He’s also become one of the state’s highest-paid public employees. Levengood, 54, earns a salary of $221,325—more than the governor and the mayor combined. He also gets a $500-per-month car allowance.
Some observers are wondering whether that’s too much, particularly considering that CIB is pleading for new taxes to keep it afloat. The quasi-governmental board is facing a $47 million annual deficit.
Before asking the mayor and state legislators for a bailout earlier this year, Levengood added 30 employees, boosting CIB’s head count to 172—a 20-percent increase. He also handed out 3-percent raises to most employees, and
some got much more; stadium director Mike Fox’s salary jumped 36 percent, to $128,242 . . .
Levengood said he hadn’t realized the full extent of the CIB’s budget troubles when he approved the raises.
“In hindsight, this may have not been the best decision but we honestly didn’t believe there would not be a solution,” he wrote in an e-mail. “We wanted to continue to operate and still do today as if we are a viable organization.”
Levengood didn't realize the full extent of the CIB's budget troubles when he approved the raises? Hmmm. CPA and veteran CIB member Pat Early has no problem with that:
Early said Levengood is not to blame for the CIB budget mess. The board has been operating with deficits every year since 1999, but Early said those shortfalls never made much of a dent in CIB’s reserves until now.
And he defended Levengood’s decision to give the CIB staff raises in January. Levengood didn’t get a raise this year, but last year he got an 8-percent boost. (The board sets the salary for the executive director, who determines salaries for the rest of the staff.)
“I’ve worked with Barney for 17 years,” Early said. “He picks up paper clips off the floor instead of buying a new box. He’s as fiscally responsible a manager as we possibly could have.”
A spokesman for Mayor Greg Ballard, who appoints six members on the nine-member board, said he would defer to the judgment of the Capital Improvement Board on whether salaries are appropriate.
The job is complex and challenging and requires a well-paid leader, Early said. “You can get someone to do brain surgery for less than a brain surgeon makes,” he said, “but you just might not be happy with the result.”
I've become convinced that it could be reported that the CIB has been secretly killing babies for the past ten years and it wouldn't make a dime's bit of difference in this bailout debate. Our elected officials received their marching orders from their true masters long ago that they would finance this bailout by hook or crook. What the taxpaying public thinks or what the facts show mean little to our out-of-touch elected officials.
Elsewhere in the IBJ, propagandist in chief for the downtown elites, Bill Benner, pens a column telling us just how bad things would turn for the worst if, God forbid, our beloved Pacers moved out of town. Benner picked up on blog reports about a rumor the team could be bought and moved to Vancouver, although Benner is sticking to the party line that these team owners never threaten to leave town if city leaders to fork over to them their ever increasing demands:
As I drove to work May 12, I listened as local talk-show radio host, WXNT-AM 1430’s Abdul Hakim-Shabazz seized on a blog report that the owner of the National Hockey League Vancouver Canucks was considering a bid to purchase the Indiana Pacers and move them to the Canadian city.
There was nothing to confirm that the report was credible and, we must emphasize, Pacers co-owner Herb Simon has been steadfast in his stated desire to keep the franchise in Indianapolis.
Nonetheless, Hakim-Shabazz used the report to pose a question to his listeners: If the Pacers left, would they even be missed? Most replied they would not.
Now I listened to perhaps only a half-dozen callers before I reached my destination, and it would be nonsense to suggest they were a representative sampling . . .
About an hour after Hakim-Shabazz’s radio show concluded, Streett got a call from his boss, Shepherd Executive Director Jay Height. Height told Streett the Pacers had called, and needed someone from Shepherd to be at Conseco Fieldhouse by 11:30 that morning. Height wasn’t given a reason, just told to have someone there, and he asked Streett to go.
Streett knew that the Pacers had called a news conference to announce that forward Danny Granger was to be named the NBA’s most improved player.
What he didn’t know was that the award is sponsored by auto manufacturer Kia, and that a vehicle—either a Borrego SUV or a Sedona minivan—would be awarded to the charity of Granger’s choice.
Granger had selected Shepherd Community Center. So, much to his surprise and delight, Streett was handed the keys to a new minivan at the news conference.
“This is a tremendous gift,” said Streett, still looking a bit shocked. “Transportation is one of our biggest issues. This is a real blessing to us.” .
So, back to Hakim-Shabazz’s question: Would we miss the Pacers if they left?
Perhaps not. But don’t tell it to Tim Streett who, courtesy of Danny Granger, walked out of Conseco Fieldhouse with keys to a new vehicle that can provide a lift in ways beyond mere transportation.
What a real tear jerker, Bill. How do you look at yourself in the mirror spewing such bullshit on a daily basis as part of your job? This is how these guys operate. They plant a story in the media that a professional sports team, which just happens to be seeking an additional $15 million a year subsidy from the taxpayers, may be bought and moved to another city. Remember Jim Irsay's Colts and the LA rumors? The team naturally denies the rumor, but their paid mouthpieces make sure it gets circulated far and wide in the community to scare key leaders into taking the desired action. Your propaganda won't fly here, Bill. You should go back to doggie school and learn some new tricks, Rover, or excuse me, Bill.