external affairs, and administrative operations. There is also mention of an Executive Vice President for Education, who, it is suggested, would be able to speak for the President on matters of educational policy both inside and outside the University. He would serve as a liaison between the President and the Deans and act as the President in his absence.
Of course all of this is subject to the approval of President Bok who will make the final decision sometime this summer. Bok indicated last night that he intends to use the report as a strong guideline, though by no means the final one." "I am taking into account a number of viewpoints in establishing the framework of my office." he said.
Although Bok also mentioned that he intends to view his new assistants as cabinet members or advisors, some Administration-watchers have pointed out that the proposed assistants could pose a threat to the authority of the President's office. In addition, the word used most frequently in connection with the proposals is "communication," and as anyone close to the world of academic politics knows, such communications can break down in an instant.
The report also indicates that a much greater emphasis should be put on public relations activities in the University. The actual existence of these governance reports, the recent expansion of the Gazette, and an increasingly "slick" packaging of administrative decisions are the first indications of such a policy.
While it is highly unlikely that the University will make a White House like attempt to sell itself, the report does pave the way for a President who, freed from daily work-a-daddy decision making, will be increasingly available for public contact. It is useful once again to remember that Bok has been compared many times to Yale's Kingman Brewster.
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