Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Incredible Shrinking Capital Request

Yes, the administration does need to "Take Action" to restore trust in its use of public and private funds. The University is now at risk of losing the continuing goodwill and financial support of donors, state legislators, and the public at large.  This is the true cost of the compensation of "top talent" in the administration revealed in recent news reports and subjected to scathing comments by the editors and readers of the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.   See U Executives Paid Handsomely and The Gift That Keeps Giving.
The 2012 Capital Request submitted by the U of M administration requests $169.5 million in state bonds, including $90 million in HEAPR bonds for the renovation and repair of existing academic facilities.  Governor Dayton has proposed $78 million, including $20 million in HEAPR bonds.  The GOP chair of the House Capital Investment Committee has proposed $39 million, including $35 million in HEAPR bonds.  See the January 28, 2012 Star Tribune report  and the March 19, 2012 MPR report.  On Wednesday the Capital Invesment Committee in the state Senate passed its bonding bill with the same amounts as proposed in the GOP House bill.  See the March 29, 2012 report in the Star Tribune.
If there is any doubt that state legislators are upset with the actions and omissions of  the past and present leadership of the University, consider that the Senate bill awards $127 million in bonds to MnSCU, more than the $111 million proposed by the governor and far more than the amount awarded to the University.  "I have never seen such a low number for the University," remarked Sen. Sandra Pappas, the ranking minority member of the Higher Education Committee and a state legislator since 1984.  See the March 29, 2012 report in the Pioneer Press.
So far the current administration has failed to take any effective remedial action to restore confidence in its ability to be a prudent steward of the financial resources of the University.  Until it does so, it has little chance of convincing the governor or the state legislators to support the Capital Request of the University.  See the final paragraphs of The Cost of "Top Talent" Part II.     

Michael W. McNabb
University of Minnesota B.A. 1971; J.D. 1974
University of Minnesota Alumni Association life member

Added Later

The immediate response of President Kaler bemoans the "woefully inadequate" bonding bill and warns of "shifting even more of the financing burden to students."  See the March 29 Star Tribune report
The state legislators and the general public were outraged by the news reports of extravagant compensation awarded to senior administrators at a time of skyrocketing tuition.  Actions are necessary to restore trust in the management of the financial resources of the University before the legislature will be willing to approve a larger bonding bill.
Yet the president does not request the departing senior administrators to relinquish their "transitional" compensation or their golden parachutes.  Nor does he offer to set an example by relinquishing his right to receive $610,000 in "transitional" compensation when he leaves office.
The president speaks of a "change of culture" and asks to be judged on his actions.  See Kaler Repeats Plea. But his warning to students (and their parents) simply follows the declaration of the Bruininks administration that "tuition is the revenue stream with the highest potential for significant, long term growth."   See section 4 in Going To Market Part II.  His words will fall on deaf ears at the legislature until his actions show a change of course.  See Course Correction in Higher Education.
Michael W. McNabb

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Cost of "Top Talent"

 Part III

On March 6 President Kaler told state legislators that the current compensation of senior administrators is necessary "in a highly competitive global market for top talent."  See The Cost of "Top Talent"

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and The Outliers.  Here are excerpts from his July 22, 2002 essay in The New Yorker entitled: The Talent Myth

This "talent mind-set" is the new orthodoxy of American management.  It is the intellectual justification for why such a high premium is placed on degrees from first-tier business schools and why the compensation packages for top executives have become so lavish.  In the modern corporation the system is considered only as strong as its stars, and in the past few years this message has been preached by consultants and management gurus all over the world.  None, however, have spread the word quite so ardently as McKinsey [consulting company] and, of all its clients, one firm took the talent mind-set closest to heart.  It was a company where McKinsey conducted twenty separate projects, where McKinsey's billings topped $10 million a year, where a McKinsey director regularly attended board meetings, and where the CEO himself was a former McKinsey partner.  The company, of course, was Enron. . . .
The broader failing of McKinsey and its acolytes at Enron is their assumption that an organization's intelligence is simply a function of the intelligence of its employees.  They believe in stars because they don't believe in systems.  In a way that's understandable because our lives are so obviously enriched by individual brilliance.  Groups don't write great novels, and a committee didn't come up with the theory of relativity.  But companies work by different rules.  They don't just create; they execute and compete and coordinate the efforts of many different people, and the organizations that are most successful at that task are the ones where the system is the star. . . .
The talent myth assumes that people make organizations smart.  More often than not, it's the other way around.
The Talent Myth reprinted in What The Dog Saw (New York:  Little, Brown & Co. 2009) (emphasis added).   

Now we have seen the emergence of the modern corporate university.  The leaders of our non-profit institutions of higher education proclaim superior talent as the intellectual justification for lavish compensation.
These senior administrators all pursue the elusive goals of higher rankings and lucrative returns on their multi-billion dollar investments in research to be obtained by "technology transfer."  When state legislatures fail to provide sufficient funds, the leaders finance their grandiose plans with skyrocketing tuition.  Easy credit in the form of student loans sucks students and their parents into the gathering financial storm.
Yet the senior administrators are by now so far removed from the economic lives of students and their parents that they are oblivious to the economic hardship imposed by the skyrocketing tuition.  So they continue to use the financial resources of the university to enrich themselves with extravagant annual compensation, "transitional" compensation, and golden parachutes.  This misuse of the public and private funds entrusted to the university is the reason for the public outrage that is now being expressed.
President Kaler asks to be judged by his actions.  His first act should deal with the immediate issue that served as the spark for the current firestrom.  He can take that act on his own and begin the process of restoring the ideals of public service at the U of M.  See the final paragraphs of The Cost of "Top Talent" Part II.
Michael W. McNabb
University of Minnesota B.A. 1971; J.D. 1974
University of Minnesota Alumni Association life member

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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Unfortunately, the Delaney Situation

at the University of Minnesota

Is Just Another Chapter in a Sad Book

A brief history of recent medical scandals 

at the University of Minnesota

 For those who are new to the U and wondering about the public beating being administered in response to the latest scandal in the School of Nursing, here's a rundown of some of the other recent scandals in the Academic Health Center:

The chair of laboratory medicine and pathology secretly funnels $500,00 in university grant money to his private company and sells it for $9.5 million in stock.  The dean puts him in charge of developing a new ethics policy.

