Friday, December 01, 2006

UI President Search XII - Blog's Week Hiatus

Revised and expanded December 2 - with more links to stories, too

Temporary Hiatus Next Week

(a) It might be good for all for me to give this a rest for a bit. After all, the Regents have yet another secret meeting scheduled for Monday morning. Let's see what they come up with. (Yeah, I know: "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me week after week after week, shame on me.") (b) Full-speed-ahead research and blogging means I'm a little behind with some other things that need doing. (c) If the Regents pick a new president during the next week you'll know -- your friends will call to tell you, and it will be all over the news. If they don't, the concerns and issues that will raise will simply be an exacerbation of the past events and issues -- a repeat of much of the news, commentary and conversations from the past two weeks -- without all that much truly new. (See, e.g., eight "
of the range of issues raised by these events, and discussed in the media," in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search II," November 21, 2006.)

In any event, for the next week (December 3-9), "UI President Search" blog entries here will be something between very brief and entirely suspended. A review and update of the week's news and actions will be provided early the following week, at which time the regular blog entries will be resumed. I wouldn't bother saying this except for the fact that interest in the "UI President Search" entries has been such that hundreds of individuals -- in Iowa, the U.S., and other countries around the world -- seem to be hitting on the blog every day. We all have enough to wonder and speculate about regarding what on earth is going on with the unexplained silence from the Regents without adding the need for speculation about what might have caused my precipitous and unexplained silence.

Today's Commentary

1. While we've been searching through the dust that Governor Vilsack has left behind on his way to New Hampshire to see if a new UI president may be hiding in there somewhere, we've missed his meteoric rise to national prominance as the leading (well, actually the only) declared presidential candidate. On November 30 former "The Daily Show" reporter Stephen Colbert (now host, Comedy Central's "Colbert Report") launched what he promises will be a series of "Vilsack Attacks." (Example: "This joker thinks running a state populated by corn qualifies him to govern people.") What you have to understand is that when you're at 1% in name identification that kind of attention is better than a $100,000 contribution from corporate executives in Chicago.

2. As I predicted earlier, it turns out the cost of this aborted search is indeed going to run over $200,000. The $110,000 contract, plus expenses that run it up to $195,000 don't include the costs of the secret sessions in Des Moines to interview the candidates the Regents tried to divert the media into thinking were going to be interviewed in Chicago.

3. Meanwhile, we continue to address the concerns about closed meetings that violate the spirit (and by my interpretaton of the Iowa Code, laid out here earlier, the letter as well) of Iowa's open meetings law, the pervading secrecy, the oaths of confidentiality signed in blood, the exclusion of significant stakeholders from meetings, and the lack of communication (attendees found out at the last minute, and few if any had any idea ahead of time as to why Friday's meeting was called or what it would address) -- how? Why in closed meetings with four Regents (because if five (of nine) were present it would be a violation for which Regents could be fined), surrounded by secrecy, apparent pledges of confidentiality, from which significant stakeholders are excluded, and with poor, absent, or mis-communication. Hasn't anyone yet pointed out the old adage that when you find yourself in a hole the best first strategy is to stop digging?

4. Also as predicted, at least some of the four finalists are demonstrating the additional qualification for service as UI president of an expression of reluctance to walk into a mess we seem incapable of cleaning up expeditiously. Would we even want a president who wouldn't insist on some basic changes before taking up residence?

5. The Register's editorial is right: There are many downsides of secrecy -- with or without an open meetings law -- but one of the most destructive is that, because the secrecy involves high stakes matters, those in the public with a sense of responsibility, people who care about such matters, are left with no alternative but to speculate as to what's going on and why. A Regent said a purpose of the Friday meeting was to "gather information," to find out "what's going on." What all of us want information about, where we want to know "what's going on," is within the closed sessions of the Regents. If the individual Regents don't even know we're in much worse difficulty than anyone has suspected.

6. And, as always, don't miss the comments attached to these blog entries. Some of it is a little harsh, but it's all provocative, and I believe in running an open blog for comments and thereby providing a sense to readers of just how deeply felt some of the disappointment, and even anger, does run.

OK. Let's see what they can do Monday morning. Meanwhile, if you'd like a little comic relief from all these heavy anxieties, check out Ken Fuson's Register column, linked from below.


