Thursday, December 17, 2009

BEAT BYTE: USA Today hammers Pinkel pay

1)  EYE-OPENING, HARDLY REPORTED:  USA Today hammers Pinkel pay
2)  EARLY BIRD CANDIDATE SURVEY:  Jerry Wade for Columbia Mayor
3)  ASHLAND CITY MANAGER:  Under fire from city leaders
4)  CENTRALIA MAYOR:  Looks to partner with troubled non-profit
5)  COLUMBIA DEVELOPER:  Madoff victim  
6)  YOU READ IT HERE FIRST:  Non profit troubles; basketball "assault"
7)  HEAR YE!  HEAR YE!   Local Announcements

A big-wet-puppy-kiss public "Thank You" to Columbia Second Chance Animal Rescue

EYE-OPENING, HARDLY REPORTED:  USA Today hammers Pinkel pay

"Athletic departments spend away while academics — the schools' reason for being — are getting slammed."

"It's something Division I athletics has to be aware of and come to terms with, ultimately," Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton says. "Because given the factors in play right now, it's not clear this is a sustainable path."

COLUMBIA, 12/17/09 (Beat Byte) --  Though not locally reported much when it appeared last month, a USA Today story about the high price Mizzou pays for football coaches has raised troubling questions about the increasing disparity between academics and athletics. 

Relative to his predecessors, Gary Pinkel has been a good -- some might even say great -- head coach.  His salary -- which has quadrupled in eight years, to $2.52 million this season -- isn't out of line with peer programs:  Pinkel is now the fourth-highest paid coach in the Big 12 conference. 

The problem is less about Coach Pinkel's position on the salary totem and more about how the rest of the university, at the compensation bottom of 17 peer institutions in surrounding states, isn't keeping pace with the athletic department.  

Forking over a mountain of cash to athletic program leaders isn't having the trickle down effect used to justify each salary hike.  If it were, the thinking goes, budgets would be a lot brighter in more places than just the athletic department. 

Including salaries, USA Today reports that Missouri's total spending on football has nearly doubled in five years: from around $7 million in 2004 to a projected $13.2 million this year.  Overall athletic outlays have gone up by more than a third in that time, to a projected $64 million in 2009-10.

This while the rest of the school faces an ever-growing fiscal woe pile-up that has created an uncanny lopsidedness: 
A huge and fast-growing athletic program sitting atop a shrinking university.   

As USA Today notes, MU has instituted a systemwide hiring freeze, frozen the pay of most of its approximately 18,000 full-time faculty and staff and tinkered with its pension plan.  Historically, the picture isn't much better. 

"The average MU full professor's salary rose only 9% — to $102,800 — in the four years from 2004 to 2008, according to surveys by the American Association of University Professors," USA Today reports.  "University expenditures at Missouri essentially stayed flat from fiscal 2004-05 to 2007-08, falling a little less than one-half of 1%.  Overall athletics spending climbed almost 12%, while spending on football assistants' salaries rose 32%. 

And from 2000 to 2008, Pinkel's salary climbed 331%.  Atop his guarantee, Pinkel — who declined to speak on the record about his salary — can pocket as much as $850,000 in a given year in incentives.

Though he supports high coach compensation because it improves Mizzou's image, Martin Rucker, a Democratic state representative from St. Joseph, told USA Today he "detected some unease when the school gave Pinkel his latest extended contract and raise near the end of last season." 

"A few other legislators, I don't know if they were really upset, but (they were) just questioning, 'Why would you give the guy a raise when we're here trying to balance the budget and we're cutting this and cutting that and can't give all the money we want to higher ed?'" said Rucker.

Basketball coach Mike Anderson saw his pay increase $500,000 last year, to $1.35 million annually.  All these increases didn't sit well with Republican Mike Thomson, a Missouri state representative from Maryville.  "When you pay that much money to athletics personnel simply because of the competitive situation, it really comes across wrong, especially to those who are involved in education," Thomson told USA Today.  "But I totally understand the other side of it — what a successful athletic program does for the whole university." 

But there comes the paradox again.  What is the true meaning of "successful athletic program" amidst budget cuts, hiring freezes, pension plan hits, and fiscal woes for virtually every other department? 