Two professors are indicted for fraud and double-dipping in Georgia.  They still hold their positions at the university.

The chief of spine surgery is targeted by the US Senate for failing to disclose over a million dollars in consulting fees from Medtronic. He is not disciplined.

A mentally ill young man is coerced into an industry-sponsored drug study over the objections of his mother and commits suicide.  The university refuses calls for an external panel to investigate.

The chair of psychiatry is implicated in the manipulation of research data (twice) by a pharmaceutical company.  The vice-president of the AHC responds: "I think the role of university professors, particularly in health sciences, is to engage with the pharmaceutical industry and the device industry." 

Add to that the newspaper reports of financial mismanagement, misappropriation of research funds and double-dipping, snooping into private medical records, and falsifying scientific data, and it's no wonder people are upset.  
But will anything change?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Minnesota Daily Criticizes Culture 

at the University of Minnesota in 

Delaney Editorial

U’s nepotism violates trust

Dean Delaney’s hiring practices are a symptom of an unhealthy culture.
Earlier this month, Connie Delaney, dean of the University of Minnesota’s nursing school, was formally reprimanded for questionable hiring practices. According to a Star Tribune report, Delaney used nepotism and favoritism when exercising her hiring authority. Now, that hiring authority has been revoked until June of 2013.

This news comes on the heels of increased public scrutiny of the University administration concerning “golden parachutes” given out to top administrators under former President Bob Bruininks and to athletics director Joel Maturi under current President Eric Kaler, as well as recent revelations of similar hiring practices at the University’s School of Dentistry.

As Kaler pushes to repair the University’s increasingly tarnished image, such practices cannot go unnoticed. Delaney’s attitude about the reprimand is evidence enough that such practices were commonplace and even acceptable for quite some time.

In an interview with the Star Tribune, Delaney brushed off the reprimand while promoting her strong leadership at the nursing school. With a staff turnover of 100 out of 150 over the past six years, Delaney’s leadership claim appears quite dubious. Many of her own hires have been found double-dipping between employers while others have racked up enormous expense accounts through outside contracting. The Kaler administration must act now to salvage the University’s once-positive image in the public sphere.
As students, citizens and legislators alike wrestle with increased funding and tuition costs, Minnesota’s flagship university must clean up its own backyard and stop spending the public’s dime and trust in such an irresponsible fashion.

President Kaler Repeats Earlier Plea:

Judge the U Going Forward Under His Watch

[Added later: I have just received an email from the University of Minnesota that makes the absurd claim: "The piece has been warmly received." Please read the article and the comments cited below. There needs to be a reality check at the U very soon.  Such a claim, in light of the facts, just heaps more logs on the flames of outrage currently being experienced by Minnesota voters, parents, and past, present, or future students at the U of M. ]

As the leader of the University of Minnesota, I welcome a close look at how we do things. We are the state's university, and we need the public's confidence. I know we must earn it everyday.
Recent Star Tribune coverage has focused on the way the U has conducted business. I take full responsibility for all that happens here.
But where I can have impact isn't by looking in the rearview mirror. My most important role is to chart the road ahead.
I have committed to doing things differently. I am reviewing the effectiveness of programs, policies and practices, and I will make every decision with a single focus in mind: what is best for our students.
I need all Minnesotans to join me in supporting state investments in our state's only land-grant, public research university. But I know that to gain your support, you must have confidence in the U and in my decisions.
Not everyone will agree with every decision. But I want you to know that all of my decisions rest on three guiding principles:
1. Put students first. Create value for them and their families by reducing administrative costs and investing in academic excellence.
2. Advance research and innovation globally, while solving the state's most vexing problems.
3. Partner across industries to create jobs and advance prosperity across our state.
Take my decision to seek a new athletic director, but also to retain Joel Maturi for another year, primarily as a fundraiser. 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.
Or look at my first capital request to the Legislature. Sensitive to the state's budget challenges, our request is modest, reflecting my commitment to stewardship. It ensures that our infrastructure is upgraded and energy-efficient, thus cutting costs long-term.
Among the decisions I have made that put students first was one last summer to use additional state funding to reduce this fall's planned tuition increase from 5 percent to 3.5 percent. That will be the lowest tuition increase this century.
Or examine my budget outline for 2013. It improves education, reduces costs and positions the university for global excellence.
I am investing $21 million to support innovative academic programs and new faculty. It will be competitively awarded. I have budgeted a 2.5 percent compensation increase for faculty and staff.
Our terrific group of employees, like many in the state, have sacrificed through three years of pay freezes, furloughs, layoffs and increased health care costs.
To be more effective and efficient, I have proposed a year-round academic calendar to help students graduate earlier and make better and higher use of our classrooms and labs; I have asked our deans to evaluate 265 centers and institutes, and we are finding cost savings by reducing bureaucracy and improving work processes across our organization.
As I promised when I took office in July, I am holding the line on administrative costs. For the fiscal year 2013, the increase in administration costs at the university is going to be zero.
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."
The recent reports are troubling to me, but it is critical to place them in context. This university has a $3.7 billion annual operating budget. More than 69,000 students are educated on our five campuses and earn more than 14,000 degrees every year.
We have 500,000 alumni around the world. In the past two years, our faculty and researchers have attracted $1.5 billion to the state in research grants. For every dollar the state invests in the university, we generate $13.20 in economic activity statewide, a return on investment of more than 13 to 1.
I expect and welcome close scrutiny of the decisions my team and I make to move the University of Minnesota forward.
I expect to be judged on what I do and, more important, on whether or not my decisions steer a path to a stronger future for the university, for the state we serve and for the state's future leaders, our students.
Eric W. Kaler is president of the University of Minnesota.