This Blog's Focus on Regents' Presidential Search

Today's (November 30) is the 11th 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 ten:

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;
Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search VIII," November 27, 2006;
Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search IX," November 28, 2006;
Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search X," November 29, 2006.
Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search XI," November 30, 2006

Each contains links to the full text of such relevant reports, media stories, blogs and other commentary as I have found regarding the UI presidential search. Together I believe that collection of material to be the most complete 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).
  • Number eight is limited to links to stories regarding the big story of that day: the closed meeting in Cedar Rapids with Governor Vilsack, and representatives of the Regents and UI constituent groups.
  • In the ninth my commentary touched on four issues: (1) whatever is decided with regard to the proposed "vote of no confidence," it's essential that the full list of grievances by the UI regarding the Regents behavior and process (that is, not just the way the search has been conducted) be assembled, documented, written up, and made public in order that all stakeholders may become aware of the issues that need to be addressed; (2) that the delay granted the Governor could turn into a way the issues can be deep-sixed by holding announcements until no one is on campus during the winter break, (3) that the current Regents' governance model is broken (with suggestions for repair provided from the reproduction of a column by Mark Schantz from last June), and (4) that the proposed new UI vice president position needs to be watched carefully for evidence of continuing efforts to put Wellmark-friendly in positions of conflict of interest.
  • The tenth included a "recap" regarding the proposed Vice President position, why "the grievances, the problems, need to be explained," and why "timing is everything."
  • Number eleven discusses the impact of all this on the UI's reputation, the problems surrounding Vilsack's offer to be of genuine help in resolving all of this while putting all his energy into his presidential race, Yepsen's and others' call for additional delay rather than a prompt resolution, which gives rise to concern about what Wellmark may be doing in the interim.

Media Stories and Commentary

Danny Valentine, "Regents to Meet UI Officials Today; University Officials Do Not Know What the Meeting Will be About, and One Said He Learned About It Through an Anonymous E-mail," The Daily Iowan, December 1, 2006

Editorial, "Whatever is Next in U of I Search, Start with Openness . . . Otherwise Public is Left to Speculate the Worst," Des Moines Register, December 1, 2006

Ken Fuson, "A new questionnaire for U of I search: Can you spell regent? Can you curtsy or bow?"
Des Moines Register, December 1, 2006

Marc Hansen, "Mistrust Plagues President Search," Des Moines Register, December 2, 2006

Erin Jordan and Jonathan Roos, "Regents, UI Leaders Meet Behind Closed Doors,"
December 1, 2006

Erin Jordan and Jonathan Roos, "Regents plan 'personnel' chat Monday; Members met with U of I officials Friday to discuss the president hunt,"
Des Moines Register, December 2, 2006

Diane Heldt, "Some Regents and Deans to Discuss Presidential Search; Arbisser: Goal is to Collect Information," The Gazette, December 1, 2006

Diane Heldt, "Private Meeting on UI Presidency Under Way," The Gazette Online, December 1, 2006

Diane Heldt, "UI search resumes Monday; UI administrators have ‘frank chat’ with regents about presidential hunt," The Gazette, December 2, 2006

Ella Powers, "None of the Above,", November 29, 2006

Kathryn Fiegen, "Hogan Out for Delaware Presidency," Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 2, 2006

John R. Menninger, "Let's Look at the Regents Scientifically,"
Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 1, 2006

Brian Morelli, "Fethke to meet with deans, regents; Gathering raises concerns for some,"
Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 1, 2006

Brian Morelli, "Regents Plan to Discuss President Search Monday," Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 2, 2006

Brian Morelli, "Search pricetag: Nearly $200K; Primary cost was $110,000 retainer fee,"
Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 2, 2006

Brian Morelli, "Two of Four Finalists Concerned About Becoming UI President,"
Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 2, 2006
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Nicholas Johnson's Blog Index


Anonymous said...

I've been following this blog for a while and am wondering about a few things:

1. Why hasn't Vilsack fired the four regents who forwarded the "unqualified" candidate names to the rest of the Board. (Note that this would include Gartner and Wahlert.)
2. Why is Arbisser suddenly the spokesperson for everything?
3. Why wasn't the press permitted at the meeting yesterday?

