Monday, November 27, 2006

UI President Search VIII

Diane Heldt, "Governor, regents, UI officials emerge from meeting pleased," The Gazette Online, November 27, 2006 8:42 p.m.

Erin Jordan, "Vilsack works to mediate U of I controversy,"
Des Moines Register, November 27, 2006

6:45 p.m. UPDATE: A security guard told reporters at 6:40 p.m. that Gov. Vilsack and participants in their meeting at the U.S. Bank building in downtown Cedar Rapids had ordered food and that they would be meeting at least an hour to hour-and-a-half more, Gazette reporter Diane Heldt said." Gazette Online.

This Blog's Focus on Regents' Presidential Search

Today's (November 27) is the eighth installment in this blog's report and commentary regarding the continuing saga of the Iowa Board of Regents' efforts to find a president for the University of Iowa. Here are links to the prior six: Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search I," November 18, 2006; Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search II," November 21, 2006; Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search III," November 22, 2003; Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search IV," November 23, 2006; Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search V," November 24, 2006; Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search VI," November 25, 2006; Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search VII: The Answer," November 26, 2006.

Each contains links to the full text of such relevant reports, media stories, blogs and other commentary as I have found. Together I believe them to be the most complete collection available anywhere on the Internet. However, note that the references are not repeated from one entry to the next, so the lists in all the relevant blog entries must be checked to get the full collection.

The entries also contain some commentary of my own. For example,
  • The first contains, among other things, a summarized version of the facts, and a relatively long essay in paragraph 4 entitled, "What are the necessary qualifications for UI's president?"
  • The second includes my effort to identify eight separate categories of issues involved in these stories, provide a bit of legal analysis of Iowa's open meetings law, and reference a little history from Regent Michael Gartner's past.
  • In III I deal with the implications of the revelation that, among the reasons for rejecting the four candidates recommended by the search committee, these Regents, bedeviled by ties to health insurance company Wellmark in the past, may have nonetheless preferred the candidate they did because of her ties to a related health insurance provider. This story, of course, has implications for Governor Vilsack's presidential race, and the beginning of Governor-Elect Culver's term.
  • The fourth includes a contributor's list of Regents-Wellmark ties, and comment about what the Regents'-authorized search committee "Criteria Check List" reveals about the lack of early Regents' concern about health services experience, and some of the problems with search firms.
  • The fifth focuses on the UI's Provost, Michael J. Hogan, and what his rejection by the Regents (as one of the final four) reveals about the failures of the Regents' process.
  • In number VI the primary focus of the news, and my commentary, relates to Governor Vilsack's announcement of his meeting with Regent Gartner and UI officials in Cedar Rapids tomorrow, November 27.
  • In the seventh the discussion involved the revelations in Regent Bob Downer's column, and accompanying stories, regarding the role of Wellmark in President David Skorton's departure, and further evaluation of the perception that this Regents' mess is Governor Vilsack's Katrina as a presidential candidate, given his initial "stay the course" and "You're doing a heck of a job Mike" support of Gartner (which didn't even rise to sufficient importance for him to deliver personally, rather than through a spokesperson).

Commentary Regarding Today's Stories

. . . will be provided later in the day; meanwhile, today's leading stories and commentary are available, and linked from below.

Media Stories and Commentary

Editorial, "Open Presidential Search a Must to Repair UI, Regent Relations,"
The Daily Iowan, November 27, 2006

Danny Valentine, "Relations With Regents Grow Icy," The Daily Iowan, November 27, 2006

Jonathan Carlson, "Go Back to the Future in U of I Presidential Search,"
Des Moines Register, November 27, 2006

Editorial, "Gomers: What's Going Wrong,"
The Gazette, November 27, 2006

Mark Bowden, "UI Searchers Could Learn from C.R.," The Gazette, November 27, 2006

Hieu Pham, "Regents consider UI vice president; Position would oversee UIHC, College of Medicine," Iowa City Press-Citizen, November 27, 2006


Matt Nelson, "Plan Might be Stalled," The Daily Iowan, November 27, 2006 [status of Regents' UI "strategic planning" process]
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Sudiegirl said...

I haven't been keeping up with all this, although I should...but is this Vice-Presidency in charge of UIHC et. al. really going to amount to a "co-presidency"? That seems to be how it's laying out.

Wow...Sounds like a shakedown of the board of regents is desperately needed.

Anonymous said...

My question is this: Who actually called off the search?