Some comments from the Star-Tribune web site:

Mr Kaler, I applaud your article. I hope that you will take real action to the misbehavior at the U in recent months. I work in the private sector and we are not nearly as tolerant of unethical behavior as you seem to be. These are grown up people who make a good living and if your current culture makes it OK to do these kinds of things you need to take action and change it with consequences. Until the public sees otherwise, we will see the U as it is today. An unethical, ineffective and bloated dinosaur.

We aren't asking you to fix what has taken place. We need you to ensure the nonsense never happens again. That means some people need to fired. That means the cronyism stops now. And most of all, it means that you and the legislature need to perform a line by line audit of the U of MN budget and root out the waste, fraud, routing of funds to pet projects, etc. Please do not come asking for money until you get this university operating within a reasonable level of financial responsibility.

Good article but we prefer to base our judgments on the past and the present and not on politically-spun rhetoric, in other words, actions speak louder than words! If recent decisions/lack of action (Maturi, Bruininks and now Delaney) are indicative of how you will make decisions then your article is nothing but grandstanding. You have the ability to reverse the golden parachute of Bruininks and his cronies, you have the opportunity to do more than "reprimand" Delaney but you choose not to do so. Many posts about Delaney are from individuals who worked in her department and they all relate the same malfeasance and mismanagement, nepotism and ineptitude but her total punishment consisted of a verbal reprimand and the inability to hire a full time staff person for one year....that's hardly what I would call accountability and thus your words ring rather hollow to me.

This is a joke...RIGHT??? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice....

President Kaler - By taking responsibility for past indiscretions you put yourself into a mess that didn't happen on your watch. Uber foolhardy. We want you to do well. As Minnesotans we don't expect you to take responsibility for other's actions. But we do expect you to show leadership and change the culture. Along the way it would help if you showed the citizens of Minnesota - who pay the bills - some ethical butt-kicking of those who created the mess and brought shame to the U of M.

Mr. Kaler. The world is different outside the U o fM. Budgets are pinched and we do more with less. There is no reason for excesses in the academic world that we are seeing. The U of M is in business to educate, so please run it like a business to get the best value for the dollar spent. That's the way to serve the students first.

The article is right. Don't judge the U of Minn on the last forty years of missteps and questionable decisions. Instead plow more money into to the U to make it a world class institution once again.

"Don't look back"? Aren't we taxpayers at least able to look back a little? To the day that Dr. Kaler extended a platinum parachute to the retiring AD, Mr. Maturi, who can not possibly raise more than he will cost in lost contributions from all sources. I hate to be so pessimistic, because I want to be very proud of or flagship university, but she is listing hard to port, and in danger of sinking.

What a crock. University administrators hiring their buddies at $400k a year so they can come back and be "professors"? Or "special assistants"? Maybe they could learn nursing, in the nursing school, where the same scam is going on? If you're 70 years old (I'm 65), why don't you retire and let someone in their 30's become a "professor", at a rate that is probably 25% of what they pay for "past expertise". Sickening.

The waste of taxpayers money and the rising cost of tuition caused by outlandish salaries and administrative costs should be regulated by the legislature. Is everyone asleep at the switch? It sickens me to see these benefits and golden parachutes when most of us can barely afford health care and help our grandchildren attend the U---which would be a great adventure.

I hope the U gets it's act together, but I'll believe it when I see it. Let's hope that 10-15 years from now, the articles are different from the ones that have been in the Strib over the last few weeks.

With all due respect, President Kaler: You ask us to judge you by your actions. Fair enough. So now we've read your words and are waiting for those actions. What are you actually going to do to about a dean who shows a persistent pattern of not understanding basic ethics? (Does one need to be told it's unethical to hire one's own brother? And when one's hands are slapped once for hiring someone on a double-dipping arrangement (Jacko) and then turns around and does it again (Clancy)? Is this person even susceptible to learning right from wrong? Keeping this dean would be a powerful statement to our community about U of M ethical standards — or lack thereof. Meanwhile, what would it do to the morale and reputation of the embattled School of Nursing?

President Kaler I applaud your response to the article about Dean Delaney however the School of Nursing needs change in leadership and that change begins with you. You owe this to the students, alum, faculty and staff at the School of Nursing. You also owe this to the many faculty members at the Academic Health Center that Dean Delaney chooses not to work well with. Because her leadership responsibilities extend far beyond the School of Nursing, I will point out that her actions impact far more than the SON. As a former employee that worked closely with Dean Delaney, I can assure you that her leadership and representation is very partial. She surrounds herself with a team of people that support her without question, and does not always look after the University's best interest. Far beyond the issues Tony Kennedy was able to substantiate are a host of other mismanaged relationships or events that have unfortunately been unilaterally decided by Dean Delaney. She will continue this pattern unless you take a very aggressive approach to stopping it!

