Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Civic Skinny

How ISU spent about $1 million at the Liberty Bowl

4/10/2013

Oops. The Des Moines Register forgot to put “The Des Moines Register” on its front page last Wednesday. Oops again. Then on Sunday, it ran this tiny correction: “Incorrect winning numbers for Friday’s Mega Millions lottery drawing were published Saturday. The correct numbers are below.”

Oops. The Des Moines Register forgot to put “The Des Moines Register” on its front page last Wednesday. Oops again. Then on Sunday, it ran this tiny correction: “Incorrect winning numbers for Friday’s Mega Millions lottery drawing were published Saturday. The correct numbers are below.”

The Des Moines Register had a little two-paragraph item in the sports section the other day that said Iowa State University made $15,366 from its participation in the Liberty Bowl. The university got $964,500 in bowl revenue and had $949,134 in bowl expenses, the item noted.

Geez, Skinny wondered, how can you spend $949,134 on a bowl game in Memphis?

For starters, you can do it by having 189 people in your “team and staff” travel party, paying their expenses — transportation and hotel and meals — for seven days. Then you can add in 392 for the “band and cheerleaders” travel party, paying their transportation and hotel and meals for four days. Finally, you can throw in another 104 people from the “official party,” paying their transportation and hotel — but not meals — for four days.

That’s right. The university paid for 685 people to go to Memphis for the Dec. 31 game, which Iowa State lost to Tulsa, 31 to 17. The official party included people you’d expect to see on the list — Athletics Director Jamie Pollard and all six (count ’em, six) “senior associate athletic directors,” for instance. But it also included the spouses of those seven and, in all, 14 of their children.

DM Art Center

Then it included 62 people who are department heads in the athletics department or relatives of those folks. For instance, Erin Wilson, director of business services in the department, was there with her husband and three children. Lindsey Long, “director of special events/letterwinners,” went along with her spouse and two kids. Others work in ticketing and development and compliance and event management and the like. This group included 17 spouses and 23 children.

ISU President Steve Leath was on the list, of course, along with his wife and two adult sons, Eric and Scott, and his chief of staff, the wonderfully named Miles Lackey, and his wife. Vice Presidents Warren Madden and Tom Hill were there, with their wives, along with two truck drivers — presumably who hauled equipment — and their wives.

In all, the university paid an average of $389.51 a day for the team members and coaches, $74.96 a day for the people in the “band and cheerleader” party, and $322.98 a day — with no meal money — for the 104 people in the “official party.”

The lists of travelers and summary sheet — which ISU quickly supplied to Cityview — note that the university also paid $24,008 for entertainment, $10,286 for promotion, $48,474 for awards and $28,988 for equipment and supplies. It further notes that the list does not include any salaries or coaches’ bonuses. In fact, Coach Paul Rhoads got a bonus of $100,000 for taking his team to the bowl, putting his total 2012 compensation at about $1.7 million. (He would have gotten another $200,000 if his team had won seven, instead of six, games during the regular season.)

So if you throw in that bonus, Iowa State lost about $85,000 by going to the Liberty Bowl and getting close to $1 million in revenue. …

Ordinary citizens cannot ask for official opinions on questions of law from the state attorney general. But legislators, state officials and county attorneys can. So last week State Sen. David Johnson, a former newspaperman and the Republican from Ocheyedan in far northwest Iowa, asked Attorney General Tom Miller whether Iowa Public Radio is subject to the Iowa Open Meetings and Iowa Open Records laws. Amazingly, IPR says it isn’t. Johnson’s letter was brief and courteous: “I respectfully ask for a response at the earliest opportunity,” it said. “Thank you for your service to the citizens of Iowa.”

Cityview commented to him about his politeness. “Just call me CivilSkinny,” he replied. …

Look for the legislature to come back in a special session to deal with health care, one insider tells Skinny.

A guy who follows such things says Dave Jamison is the odds-on favorite to be named state auditor following the surprising resignation last week of David Vaught to take a non-government job in Connecticut. “Why Jamison?” this guy asks. “He is currently a Branstad appointee, serving as the head of the Iowa Finance Authority. He’s previously run for statewide office, losing his bid [in 2010] to unseat [State Treasurer] Mike Fitzgerald,” and he’s been close to Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds since the days when both were county treasurers — Jamison in Story County and Reynolds in Clarke County. If it isn’t Jamison, this guy says, it will be “someone known as ‘former state representative/senator….’ ”

Whoever it is will hold the office until the 2014 election, and it’s an office where an incumbent rarely loses. Indeed, the last incumbent to lose was Democrat Lorne Worthington, who was auditor for one two-year term from 1965 to 1967. He lost to Lloyd Smith, who was auditor until he died in 1978. Richard Johnson then was appointed, and he was regularly elected until he retired in 2003. Vaudt succeeded him. Worthington not only was the last incumbent to lose but also was the last Democrat to hold the office. …

The guy who is betting on Jamison was in the Capitol cafeteria the other day and found on a table a leaflet prepared by the Governor’s office. One side was touting his coming trade mission to China; the other was a pitch to approve the Governor’s three nominees to the Board of Regents. A chunk of that sheet was a big-type quote from a Register editorial backing confirmation.

“If you will recall,” says a note from this guy, “the Branstad campaign sent out a fundraising e-mail in February asking for a $14 donation — or $1 each for the 14 editorials the newspaper had run that were critical of his decision to reject federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage to Iowa’s poorest individuals. At the time, Branstad characterized the editorials as ‘vicious smears’ in which the Register was hiding facts about Medicaid’s expansion since 2000. This week, the Register is apparently the most credible source on the issue of gubernatorial appointments. No word whether he is returning any of the $14 contributions.” …

Job watch: Employment in Iowa was 1,497,200 for the month of February, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency reported last week. The total was 1,488,100 when Branstad took office more than two years ago and promised to create 200,000 jobs over five years. Just 190,900 to go. …

Finally, this note on Friday from a reader who is fascinated by all the transparency talk amid the lack of transparency at the state universities. “From today’s ISU presentation to the lack-of-transparency committee of the Regents: ‘Information we give to the press may very well create risk to the public if given to someone with ill will.’ ”

And he labeled his note: “Cy Turns Into Chicken Little.”

Skinny’s question: How does ISU know if the person has ill will? Is there a litmus test or a loyalty oath? Or does the requestor need to know the words to “Rise Sons of Iowa State?”

And isn’t that song kind of sexist? CV

Body Sense