You would have had to have been under a rock, or just busy trying to work and make a living to have missed the news that has sent tremors through Oxford and the School up North.
The Mississippi college board, known as the Mississippi Institutions for Higher Learning (IHL) has erupted in psuedo-scandal when the decision was made to not renew Dan Jones’ contract to be the continuing Chancellor of Ole Miss, and thereby overseer of the Medical School.
The brouhaha centers around his management of contracts that relate to UMMC and his lack of getting IHL approval of certain contracts. It seems that personality conflicts have as much to do with the issues as it relates to “sloppy” contract oversight.
What seems undisputed is that no tax payer dollars were misappropriated and there was no self or backdoor dealings .
Conspiracy theories abound as to “Why?” Do Hank Bounds and Dan Jones hate each other? Did Governor Phil Bryant want him out? Is Haley Barbour behind the scenes pulling strings? The so-far-unanswered question is what is the real story. Contract issues? Political favors? Or, is it the Gamma Knife?
The Gamma Knife is a $5 Million Dollar, stereotactic radiosurgical instrument that shoots 192 beams of cobalt-60 radiation, with pinpoint precision at brain tumors. The med school bought one a few years back. It turns out the space allotted for the Gamma Knife is not appropriate. Essentially it will not fit through the door and the floor is not strong enough to support its weight. So the Gamma Knife has been in the broom closet for 2 years. But, that’s not the whole story. The Gamma Knife has also been the subject of litigation. Another competitor with a Gamma Knife said that UMMC needed a Certificate of Need to get one and so they should be prohibited from using it. This resulted in litigation which led to the Gamma Knife being sheathed, pending the litigation. Ultimately, UMMC prevailed.
So what is the solution? Regardless of the motives, the IHL’s own admission is that Dan Jones did not misappropriate any monies. The mistakes were due to the mountains of contracts and the inefficiency of the school’s systems and procedures to manage those contracts at the time. All of which are fixed. The Solution is for the IHL board to say it acted in haste, acting upon the best information available at the time and that upon further investigation that Mississippi is best served by Dan Jones carrying on. Dan Jones needs to take some heat for past inefficient handling of contracts and a promise to do right in the future.
Can this be done? Who knows? Are politics at play or is this really about contracts and following the rules? Why do you care? We care because “Did MS oust a good leader over politics?” Or is the IHL being the “watchdog” they portend to be?
Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Attorney and usually sticks to article about Family Law, but when given the opportunity to write about Gamma Knives, always takes a cut at it. Watch Out! Or, Dan Jones might cut you with his Gamma Knife.
You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@BowTieLawyer.MS