Mr. Kaler, for the most part I wasn't impressed with your piece and I'll tell you why. Most of the commenters here have it right. Nobody wants to read about what you are going to do, or how you shouldn't be judged for past misconduct by others. People around here would have preferred to have seen some action, some no-nonsense, in your face, there's the door type of consequences for much of what has gone on over there since you've been here and before. You knew when you took the job of all the past criminal, unethical, immoral behavior of certain administrators, deans, especially the medical school, clinical trial investigators etc etc. I assumed you had a game plan to make changes. This piece tells me you didn't. Sounds more like some political advertisement. Elect me president and I'll change everything in this country. Everything will be better. Just wait and see. Well Mr. are President...and so far it's been the norm...broken promises. And by the way...are you backing the bioethics professors who have been challenged for just doing their job. Haven't seen any action yet.

The op-ed is spot on when it comes to the role of the university and its focus on research and teaching. What is lacking is some commitment to change the culture and ethics of the U. The public has no sympathy for poor personnel decisions. How can you move forward when you have a dean that has chased 100 nursing faculty away? How many research dollars fled with them? Where is your new ethics policy? I am waiting.

Actions speak louder than words. So far we have seen no positive actions, only words.

Yes of course unethical behavior does occur in the private sector but the consequences are swift and harsh once discovered. They would have immediately fired the Nursing School leader as opposed to "increased supervision on future hiring decisions". The private sector also has something called upward feedback. If leaders are receiving bad feedback from employees and turnover is high, corrective action occurs quickly or again you are fired. The private sector can't afford to ignore or bury problems like that. Apparently the U looks the other way or provides a small reprimand.
George Santayana (1863 – 1952), a Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist once said that “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”

As others have said, actions speak louder than words, and until he does something about these recent actions, payouts to Maturi, the UMD provost, and this Nursing leader, all his words mean nothing. He had to do a piece like this while legislature is in session. As U alum, it will be a long time before I make any more donations, until after I have seen some changes.

As for his decisions, Kaler needs to understand that the high profile decisions made, especially regarding Joel Maturi but of course not limited to him, are wildly unpopular with the bosses, who are of course the taxpayers of Minnesota. Fix those decisions. Then we'll talk about going forward.

I agree with most. Just words with no action, the U of M has turned into a money pit. President Kaler should have fired Delaney if he wanted to show he means business, instead he does the usual slap on the wrist and don't get caught again.

My #1 pet peeve of all time. What good does it do when you say "I take full responsiblity for.... whatever it may be. You hear it so often nowadays that it truly means nothing. With Kaler taking "full responsibility" is he stepping down, or firing some of the wrongdoers?  I don't think so. The words mean nothing Mr.Kaler. Try holding those accountable?  Now that sounds good! Won't happen.

Mr. Kaler, The best predictor of future performance is past performance. Given the recent actions by U administration, your words do little to assure the taxpaying public that things will change.

I just received an email stating now is a good time to make a contribution to the U based on Eric's OpEd in today's Strib. Wow! I sure hope he reads the many comments to see how out-of-synch he is with MN residents and alumni.

A positive course of action. Then achieving positive results. Which is not what we have seen at the U of M. Actions speak louder than words. Promising "Hope and Change" may have worked for some politicians in the short term, but we need more than empty promises to restore our faith in the U of M. Don't tell us. SHOW US your words aren't empty.

When Will the Insanity End 

at the University of Minnesota?

Cy Wakeman, was hired to teach a "reality-based'' philosophy that "helps individuals and organizations recreate their mindsets so they can achieve results beyond their wildest dreams.'' (at $5000/Day)

(Sunday article, front page, above the fold)

Rebuked U dean's hires get scrutiny

A prominent dean at the University of Minnesota has used 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 and pay consulting fees to two people with ties to her school's fundraising arm, campus records show.
Connie Delaney, head of the U's School of Nursing, was formally reprimanded this month for one of the hiring moves after questions were raised by the Star Tribune. Provost Karen Hanson found that Delaney violated university policy and stripped her of hiring authority for positions of 30 hours a week or more until June 2013.
Documents reviewed by the Star Tribune also show that Delaney has spent nearly $350,000 on outside consultants over the past six years -- three times more than the average spent by five other schools at the U. That includes $5,000 per day to a management consultant who provides "reality-based'' leadership coaching and charges the university as much as $250 per hour for phone consultations. 
"The speed at which this school has transformed itself is remarkably wonderful,'' Delaney said in an interview. She said the reprimand speaks for itself, and she will follow it.
Nonetheless, Delaney's tenure has been marked by staff tension and turnover. In a staff of roughly 150, more than 100 people have left in the past six years -- including many she hired.
A review of university documents also shows that Delaney was involved in the controversial hiring of Julie Jacko, the former Georgia Tech University professor who was recruited to Minnesota along with her husband, Francois Sainfort. The two were indicted one year ago in Georgia on fraud charges for allegedly drawing full-time salaries from both schools, improper expense billings and lying about their employment.
"I want to thank you for your very proactive role in my recruitment,'' Jacko wrote to Delaney in a September 2007 e-mail.
An e-mail response from Delaney said: "We are both movers, and respect but do not let issues obstruct progress ...''
Two jobs
As the Jacko-Sainfort case first made headlines in the spring of 2008, Delaney had another case of dual employment on her hands.
According to university documents, Delaney recruited and hired Thomas R. Clancy as a clinical professor starting in August 2007. Delaney had been Clancy's Ph.D. adviser when she taught at the University of Iowa.
At the time, Clancy was a top-level administrator at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, a full-time position he kept, with Delaney's knowledge, for more than a year after she hired him to the U's faculty, university records show.
Records show that Clancy worked 100 percent time in Iowa and 75 percent time at the U for 17 months. His U position paid benefits and a salary of $75,000. The hospital also was aware of the situation, and Delaney was impressed with Clancy's output, according to an internal U of M report in response to Star Tribune inquiries.
"Clancy could do most of his work online, with minimal commuting time,'' the report said.
In January 2009, when Clancy cut back to a 20 percent schedule at the Iowa hospital, Delaney gave him a full-time appointment at the U. Delaney said Clancy had important family reasons for staying in Iowa, and it was April 2010 before he moved his family to Minnesota to be on site daily at the U, records show.
Hanson, the provost, concluded that the university "clearly got value'' from Clancy during his dual employment, and she didn't hold him responsible for the violation of university rules.
She did note, however, that Clancy's full-time work in Iowa was not formally reported to the U, as required, and she concluded that the hiring violated Regents policy.
Delaney's brother, E. Clark White, received a pair of consulting contracts in late 2006 and 2007. He stayed until a whistleblower called attention to the arrangement.
In an interview, Delaney said she was new to the dean's office and alarmed by its inefficiencies. Her brother had managed subsidized housing and was meticulous about office management, she said.
"I brought him quickly on board ... to attend to a crisis situation,'' Delaney said. "We had to turn things around in this office right now.''