Anonymous said...

Answers to 3 Questions from Anonymous:
(1) Can you say, "Wellmark" and "President"? Gartner is funding Vilsack's presidential bid. Wahlert and Arbisser have Wellmark ties. Harkin doesn't live here anymore.
(2) This was probably a bad idea (the guy only says things that reveal that he doesn't know what is going on). Yet, the image of Gartner and Wahlert is now so damaged that no one will believe them. Arbisser's next.
(3) Same reason all of this is secret: Backroom deals.

Take a look at the Iowa City Press-Citizen forum today on the thread, "Bring UI Candidates to Campus."

This meeting not only implicates the usual cast of characters in ensuring that a candidate is selected that meets their interests (which are contrary to the values and mission of the UI), it also implicates the current interim president Fethke.

A colleague of mine tells me that Abboud, however, was not a part of the cancelled meeting with deans last week. (He had a scheduling conflict.)

What is clear, however, is that the Board of Regents has a "plant" among the deans and interim president Fethke's office in Jim Merchant. (It was Jim Merchant who asked Cain to leave the meeting.) Merchant will make sure the Board's Wellmark interests are protected. I hope the deans don't follow his lead.

It is increasingly looking as if little can be done to help save the University. The earlier poster was wrong -- UI is not at risk of becoming U-Phoenix-Heartland. It is at risk of becoming Wellmark University.

Even if the search is started anew, how can it proceed in an open fashion ensuring that the University's interests come first, and not those of Wellmark with this degree of conflict of interest in the president's office and the board office?

What a mess. We need to pick one of the four, assuming that there are not Wellmark pals there too. We only know of one, Hogan, and he does not appear to have any Wellmark connections and does have all the qualifications -- maybe others of the four are like him. Of course, this is exactly what the Regents, Fethke, and Merchant (and probably others we don't know about yet) would rather not have -- they'd prefer to avoid Hogan or others in the position who have no loyalty to Wellmark or its pals and who would look out for the University and Iowa's interests.

Anonymous said...

Monday comes and another closed meeting. Everybody recognize the necessity for confidentiality in personnel matters but the overall secrecy continues. Why?

As funding from the state decreases and the proportion from tuition and fundraising increases do the regents feel less beholden to the public and to the staff? You would think that they would at least be more responsive to students and their parents in that case. Or maybe they feel that donors are their primary constituents.

Or is the secrecy a result of the regents recognizing that they have little to fear from a neutered corporate media? The Register has done some investigative reporting but nothing that begins to dig beneath the surface about those involved with ties to Wellmark. They are willing to get into the “he-said/she-said’ aspects of the situation but show no inclination to “follow-the-money”.

Or perhaps it is an indirect result of 40 years of conservative disparagement of public service. According to the usual talk radio blather Universities are dens of liberal indoctrination full of freeloading effete elitists. Are the Regents feeling besieged by Fox News hounds and fear being perceived as passive agents of a nefarious academic agenda?

Or do they just have something to hide?

No, couldn’t be so. I am sure they will hold a press conference and explain it all to us.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how it is on the 'liberal arts' side of the river, but with the advent of bigger money, and managed care, closed door meetings are standard in the hospital now.

Managed care infiltrated about 20-25 years ago into Iowa. The difference in the environment is startling. Deals are now done behind closed doors. Decisions are made on the basis of money. Faculty are not involved in these 'deals' Secondary (or tertiary ) interests include teaching, and pure patient care. Primary is 'profit'

I see the privacy and the closed Regents meetings as one more extension of these conflicts of interest. Participants obviously see that if the public understood the shifting priorities involving business deals (deals with Wellmark etc) and what SHOULD be public university concerns (public health, education, pure research) that citizens of Iowa would be outraged.

One just needs to reflect on the political process. Closed door, smoky room deals mean political back-scratching, to the special interest groups.

In the case of the presidential search at Iowa, closed door meetings mean pandering to some (we believe health industry) special interest groups.

It is all about the changing roles of the university from education/research/public service to economic engine/corporate mine/labor force to be manipulated.

Anonymous said...

The likely result at this point would seem to be a President from the original four finalists and a Vice President for the UIHC from Wellmark. If so then Vilsack will finally succeed in planting his insurance rep into the hospital just as he is leaving.

