Executive Vice President

Trent England serves as Executive Vice President at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he also directs the Center for the Constitution & Freedom and the Save Our States project.

Executive Vice President

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Another University of Oklahoma vice president is out, a few weeks after new President Jim Gallogly removed six other senior administrators. Jabar Shumate, a former state legislator (and, to his great credit, a supporter of educational choice), resigned rather than be fired after the results of an internal audit suggested he routinely misused a state vehicle.

Then-President David Boren hired Shumate as Vice President for University Community in 2015. Creating the position and hiring Shumate was part of a successful strategy to end the outcry over a racist chant by members of a fraternity that was recorded on video. One of Shumate’s first acts was to impose mandatory “diversity training” for all OU freshmen. 

Creating a new management position and hiring a former politician was also part of a larger strategy employed by state university and college presidents.

As OCPA has documented, Oklahoma’s universities and colleges routinely hire former politicians—particularly legislators—into high-paying jobs. This gives the institutions sway over current politicians who hope to get their own future jobs. Boren was particularly open about using university jobs as a payoff for supportive legislators.

How powerful is this effect? Just look at Shumate’s state salary history (data from OpenTheBooks.com and OCPAthink.org).

Employer

Name

Year

Amount

House of Representatives

Shumate, T J

2010

38,400

House of Representatives

Shumate, T J

2011

41,600

House of Representatives

Shumate, T J

2012

34,036

State Senate

Shumate, T J

2012

4,364

State Senate

Shumate, T J

2013

35,200

State Senate

Shumate, T J

2014

38,400

State Senate

Shumate, T J

2015

582

University of Oklahoma

Shumate, T J

2015

128,333

University of Oklahoma

Shumate, T J

2016

226,800

University of Oklahoma

Shumate, T J

2017

213,400 


Shumate’s jump in pay from around $40,000 to about $220,000 per year represents more than a five-fold increase. His University salary, for a job the school had done without until 2015, was more than four-times the median household income in Oklahoma. 

This is how patronage works at the high end. The best jobs for cronies have high pay, low demands, and lots of perks. A brand new position, with a state car and a $220,000 salary, looks a lot like a patronage position. In fact, part of Shumate’s defense to the audit findings is that the University’s former administration was “well aware of my vehicle usage and therefore sanctioned it.” This makes perfect sense, if Shumate was hired by Boren as one more example of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” system of political patronage.

Executive Vice President

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