Delaney and Terry Bock, associate vice president and chief of staff for the Academic Health Center, said they had a management plan to make an exception to the university's nepotism and conflict-of-interest rules. White wouldn't report to his sister, but to Bock for the first contract and to Delaney's chief operating officer for the second, Bock said.
The dean's brother overran the $2,000 limit on his initial, $65-an-hour contract, requiring an urgent round of paperwork to extend the contract and add $1,012.
"I need this approved an encumbered ASAP as a special favor to Dean Delaney,'' an accounts specialist wrote on Jan. 19, 2007, to an administrator in central purchasing.
In June 2007, well into White's second contract, central purchasing received information about the arrangement that it forwarded to Dick Bianco, then chair of the Institutional Conflict Review Board.
In a confidential e-mail to Cerra, the Medical School dean who also headed the Academic Health Center, Bianco wrote that Delaney "did not disclose these conflicts prior to awarding these contracts. This raises both institutional and personal conflict issues.''
Less than 36 hours later, Bock terminated White's contract and the case was later closed without disciplinary action, records show.
In hindsight, Delaney said, she made a mistake. "If I had to do it over, I wouldn't do it. Because of the perception. The perception of conflict of interest,'' she said.
Said Hanson, "We are satisfied Dean Delaney recognized the technical problem when it occurred and resolved it.''
Leadership coach
... Delaney's spending on outside consultants is far out of the norm at the university. Since January 2006 she has outspent five other deans, randomly chosen, by an average of three to one. Records show $348,456 worth of contracts for professional service at the School of Nursing in that time compared with an average total of $102,000 at the five other schools: Law, Pharmacy, Liberal Arts, Science and Engineering ,and the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences.
One consultant, an Omaha-based leadership coach named Cy Wakeman, was hired to teach a "reality-based'' philosophy that "helps individuals and organizations recreate their mindsets so they can achieve results beyond their wildest dreams.''
Under contracts personally administered by Delaney, Wakeman draws $5,000 a day for site visits, plus travel expenses, and $250 an hour for phone consultations. Records from one of the contracts indicate that Delaney did not shop for a lower-cost provider, but university rules don't require competitive bids for contracts under $50,000.
In two other cases, Delaney granted consulting contracts to Twin Cities professionals who served with her on the board of the Nursing School's fundraising foundation. Janet Stacey, a member of the foundation board and a vice president at Padilla Speer Beardsley, a public relations and marketing firm, was a principal on a contract for up to $14,000 for an assessment of the school's communications work. Christine Seitz, a past chair of the foundation, has signed five contracts since 2009 worth $114,000, for projects including "strategic repositioning'' of the foundation.
Neither Delaney nor Hanson said they saw a conflict in giving university business to Seitz and Stacey.
Delaney said the foundation is not a legal corporation, but a group of volunteers who donate "humongous'' hours. Hanson said Seitz was selected for her expertise in planning and because she has the foundation's trust.
Delaney said her use of consultants, in general, is normal.
"There are times when you bring in an external consultancy to validate, to help facilitate change,'' she said.
Addressing heavy staff departures, Delaney said: "There has been turnover.'' She attributed it to the fast-paced change that she was hired to instill.

Some comments from the Star-Tribune web site:

The article nails the issues pretty well. Obvious the nursing dean has got to go. I cannot believe the continued mismanagement issues we see at the U of M.  

The U needs to uncover every stone and clean this mess up. This is a disgrace in what used to be a decent educational institution.

She lost "some authority"? She should've been fired!

This high-level corruption is depressing, but simply cutting funding to the university in response to these scandals will only lead to higher tuition and a degraded education--fewer classes, more students, less learning. In other words, it will only hurt the students--graduates who are important to the economic success of the state. We need to actually target the problem. Perhaps the state could say that future funding increases will only be granted if the university caps salaries for administrators and has greater oversight of deans and presidents.

"Records show that Clancy worked 100 percent time in Iowa and 75 percent time at the U for 17 months" this an example of "fuzzy math"? When I got my alumni donation request in the mail recently, it quickly found the shredder. I have attempted to do my part in helping the U of M to reduce expenses and live within its' budget....I sent them a letter and told them to save the postage on any further mailings.

The proud moments for the U keep streaming in. Glad the Strib reporters are doing their jobs.

As a former School of Nursing employee, working directly with Dean Delaney, this article merely uncovers a small portion of her bad choices. Kudos to Tony Kennedy for writing it.