But will the political and health care context change with a new Democratic governor and Legislature and Congress? Will a single-payer plan be seen as a viable option in the run-up to the ’08 Democratic caucus? Are there any candidates who are willing to stand up to the insurance lobby? Hillary? Is the UIHC about to become the focal point for a national debate on health care?

Probably not but the search for a President would seem to have implications beyond the campus.

Anonymous said...

A couple points:

1. Why would anyone think Vilsack will dump Gartner and Wahlert? Gartner seems to be close to the Vilsack campaign. And Wahlert has contributed her way into the circle. Does the U of I have anyone who can match her 25,000 contributions?

2. This is the state of government today. You buy access. The voters have frankly allowed this to happen.

When the university was sitting there with English and Math departments, it was not an issue among poiticians. Now that the UIHC is a player in the 'health care industry' things get political.

This isn't news. Where there is money to be made, politics will play a role. That Vilsack and his cronies play it this way isn't surprising. That they seem unbowed to public scrutiny is. (of course some of the players - Pomerantz, and Harkin don't even live in Iowa).

3. This is the way the country has been going - profit motive. Colleges once were academic and 'above that'. Wake up U of Iowa. It isn't your father's benign academic environment anymore. Now it is the hardball of 'politico-economic' reality.

4. The academic model is not understood by business shills like Gartner and Wahlert. They are bosses, player players. They are used to behind closed door deals, and money influence.

Academics was a different model. It was select among qualified peers for a president.

That is not the business model. The business model is scratch my back (contribute) and I will scratch yours.

Academics is among colleagues, and somewhat democratic. Business is deals and submission to the boss.

Gartner and Wahlert may have no idea what is takes to run a college (just like most of us would have no idea what it takes to run Mid-American). But they understand politics and business. You contribute money to your politician. You get your people appointed to offices (Regents, interim president). You make deals. If the press catches on, you simply ride out the storm until the public losses interest.

You are dealing with slow people here. You are dealing with manipulative, clever business people who get hat they want, and buy it.

Anonymous said...

From above.

I did not mean 'dealing with slow people'. I meant 'not slow'. They are very bright people. Wahlert and Gartner are bright businessmen.

However, they are going to treat the Univ Of Iowa in a business model.

It is simply a factory in Iowa City, a subsidy plant. The work force must be disciplined and made to become efficient.

Business principles, not academic ideals.

Anonymous said...

It is correct to look at things in a business model.

These aren't evil people on the Regents. They simply use business principles. You get leadership favorable to your business (or agenda). You donate to the politicians. You make deals. This enhances the business environment.

Closed doors? Does a business hold open meetings? No. Closed doors are the preferred procedure.

Give Skorton a lower raise. Mean? No, he was treated as an under performing division manager.

In business a few power brokers 'run' the state. They make deals. They take care of each other. And they like to run other things. You see it all the time at Chamber meetings etc. The rich business owners can run the government, improve education, balance the budget, and win the war in Iraq. Not so different from academics, but they use different vehicles of power.

The business people work hard for decades, perform well (make money), please their superiors, then they get to be boss. As boss they reap the rewards, and get what they want.

Wahlert's letter to the faculty fits into this. Why should she use caps? After all she made it, and she is the boss. She is above the little stuff now.

So this is about the power brokers wanting to have influence over Iowa academics, and to have a business-friendly president.

Kurtz and Tachau made a critical mistake. They agreed to a closed door meeting. Now the search continues in the business model of deal behind closed doors. The faculty reps should have demanded OPEN DOORS.

Like John Travolta in 'Get Shorty' (I think) who wants to control the setting, the form of the search (setting) is everything. By agreeing to more closed doors, Kurtz and Tachau entered into the business model, and thus lost the openness of the academic model.

Kurtz and Co. were on the right path, perhaps painful path. Keep things academic. Keep the meetings open. However, that critical mistake, puts them right in line with the big power brokers, and politicians. Deals behind doors.

This is a sad day for academics. Kurtz and CO should have held out for open door meetings. That would have defused the deal making. They didn't, and now I am afraid it might be too late.

I don't know if Kurtz or anyone on the Senate reads this blog. But know that they are embarking on a slippery slope, engaging in business practices. I don't know how the presidential search should go, other than good things happen with open democratic processes.