I doubt Michael Gartner, Teresa Walhert, Ruth Harkin, or Amir Arbisser, the Regents on the search committee actually have expertise to make this call.

Gartner: journalist, and owner of a baseball team.

Wahlert: Commericial development exec. Quest Exec.

Harkin: lawyer in DC, hasn't lived in Iowa in 20 years. Perhaps thru her husband she has knowledge, but I would doubt it.

Arbisser: MD, Pac boards, and married to a member of Wellmark's board. He possibly might have some expertise on this, but he has never served as an academic. He might know who is who in the insurance industy. Can he make this call. Doubt it.

Could Forsyth, CEO of Wellmark, former Head of the Univ Iowa Board of Regents, supporter of Tom Vilsack? Possibly. And possibly he has influence (with money) over the others. However, he has reportedly not met Freund.

That leaves Tom Vilsack. I do not think Vilsack has expertise to understand who should run the Univ of Iowa.

Then who?

Marvin Pomerantz, board member of Wellmark and big contributor to U of Iowa?

Or the one person Freund has said she met - John Colloton.

Colloton is the former CEO of the Univ fo Iowa Hosp, as well as current board member of Wellmark. He was known as an iron-handed manager. He would be in the best position to know who would be a 'friend of the program (insurance industry)'.
What is amazing the conficts of interest this gang have over the health care economics of Iowans. What an inbred cast of characters.

Maybe not amazing, maybe scandalous.

Anonymous said...

A key question that has to be answered is why was Debra Freund so attractive to the Board of Regents, over the other candidates.

What health care policies does she promote?

Anonymous said...

So, Gov. Vilsack proposes to name a VP over health affairs. In times of 'fiscal restraint' he wants to spend 250,0000 a year (or more) so Wellmark can be less anxious about a new president interfering in a sweetheart deal with Univ Hospitals.

I am really happy the Governor of the state continues to ensure Wellmark execs are happy. That the salt mine known as Univ Hospitals produces 'products'for Wellmark to market.

Talk about letting the Foxes mind the chicken coop? Then appointing a bureaucrat to oversee the pillage.

Iowa's own version of Tammany Hall. Only these days rather than support 'family' members with concrete businesses, Iowa supports 'family' members with health care insurance businesses.

Human behavior never really changes does it?

Anonymous said...

My recollection was that the first VP for Health Affairs
recommended that the job be eliminated when he retired. The second VP left to go to the U. of Michigan with Coleman and was not replaced. Proof by demonstration that the first VP was right.

Looks to me like the Gov and the BOR are trying to change the subject.

Anonymous said...

You have to give Gov Vilsack credit for doing something. He averted a 'no confidence' vote by the faculty. He avoided having to fire the offending Regents. And he must feel like the great peacemaker.

However, he did change the subject. He is attempting to change perceptions of the problems by proposing yet another layer of bureaucracy be inserted into the administration.

The problem as I see it, is that Iowa is slowly suffering economic, educational, and professional deterioration.

Power has been consolidated with some power brokers in Des Moines, who appear to be quite comfortable. Those power brokers have included the health insurance industry as a way to enhance their profits.

Probably little attention is paid by the power brokers to the Dept of History, Home Ec, even to the law school (for example) at the Univ of Iowa. However, the one piece of the health insurance industry that is needed are hospital beds and medical professionals. For that the power needs the UIHC.

If the Spanish Dept closes down, I doubt Michael Gartner gives a damn. However, if Orthopedics melts down at UIHC, Gartner, and his friends at Wellmark care alot (apparently).

The recent meeting is simply a PR bandaid and does nothing to solve the underlying problem.

The underlying problem appears to be that the health care execs are far more clever and powerful than anyone in Govt (Vilsack included) or in academia. They will have their way.

This is simply a microcosm of Washington DC, where the heavy lobbies like Bigpharma, and the Health Industry block any kind of health reform.

An investigative reporter needs to dig like crazy to understand the mess. For years the UIHC has invented a myraid of 'products' with Wellmark that make a mafia gang's oraganization look mild in an attempt to hide the truth.

The current effort is nothing short of a coup, to topple the last obsticle to Wellmark's sweet deal. The coup started with David Skorton. It has yet to end.

A reporter needs to follow the money, and follow the conficts of interest to understand what's going on.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at this e-mail exchange involving Michael Gartner and a reporter posted on the Press-Citizen Web site.