Just another chapter in the book that keeps writing itself over at the UMN. As a resident of Minnesota I am totally ashamed and embarrassed that this crap has gone on at the University unabated for so long and nobody has done anything about it. It seems to be one scandal after another over there, and I'm not sure scandal is the right word. The University of Minnesota is totally unable to police themselves and hold themselves accountable for anything. Morals and ethics it appears are not being offered at any level. It seems that the preferred personality over there for deans and administrators and certain clinical trial investigators is narcissistic, and if confronted with anything the desired response is deny...deny...deny.

Double dipping seems to be the norm at the U. The past two weeks have been eye opening about the actions of management at the U. And Kaler is out asking for support, "call your legislators". Clean up your house.

This kind of thing has been part of the culture from the top (see previous stories about former Pres) - see also defense in the Strib just a few days by several current deans of Bruininks. It's OK to pay modest salaries there to secretaries & custodians, but the "big boys and girls" get hundreds of thousands/year, waive requirements of paying back funds if people leave after sabbaticals, and as Pres B showed, can shift hundreds of thousands into the area where he is going to work. Will the new Pres clean house? Will he enforce conflict of interest?

Staff have churned for six years under the divisive, abusive and ethically challenged leadership of this nurse (!), exacting a high toll on employees and sending many of them to seek psychological help. It’s a corrupt and fear-infused working environment hardly suited for preparing young people to conduct a career that requires the highest moral and humanitarian values. Will this new administration “see no evil,” and hide behind a bureaucratic slap on the wrist? Or will it take the samples of moral confusion outlined in this story seriously, protect employees who are willing to call out wrongdoing and take appropriate action? Is anybody listening?

Why does the University not realize how important it is to fire this woman and investigate criminal malfeasance in the case?

She should be in jail.

The University's athletic teams struggle, but at least we maintain the number one spot in the nation regarding idiocy. Well done!

A hundred people left the School of Nursing...What did these people write on their exit survey? The Board of Regents needs to remove this Dean and clean house in the legal department. We continue to see the same problems, time and again and that should be attributed to a weak legal department!

So here's this total staff of 150 people, and *six years* later and and after staff turnover of *100* that continues to this day, this dean still can't figure out how to solve her administrative problems for what is probably the U's tiniest school! And here's the ripe part: That's after $348,456 worth of consulting contracts, which amounts to $2,323 per employee. She appears to be not only unethical but incompetent.

Kaler....Maturi.....Brunnicks....Delaney....... Sviggum......UM Regents....slush funds, etc., all their assistants, families and friends, sounds like quite the gravy train going on at the U. I wonder when our legislators are going to finally say "enough is enough." These actions border on the criminal and it's the students who pay the consequences.

Delaney was "formally reprimanded and can't hire any fulltime employees for a whole year"...boy! I bet that set her back on her heels, let's hope she doesn't decide to sue the U for cruel and unusual punishment!

I too am a former SoN employee. I got along with Connie, but we all questioned her ability to make the right decisions when it came to managing the departments. We did have the highest turnover rates at the U, and some was directly because of her, but other times it was due to the mid-level managers and department heads who had no clue on how to lead or manage their staff. She would continually hire or renew these individuals who had no business being there, forcing those of us with integrity and the knowledge to get the place in shape, out. I also had the dubious pleasure of working with the consultants and fundraising board who were some of the biggest waste of funds. Between the constant hand holding and $15 per plate lunches over SoN Foundation’s monthly board meetings, the ROI in funds raised was hardly worth it. Not all of these individuals were like that, some were genuinely concerned about the School and genuinely concerned about its poor leadership, but their contributions were often overshadowed by all the daily dysfunction there. At any rate, I’m glad to see my concerns validated in this report. Thank you!

Ethical lapses and mismanagement of this nature gets people fired in the private sector. At the U of MN they lose a little authority . Amazing. Just another in a growing list of waste and fraud. Yet we hear a constent mantra that taxpayers don't provide enough. Clean this cesspool up before they get another penny.

The fiduciary responsibility of the U is atrocious. Why should taxpayers pour any more money into this financial sinkhole until it cleans up its act. No oversight plus an elitist entitlement psychology.

This again shows how out of touch the U has become. The mismanagement and lack of economic understanding is astounding. As a parent who is sending a child to community college because of the high and rising costs of the U I am outraged.  

Has the legal department reported the letter of reprimand to the Minnesota Board of Nursing? Her conduct is "unethical" and a mandatory reporting element under the Nurse Practice Act.

I have been educated at, worked, and rallied for the U during the last 25 years. As it is now, I no longer support it and strongly believe the legislature should limit funding. I do not trust the the administration will use money wisely for students, education, and staff - rather than themselves.

It all starts at the top. If it was alright for Bruininks to "feather his nest" why shouldn't everyone else. At least Bruininks isn't President any longer. Maybe the new President will provide some leadership, maybe even lead by example. First order of business should get rid of Bruininks and Maturi and the other staffers who are "retired" but still collecting six figure salaries.

I was a university administrator for 12 years in the UW-System. I am shocked by the behavior of top administrators at the University of Minnesota and the lack of oversight by the regents and university president. While this article is alarming in the consistent breach of ethics, it is more disconcerting to realize how many faculty have left the school. I would challenge anyone to find a top tier research institution that has lost the same percentage of faculty as the U's School of Nursing. Where is the leadership for the "U"?

It's the School of Nursing's version of the Hunger Games with the weary staff serving as expendable tributes in the troubled districts and faculty--the chosen few at least--enjoying a Capitol existence. These are the dark days. "And may the odds be ever in your favor."

