Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sarah Janecek Gives 

PrezK the Wire Brush Treatment

Those of us who've been involved in Minnesota politics know Sara Janecek, someone who used to be called a political "activist." Unfortunately this word has taken on a new meaning recently, that of grenade thrower. 

Fortunately, Sarah, has not reverted to this type.  She used to sit often on the Almanac couch, although nowadays, not so often.  One of my friends who is a Republican - yes, I have some - said that she is insightful, even the Republicans hate her.  That's good enough for me.

(emphasis mine)

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler asks Minnesota to “Judge the U on what it does going forward.”

Fair enough. The guy has held the top job for less than a year.

His commentary is in response to:

1.  Criticism of Kaler’s decision to keep former U of M athletic director Joel Maturi on the payroll for another year at $351,900.

2.  Former U of M president Bob Bruininks feathering his future nest by directing $355,000 from one University account to pay for staff at a new U job that will pay him $341,000 a year — after having served as U president to the tune of an annual salary and benefits package totaling more than $730,000 a year.

3.  Under Bruininks, former U of M administrators were given paid time-outs to “transition” back to lesser but still lucrative new jobs at the U at a total cost of $2.8 million.

4.  The U’s Dean of Nursing, Connie Delaney, and her use of her department budget to give her brother a job, hire a former student for a faculty position while he held a full-time job in Iowa, pay outside consultants $350,000. And she created and environment in which 100 of 150 people in the department left.

Kaler takes full responsibility for Maturi:

I anticipated that this would be controversial, and it was. Consistent with my commitment to transparency, I didn’t hide from this controversy. I was clear about my intentions and rationale, and open about Joel’s privately funded compensation and the results we expect from him.

Unfortunately, Kaler remains silent on Bruininks and the $2.8 million payola for former administrators. Both of which happened under Bruininks’ watch.

As for Delaney, under Kaler’s watch, her cronyism and mismanagement were “punished” with a “formal reprimand” that included stripping her of hiring authority for positions of 30 hours a week or more until June 2013.

Kaler further writes “Leading a culture change at this or any university takes time. But I am determined to move us from an entrenched default mode of ‘no, we can’t” to one of ‘yes, we can do things differently.’”
In my book, Delaney’s formal reprimand is not a culture change.  Not addressing Bruininks’ feathering his own nest and the nests of other top administrators is not a culture change.

It is status quo. Business as usual.

Bold leadership would have addressed what Bruininks did, head on. One can only surmise that Kaler won’t do that because the rules of the highly paid university administration club include not criticizing your predecessors because after all, sooner or later Kaler will be the outgoing president. Kaler may want to cut his own sweet “transition” deal.

Culture-changing leadership would have canned Delaney.

The question now becomes, “What, exactly, is Kaler culture?”
Status quo? Business as usual?
So far, that’s all I see.

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