If there is any academic integrity left, then the process needs to open up. If Kurtz continues to deal with the political Regents on their terms, the academic community is getting hoodwinked.

If a new president comes from this process, it signals that the University of Iowa is open for business, and closing for academics. If a new Iowa President comes from this search, be aware faculty, that you are simply a division of Iowa Inc. Start to change your visions from that of academics to that of business.

Anonymous said...

The last six years have demonstrated the bankruptcy of the “run government like a business” model. It is simple and complete corruption, Republicans are pro-business to the point of being anti-competitive. By that model if all businesses strive to achieve monopoly status then what does government become when it achieves one-party rule (the Money Party)?

And if you think the U of I needs to be more competitive it isn’t going to happen under the Money Party. Do you think they want insurance companies to actually compete for business at the UIHC? Isn’t that what Skorton was trying to do? And even then this question remains; how does Health Care and Education benefit in bottom-line market driven competition? They require an academic model of competition and incentives. The Money Party sees the UIHC as a natural monopoly and they can’t wait to control it completely.

Royals52333 said...

I have posted here before, but thought I would use an ID so if someone wanted to email.

In looking at this issues, I am struck with how much I don't know.

I started checking into the campaign contributions of various PACs, and of various individuals. I had no idea how many people walk both side of the political lines. If a person has enough money they can assure themselves of influence.

How can the ordinary person have a voice. Voting? Elections are won by political advertisements, and in political campaigns, both of which need alot of money. Although the politicians are elected by the voters, they are obviously going to favor the large donors. The large donors have bought access.

I know that Washington is a cesspool of political vote buying. I also know that the large donors appear to call the shots. As the person above said it is almost the money party. It is a disgrace how a company like Halliburton can run the country.

We now see such influence buying up close and personal in Iowa City.

No one person can understand everything. When did big money start to dominate government? When exactly and how did the health care industry start to control the politicians? And when did this industry become so powerful that it can depose 'nonpartisan' university presidents?

I propose 2 things:

1. A symposium of sorts to sort out these issues. I believe the Iowa Experience has implications for the nation, and not just Iowa. Economists, political scientists, public health experts, physicians, and others with stakes in health care and in academics should participate.

2. I wold also propose an 'ad hoc' University of Iowa group. I believe this to be especially important since that it appears that the influence of certain industries has penetrated well into the Ivy Towers.

I also believe that the Faculty Senate is not particularly in tune with other faculty on this issue, especially since they now have gone 'behind closed doors' (pop tune playing in my head now).

Anonymous said...

Today's news is very disheartening...

Word is that none of the other three finalists had "enough" support from the Board. Yet, consider this:

(1) Wahlert, Gartner should be off this Board (this was promised by the Governor).
(2) Arbisser & Harkin should also be off for dereliction of duty -- they recommended four finalists, whom they decided after-the-fact were inadequately qualified. They clearly have no business sitting on a search committee. Who is inadequate here?

Now, minus these four clearly incompetent Regents, do we have adequate support among the remaining five for the three other candidates?

Why are the most demonstrably incompetent Board members making this decision?

These are important questions that need to be asked and answered.

Anonymous said...

This has got to stop...

Take a look at the Iowa City Press Citizen -- Morelli is doing a good job on this:

Wahlert claims the outrage we are seeing regarding her FAILURE to the State is a minority voice. It is clear that this Regent has no sense of reality. She needs to be out.

The Regents are now intimidating some of our most accomplished and valued faculty. No wonder staff are worried for their jobs -- faculty should be too. These Regents do not seem to know when enough is enough.

Yet, there is a serious problem here -- it isn't clear how to oust them. We need a good legal read on this (Nick -- can you give us one? Any of you other attorneys?).

They are supposed to be serving the State as volunteers. Yet, they are not serving, they are USING. They are not only deficient in their abilities to carry-out their duties, they also show exceptional incompetence and lack of good judgment. Now, we find they are also unethical.

This should be grounds for dismissing Wahlert, Gartner, Arbisser, and Harkin. I am disappointed, especially, in Harkin. She has been relatively silent. Why are we not hearing from her?