It's not just the money. This really reflects badly on the U of M. I would agree that she should be fired, no severance for gross mismanagement. The only way to clean it up is to get rid of bad eggs. That would make a statement this type of conduct won't be tolerated.

I have two degrees from the U of M and had an excellent education there. It is very difficult for me to imagine the environment in the school of nursing at this time. Professors getting full salaries from the U while employed and living elsewhere is criminal. Jacko and Sainfort made more than $500,000 together at the U in 2010 while facing felony charges at Georgia Tech for double dipping. And they are still at the U making those salaries! $5,000 a day consultant is unconscionable. Every staff has some weeding out with new directors, but 2/3 of the staff and faculty leaving in 6 years is a sign of chaos not orderly transition. Who is in charge here? Numerous people hired without adherence to university policy and Delaney only get her hand mildly slapped after the Strib investigates. I hope President Kahler, sees the corruption, the cronyism, and the mismanagement and makes the needed changes for the U of M to be the ethical, top-notch university it strives to be.

What is going on over at the University. Who has the oversight for these incredible wasteful expenditures? Would all of this just continued as SOP had it not been for Tony Kennedy and his investigative reporting? This is some seriously concerning information and significant changes need to be made now! Thank you Mr. Kennedy keep up the good work.

It is very obvious the U of M as lost all ability to police its self concerning other peoples money. It is just one joke after another at the U. Perhaps the new dean will make changes, but I doubt it. There is just to much of the mentality of "You take care of me and I will take care of you." Shame on the U of M. The beat goes on.

I am an alumnus of the school of nursing, and am quite disappointed to read this. How does anyone continue to be employed with this kind of unethical decision making? What else don't we know about? I will not make any further contributions to the University until this kind of mess is cleaned up. No wonder U of M costs are so high few can afford it.

As an employee in the Medical School, I can tell you that the administrative and accounting sectors are profoundly corrupt. As tax payers, the AHC should get $0 until outside investigators (i.e., the Feds) audit the place. Disgusting.

The regular stories about the U's misbehavior and worse are, indeed, alarming. However, what is more disconcerting is the unacceptable failure of the Minnesota Legislature to take swift and decisive action to clean up our state's academic rat's nest. Meanwhile, the costs continue to skyrocket for the students of the U. Student costs could undoubtedly be dramatically reduced if the unethical extravagance and probable fraud in the University's administration were cleaned up by our legislature, which heretofore, has only been a demonstrated "heads in the sand" malfeasance.

How can anyone, let alone the Dean of a university graduate school, think that hiring their brother on a contract was OK? Or that hiring someone already working full time,was OK? There has to be a story on the consultant who she paid $250 an hour for phone consults. How many other stories was Star Tribune unable to find? Will they now move her into a less visible position, at the same salary? If Kaler doesn't quickly begin to lead a housecleaning of the whole U of M system,he should be swept out too.

As a deeply committed alum, I believe that with authority comes responsibility and consequences for violation of that responsibility. Dean Delaney shows a long-standing pattern of disregard for due process and ethical standards that accompany the position of Dean. She should be removed from her position as Dean as a clear expression of institutional standards, consistent with President Kaler's call for transparency and integrity. President Kaler calls the U to aspire to a vision of integrity and ethical leadership. I support this call and urge him to take swift action that communicates these standards and vision.

Such flagrant abuses of taxpayer dollars are truly unacceptable within an institution as respected as the U of MN. As a loyal alumni and donor, I am deeply concerned by the fact that Dean Delaney only lost her hiring privileges following the exposure of her ethical incompetencies. This is a critical opportunity for the U to demonstrate that it is truly committed to the responsible management of our hard earned resources. It is clear that Dean Delaney should be asked to step down from her current position. Please help restore my confidence in the U of MN!

Given President Kaler's response yesterday to the article about the Dean in Nursing, it appears the University will do, once again, what it has done before – fail to take a hard look at why patterns of unethical and illegal behaviors can continue in a system that supposedly has policies to prevent this sort of thing. Rather, they will focus on all the good things happening at the U and hope the public looks the other way. As a UMN graduate, I do believe it is a stellar university serving Minnesota in countless ways. But, what has happened that such abuses go unchecked? Several people have commented that the story about Dean Delaney is old news. May I point out that the reprimand was given to the Dean earlier this month. That's RECENT NEWS. More importantly, why did it take the University 3-4 years to reprimand her for participating in a double dipping scam that happened several years ago? Who is assuring that the top people in the UMN follow the rules? If this Dean isn't fired from her job, then I would conclude the answer is "no one."

Another validation of why I have withdrawn all present and future financial support to the school of nursing. what a shame for such a great school.

I am a senior in the BSN program. I find Dean Delaney's actions and ethical conduct to be completely outrageous. We pay a $700 "Nursing Program Fee" and a $139 "Nursing Collegiate Fee" in addition to the regular tuition and student fees. I suppose these fees are used to pay these $5,000 a day contractors (aka her brother), and her pocket, and do not go towards our education. We have experienced cuts in our clinical experiences, while some of our classes are worthless and poorly planned. I am confident that my fellow seniors will agree with me.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pathetic Dean's Response to Story About 

