Regents hire big-name California attorney to probe Klaich

Nevada's university regents have hired a prominent (and expensive) California labor lawyer and his associates to investigate allegations that Chancellor Dan Klaich improperly handled a report critical of the system.

The story, first broken by the Review-Journal's Bethany Barnes, involves a study of the community colleges performed by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems that was submarined after it questioned the system's leadership amid a debate over who should oversee the smaller schools.

Chairman Rick Trachok confirmed the hiring of Stephen J. Hirschfeld, a leading light in the field of employment law. Per his agreement with the system, posted below, Hirschfeld says he will conduct an "independent investigation" and probe whether the draft report should have been made public, and "perform such additional research deemed necessary to let the Regents know whether the actions taken violated any ethical or governance standards of higher education in Nevada and the United States."

Hirschfeld informed the board that his hourly fee is $595 and that two other law firm members also will be involved. But, Trachok tells me, Hirschfeld agreed to cap his fees at $50,000. Which means this will cost taxpayers....$50,000.

The report will be on the board's agenda on Sept. 10. Below is the agreement and the "Ralston Live" on July 20 when Trachok and Regent Jason Geddes discussed the issue.

Engagement Letter Executed by Jon Ralston