"It's something Division I athletics has to be aware of and come to terms with, ultimately," Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton told USA Today. "Because given the factors in play right now, it's not clear this is a sustainable path."

But Deaton stopped short of condemning the practice at Mizzou. "I don't sense any big battle on campus at all about this," he said.  "I think all the faculty are committed to using, in a sense, the athletic success for the overall success of the university."


Missouri shows how schools pay a price for football success

EARLY BIRD CANDIDATE SURVEY:  Jerry Wade for Columbia Mayor

Columbia mayoral candidate Jerry Wade answers the Columbia Heart Beat's Early Bird Candidate Survey from local journalists.   Survey questions went out to early filers for mayor and city council.  

Our team of questioning journalists includes:

George Kennedy, professor of journalism and columnist, The Columbia Missourian
Tyree Byndom, Host, Kore Issues, KOPN radio
Mary Daly, Managing Editor, The MU Maneater
Jonathan Sessions, columnist/blogger, Columbia Business Times

George Kennedy asks:

1.  What does “smart growth” mean to you?

Wade:  We want to foster the kind of growth that makes Columbia such a special place.  Smart growth means that we will consider infrastructure as a part of the cost of development, and anticipate the costs of new roads and utilities as well as their maintenance.

Smart growth favors building in areas where the infrastructure is already in place rather than paving over the farmland and forests on the outskirts of the city.  In short, it means building up rather than out, and rebuilding aging and obsolete structures where we already have roads and utilities.

Such development reduces the need for new infrastructure on the city’s fringes, encourages re-development closer to the city center, and preserves the natural environment.

2.  What should be the top 3 priorities for the next council?

Wade:   A healthy economic climate. Council should adopt policies that encourage job creation for all our residents at all skill levels.

Public safety. Council should continue to adopt policies that support law enforcement and support the efforts of neighborhoods and organizations that create the kinds of educational and recreational activities that encourage positive behavior.

Effective planning and development policies. We must have policies that reflect our community values while providing opportunities for the kind of development that makes Columbia such a special place to live.

3.    Should council members be paid?

Wade:   Yes.  As our city has grown and Council service has become at least a half-time job for all Council members, pay seems quite reasonable.  Compensation for Council service might enlarge the pool of individuals who would be able to serve but are currently unable for financial reasons.                                                            

4.  What do you see as the proper relationship between the council and the manager?

Wade:   The Council provides the policies, priorities and direction for the City.  The City Manager is responsible for implementing the policies, priorities and direction set by the Council.   When there is clear, open communication and a close working relationship, the result is a more efficient city government and higher quality city services.

Tyree Byndom asks:

1. If elected Mayor of Columbia, Missouri what will be your main priorities?

Wade:  Enhancing economic opportunity for all Columbians through new jobs, and opportunities for training for those who need additional skills and employment opportunities.

Improving public safety by continued support of strong law enforcement while working to reduce crime. We must work with families, schools, churches, neighborhoods and other community groups to create strong families and positive opportunities for youth that enables those locked in a cycle of poverty to become successful, productive citizens. 

Creating effective planning and development policies that reflect our community’s values and provide continued opportunities for the kind of development that has made Columbia such a special place. We must emphasize upgrading existing infrastructure.

2. How will you implement your plans/vision to better our city?

Wade:  I listen to all citizens with an interest in bettering our city, to learn their ideas and visions and to ensure that diverse interests are taken into account. It is the responsibility of elected officials to ensure citizens have the opportunity to understand the issues facing our city with accurate information.

The views of concerned citizens, coupled with my experience as a member of the City Council, as chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and as a long-term Columbia resident will form a solid base for assertive leadership to build our future as a progressive, inclusive city.

3. What type of legacy would you like to leave behind?

Wade:  The basis on which I will evaluate my success is simple. 

I’ll ask: Is Columbia a safer, more economically viable community than when I became mayor?  Has progress been made toward eradicating an under culture of poverty through education, job training and economic opportunity?  Has the city grown at a manageable pace, with minimal sprawl and attention to infrastructure needs, while maximizing environmental sustainability?

Jonathan Sessions asks:

1.   In this voluntary position, what are your expectations of necessary time commitment?  

Wade:  I am retired. I am available to work as much as the position requires. I understand that being Columbia’s mayor is essentially a full-time job.   