Center for Integrative Leadership and 

Former University of Minnesota President Bruininks

By tradition, universities can be awfully "siloed" institutions, with departments and collegiate units missing chances for collaboration across disciplines on some of the most important issues of the day.
This can be tragic, as America's most compelling social and economic problems -- the persistent education achievement gap, the shortage of skilled health care workers, homelessness and many others -- cry out for integrated solutions that combine the best of what governments, activists and scholars in health, education, public policy and management have to offer.
As leaders of the schools of public health, education and human development, public affairs, and management at the University of Minnesota, we are part of a broad university effort to work much more closely together.
For all of us, a crown jewel in that effort is the University's Center for Integrative Leadership, launched in 2006. Working across university departments and with scores of partners in the broader community, CIL brings representatives of government, the private sector and other organizations together to tackle vexing social and economic challenges.
In light of CIL's critical role in promoting the common good, we were concerned by a recent Star Tribune article ("Bruininks steered funds to his new U post," March 8) questioning university support for CIL.
It is important to understand that CIL was launched well before the discretionary investments outlined in the story, and that those investments were made prior to any discussion about the president changing his tenure home to the Humphrey School.
We were particularly distressed by the failure of the story to describe the contributions of CIL. We stand squarely behind the university's wise and cost-effective decisions -- over several years -- to support CIL.
With quite modest funding from the university and the strong support of key donors, CIL has leveraged the time and expertise of scholars across the university to demonstrate that when leaders figure out how to work across the boundaries that frequently divide us, we can achieve dramatic results.
For example:
• Working with university public health and veterinary scientists, CIL is showing how cross-sector leadership can transform our capacity to improve food safety and food security worldwide.
• CIL is bringing together experts in the tourism industry and the law enforcement and transportation fields to demonstrate how better to address the scourge of human trafficking and the sex trade in Minnesota.
• CIL is helping public-health and public-education students at the university learn how, as future leaders, they can align health care administration and school leadership to close the education gap and reduce health disparities in Minnesota.
•CIL is mentoring teams of students from the university's schools of business, law and public affairs as they work together to address vexing social challenges like homelessness, prisoner reentry programs, or developing and marketing energy-efficient housing in rural Minnesota.
CIL is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work together across boundaries. We're proud that faculty from our four colleges -- the Carlson School of Management, the College of Education and Human Development, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and the School of Public Health -- are working and teaching together in new ways largely due to the work of CIL.
And while each of our colleges does an excellent job of preparing future professionals within our respective fields, we know that when we engage across our institutions, we are, as a university, inspiring the innovative leaders that our society so desperately needs.
CIL is a tremendous success story, an example of how to do more with less -- relying on a cross-sector model that will be essential to the growth and development of our state and nation in the decades to come.
That is a story worth telling.
Eric Schwartz is dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs; John Finnegan is dean, School of Public Health; Jean Quam is dean, College of Education and Human Development, and Sri Zaheer is dean, Carlson School of Management -- all at the University of Minnesota.

There are ZERO comments on this piece, as it was well hidden on the Strib site. It is tempting, indeed, to rip into this propaganda, but I will merely point out that Deans Schwartz and Zaheer are owners of dogs in this fight. Dean Quam and Dean Finnegan are well known water-carriers for the previous (Bruininks) administration at the University of Minnesota.

Elsewhere on my blog, my colleague William Messing has already commented on this situation and I will let his comment stand for me on the matter:

William Messing said... 
It is interesting that the Star-Tribune published a column written by four Deans which attempted to defend the center for interdisciplinary research.   This comical piece defended what is indefensible, namely the pissing away (an expression I used when I asked Kaler a question on March 1, following his State of the University speech) of money that should be used to support the true mission of the University, namely the educating of its students and the furthering of research and scholarship.   These Deans would pervert the mission of the University and apparently are well on their way to doing so.    William Messing    Professor, School of Mathematics University of Minnesota

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Cost of "Top Talent" Part II

The Pioneer Press editorial published on Sunday is even harsher than the Star Tribune editorial.  The Pioneer Press sees the compensation of the senior administrators as evidence of an overall profligate use of the financial resources of the University:

This is the tip of the iceberg.  Don't believe that institutions that spend tax dollars in this way in this instance don't spend like this in general. . . .
There's linkage between this situation, spending practices in general and the seeming inexorable cranking up of tuition costs year after year.  Remember that next budget cycle when the University cries poor.

See the March 11, 2012 editorial on Vacation Pay :  $455,000.
Yet the Regents and the President appear as unable to take action as they were to foresee the reaction of the public to the use of the resources of the University to enrich senior administrators with extravagant annual compensation, "transitional" compensation, and golden parachutes.  Instead of taking action the Regents issue a news release in which they praise the President for his "careful, watchful and prudent approach" and pledge to review policies.  See the University News Release
Have they not read the comments of the readers to the news reports in the Star Tribune and to the editorials? 
The public is coming with pitchforks to tar and feather them, and they are going to hold a committe meeting!  
Before we see a collapse of public support for the University without precedent the administration should take significant actions to restore confidence.  It should begin with the immediate issue that served as the spark for the firestrom.  The President should set the example by relinquishing his right to receive compensation of $610,000 for a one year leave.  Then he should request all the departing administrators to voluntarily relinquish their "transitional" compensation and golden parachutes.  (The request should be made both in private and in public.)  The responses would tell us whether these good people, all of whom were paid very well for their services, are willing to put the best interests of the University ahead of the pursuit of personal wealth.  
Then the administration should turn to the process of reforming the modern corporate university in which the values of Wall Street have replaced the ideals of public service.  It should change the culture that looked to "the market" to set the tone and the direction of the University and eventually led to the excesses that provided the tinder for the firestrom.  See:
Course Correction in Higher Education;
Questions of Value;
University Inc. Part II;
Going to Market Part II.  (See in particular the comment of Professor Cramer, chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee, quoted in the penultimate paragraph.)

Michael W. McNabb
University of Minnesota B.A. 1971; J.D. 1974
University of Minnesota Alumni Association life member