As the Governor and legislators grapple with how to fill our state's $2.2 billion budget deficit, UNC officials jetted off to the ACC Tournament in the state's airplane at taxpayer expense.
UNC officials are claiming it's a business trip. Unlikely story since UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp's wife, teenage son and pre-teen daughter were also along for the ride. I don't know about you, but I don't take my wife and 2 kids on a business trip. Also three employees "who work in fundraising and university relations" went along as well (Rams Club more than likely).
And the excuse for taking the state plane according to the N&O:
Advancement Matt Kupec wrote, "Incidentally, the trip will cost less
than if we had used commercial flights."
By my rough count, Delta has 10 flights a day from RDU to Atlanta. US Air has flights available for as low as $138 round-trip. So for Thorpe and the 3 members of his family, it would cost $552.
From the N&O story: the state Department of Commerce charges $770 an hour for the use of the jet, or $1,025 an hour for athletics-related events.
If the flight is an hour each way, that's $2,050 total expense for the flight. If Thorpe had flown commercial his price would be about a quarter of that.
I don't have a problem with the Chancellor representing the university at the ACC Tournament, I just have a problem with him using a more expensive mode of travel when the taxpayers are picking up the tab.