2. How do you plan to keep up with a demanding city council?

Wade:   I don’t intend to keep up with a demanding city council. I intend to lead the city council.

Mary Daly asks:  How do you view students living in the city of Columbia as part of your plans for mayor?

Wade:  Students living in Columbia are a large and undervalued resource.  I will work with student leaders from Stephens College, Columbia College and the University of Missouri to identify ways to actively engage students in civic affairs and identify how the city can address issues affecting students.

ASHLAND CITY MANAGER:  Under fire from city alderman

ASHLAND, 12/17/09 (BoCoJo) -- Ashland's controversial city manager is in the news again, as an Ashland alderman (city council member) questioned City Administrator Chris Heard's ethics earlier this month, the Boone County Journal reports. 

Alderman Dave Thomas raised his voice and laced his questions about Heard with some profanity, as Journal editor Bruce Wallace writes, "Thomas' exact quote could not be printed in a family newspaper." 

Though Thomas later apologized, "the outburst was an example of how some of the aldermen have begun to question Heard more harshly as he completes his second year on the job," Wallace writes.  Heard was earlier criticized for not living in Ashland, 15 miles south of Columbia, and recently announced that he was not in line for the city manager's position in Lebanon, Missouri. 

"The announcement ended weeks of speculation and rumors that Heard was leaving his Ashland post," Wallace writes. 

CENTRALIA MAYOR:  Looks to partner with troubled Partnership

CENTRALIA, 12/17/09 (Fireside-Guard) --  Centralia Mayor Tim Grenke hadn't yet read recent stories about the Boone County Community Partnership's (BCCP) many troubles.

Searching for "help and new thoughts on economic development and grants to help the city and local businesses achieve Americans with Disabilities Act compliance," Grenke, Centralia city administrator Lynn Behrns, and Centralia Chamber of Commerce economic development task force chair Sonny Raines met earlier this month with BCCP director Lolita Lucas, the Centralia Fireside-Guard (FG) reports. 

But BCCP has come under fire recently for a damning financial audit and a raucus Tuesday night board meeting that saw board president Khesha Duncan storm out of the room. 

Lucas told FG the 90-minute meeting revealed a lot of potential for development in Centralia's situation.  "We're here to help them get as much bang for their buck and help them maximize the resources that are out there."  

Plans for BCCP include potentially reviewing grant applications.  "They will look at ways to see out grants and other funding opportunities to help local merchants cope with accessibility requests that may be made of them," Behrns told FG.



COLUMBIA, 12/17/09 (Beat Byte) --  Local developer Richard A. Miller has been listed in a bankruptcy filing as a victim of notorious New York City-based Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, effectively sentenced to life in prison earlier this year for bilking billions from thousands of wealthy -- and not-so-wealthy -- clients over several decades.

No loss amounts are listed for Miller, who owns the Falls at Bethel Ridge and Cross Creek Villas through At Home Rentals of Columbia. 


YOU READ IT HERE FIRST:  Non profit troubles; basketball "assault"

MU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL:  Suspended players fending off assault?

AUDIT BLASTS:  Major Columbia non-profit group

HEAR YE!  HEAR YE!   Local Announcements

Columbia mayoral candidate Sid Sullivan wants to address your group, laying out his vision for Columbia's future.
Contact Sullivan at (573) 234-2374 or Sidsullivan at .

Trauma psychologist Barbara Bauer is looking for beading supplies, old necklaces that can be taken apart and restrung, or beads you no longer need for women in Patongo, Northern Uganda deeply traumatized for 20 years by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).  For income, the women have begun making beaded necklaces they sell to University students in Kampala, says Bauer, who travels to the impoverished region several times yearly.  "If any of your readers would like to donate old necklaces I would be happy to take them to the Ugandan women."  

Contact Barbara Bauer at
573 445-2918

Please send announcements in the body of an email only.  We cannot accept attachments of any kind.  Not-for-profit announcements are free of charge.  For-profit announcements require a nominal fee.  Any candidate running for unpaid public service positions, e.g. city council and school board, may run event announcements free of charge. 

Note on announcements from government agencies:  With some exceptions, we only accept announcements from elected officials. 

Mike Martin
Editor in Chief
The Columbia Heart Beat


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