Vilsack needs to take action fast. How much more evidence is needed? We have incompetence, lack of judgment, and unethical behavior. They must be removed and cannot be allowed to continue to use the State and the University like this and to ABUSE the University of Iowa faculty, students, and staff.

I hope Kurtz, Abboud, Greer, McElligott, and Tachau do not shirk in the face of this intimidation (but who would blame them?). We need their continued strong leadership.

Anonymous said...

Wahlert and Gartner need to go NOW. This is ridiculous. Everyone should listen to the outrageous interview she gave to Morelli at the Press-Citizen.

Not only does she lie outright in that interview, she also accuses Morelli of mis-reporting. To his credit, he stands firm on the accuracy of his reporting. Of course, she has to back down and state that she doesn't keep track of the papers.

So, here we have a public record right from the source of the complete LACK of integrity -- accusing people of things and then ADMITTING she has no basis for the accusation. This is a pattern, folks.

This is malfeasance -- maybe not legally, but can we tolerate such incredible immoral and incompetent behavior.

Please, Vilsack, get this person off the Board now.

Meanwhile, let's ALL hear who the three remaining candidates are and let's allow the people to weigh in on this decision. It's very, very clear that the board cannot make a decision for the good of the State. What we know that they can do is make a decision to protect their own personal interests.

Anonymous said...

the link to the audio file of the interwiew with Regent Wahlert is here;

Wahlert's bio;

and here;

Anonymous said...

From DMR, Dec. 10:

"Steinke said a legislator asked him to get the information but declined to name the legislator. He also asked why faculty were upset that he sought public information that is also available online.Steinke said a legislator asked him to get the information but declined to name the legislator. He also asked why faculty were upset that he sought public information that is also available online.Steinke said a legislator asked him to get the information but declined to name the legislator. He also asked why faculty were upset that he sought public information that is also available online."


Legislative requests for information to the BOR are common.

BOR staff normally identify the legislator(s) making the request.

Turn around times are often short, but 30 minutes is probably unprecedented.

Speculations consistent with the observations:

Steinke is lying about the source of the request.

The request came from the president of the BOR or the chair of the search committee.


Under what provision of Iowa's Public Records Law would a record of the request in the possession of the BOR (email, phone message slip, voice mail recording, hand written note) be protected?

Given that a record, if it existed, would be available to the public, what is Steinke's moral claim for not divulging the name of the legislator?

Suggestions to reporters:

Make a formal open records request before Steinke destroys the records.

Ask Steinke:

Of the legislative requests he receives in a year, how many require responses from the universities or special schools in thirty minutes or less?

When was the request received in the BOR office?

How was the request made: phone? fax? email? in person?

For what purpose did the legislator want the information?

How was the information transmitted to the legislator: phone? fax? email? in person?

What legislative committees does the legislator serve on?

You get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12/10, 6:22:49:

Excellent points all. I doubt, however, that a request under the open records rules would be honored. I listened to the Wahlert interview and Morelli noted that in his records request, some of the e-mails were NOT disclosed. Also, listen to Wahlert give him the run-around -- when he requests information about the search, Steinke sends him to Wahlert, who (although he didn't say it, IF she answers) sends him to the Board Office, which sends him to Steinke...

The failure to provide the requested records should be further grounds for cleaning house. One must also wonder (since some of the records would come from the University) if Fethke is playing a role in hiding information. Fethke clearly has an interest in drawing this mess out as long as possible so he can sit in Jessup Hall longer and foster his pet projects (which include dismantling some programs).

That Gartner thinks the salaries vis-a-vis teaching loads is "interesting" simply provides further evidence of his incompetence in this role. He has a responsibility to at least know that faculty have widely varied job requirements. Moreover, he should know better -- faculty CAN be fired. Tenure is a protection for intellectual freedom; it is not a blanket protection for poor or unethical behavior. Again, all of this shows what a completely incompetent leader he is.

Given that the Governor cannot fire a regent by himself, I think people must write to Sen. Vicki Lensing to request her help. The Senate's Government Oversight Committee should investigate the Regents and expedite a vote to remove Wahlert and Gartner for unethical and incompetent behavior.

Actually, if G&W really did care about the State, they would resign. It is obvious that they are ineffective and that they are rendering the entire Board and process ineffective.