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Civic Skinny

Eric Branstad’s medical plan. Bob Donley’s big payday.

8/14/2013

Eric Branstad, the governor’s son, and his wife apparently have their own inexpensive medical-care plan. It’s called the “Why Bother to Pay?” plan.

In January of this year, Associated Anesthesiologists P.C. sued Adrianne and Eric Branstad in Polk County district court for an unpaid account balance of $345.20. A process server served Eric Branstad with the notice. The Branstads did not reply. On March 1, the medical practice got a default judgment for the amount of the bill plus court costs of $209 — a total of $554.32.

On March 11, the medical group levied a general execution for the judgment amount against Adrianne Branstad, which was sent by certified mail from the sheriff’s office to Matchpoint Strategies, the political-consulting and fundraising company owned by Eric Branstad. “You are hereby commanded” to pay the judgment, the court document stated.

On July 31, a filing indicated nothing had yet been collected. Interest is mounting at a little over two cents a day. …

It wasn’t in The Des Moines Register, but the Board of Regents last week voted a big chunk of deferred compensation to executive director Bob Donley. A guy with raised eyebrows called Skinny — who has the ability to see raised eyebrows over the telephone — to point out the numbers. So on Friday, Cityview sent this email to Jeff Boeyink, the governor’s chief of staff:

“According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the Board of Regents this week granted some deferred compensation to Bob Donley, the executive director. I’m told they gave him a $5,000 performance bonus and a two-year deferred compensation deal of $50,000 contribution in year one and $75,000 in year two.  According to the state salary database, his pay in 2012 was $164,050. According to HF2700 of 2008, which apparently was the last time state salaries were set, he is a ‘range 7’ employee, whose salary must be between $100,840 and $154,300….

“1. Was the governor aware of the bonus and deferred comp deal, and did he approve?

“2. If he wasn’t aware or didn’t approve, does he approve of it now that he knows about it?

“3. Are there others among the 15 or so persons in ‘range 7’ who get ‘deferred compensation,’ and, if so, who are they and how much do they get?

“4. How does this pay square with the law?

“Thanks for taking the time to answer these.”

We’ll print the answers when we get them. …

The state last year established the Iowa Public Information Board, a nine-member commission that is charged with enforcing Iowa’s open-records laws. It hired an executive director in April of this year and is getting up and running and, among other things, sending out emails.

“My first e-mail forwarded to me from someone who received it from (the board) had the signature block of the director with the usual e-mail disclaimer,” says a guy who is interested in the board. “Of course, one sentence said, ‘This email message is intended only for the addressee(s) and contains information that may be confidential.” …

Steve Wynn of Las Vegas has given $25 million to the University of Iowa Hospitals to establish the Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research, which hopes to find a cure for a degenerative eye disease that is causing him to go blind. The Iowa professor who will head the institute praised Wynn and called him visionary. …

Diane Heldt, who has covered the Board of Regents for the Cedar Rapids Gazette since 2006 and who covered it for the Ames Tribune from 1996 to 2000, is leaving journalism. She has taken a writing position with Two Rivers Marketing, an advertising and public-relations firm in Des Moines. …

George Carpenter was a guy right out of central casting. Throughout his long life he had the upright bearing of the trim and handsome Naval officer he was during the Korean conflict. He was upright in every other way, too — as a businessman, a family man and a community man. For many years, he was general manager of WHO radio and WHO TV — when they were owned by the Palmer family — and then for years he ran Iowa Public Television. He retired 20 years ago but continued to offer wise counsel, though only when asked. Soft-spoken and dignified, George Carpenter died the other day at age 85. Cityview joins those who will miss him. CV

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