In the past year, as The Star's newsgathering partner, WTHR (Channel 13), reported this week, the CIB increased stadium director Mike Fox's salary by more than 35 percent -- from $94,507 in April 2008 to $128,242 now.
The organization's director of operations, Tom Boyles, garnered a 14.1 percent raise. Sports event coordinator Andy Arnold's pay shot up 9.6 percent. And special service manager Jen Ross' wages increased by 9.3 percent.
In fact, all CIB employees, with the exception of Executive Director Barney Levengood, received a 3-percent raise in January. That same month, CIB President Bob Grand revealed that the agency was facing a projected deficit of $47 million in 2010 . . .
What is at question is the timing of the pay increases. A few months after wages rose, the CIB had to ask the public for a bailout, one that could still lead to increases in several taxes. The board also was forced to make several painful budget cuts, including a furlough program (unpaid time off) for its employees.
CIB Vice President Pat Early, in explaining the raises to Channel 13, noted that the board wanted to retain valuable employees, most notably Fox, who was underpaid based on what his peers in other cities earned.
That's an understandable position. But managers in many private businesses are now forced to confront that issue without the option of major salary increases. Besides, at a time of high unemployment and stagnant or falling wages, the job market for most workers is far from promising.
Elsewhere in today's Star, Mary Beth Schneider reports that Gov. Mitch Daniels wants the General Assembly to tackle the CIB bailout during a special session called for the purpose of enacting the two-year state budget lawmakers were unable to accomplish during the regular session. This is the same guy who wanted to cut unemployment benefits for the state's unemployed workers and complained that lawmakers were spending too much money. He's obviously more interested in helping his old buddy Jim Morris earn a big fat bonus from the Simons for suckering taxpayers into bailing out the CIB so the Pacers franchise can pocket another $15 million a year of taxpayers' money. Thanks for looking out for the taxpayers, Gov. Daniels.
Also, Democrat blogger Terry Burns reports on a "behind closed doors" meeting Ballard held yesterday at Indianapolis' Skyline Club with city business leaders to discuss the CIB bailout. If you look at the list, you understand why Mayor Ballard has completely abandoned every principle upon which he was elected to office. Burns' list includes: Insurance executive Jerry Semler, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce head Roland Dorson, Indiana Sports Corporation Chairman and Ice Miller partner Joe DeGroff, labor boss John Griffin, Emmis Communications' CEO Jeff Smulyan, Downtown, Inc.'s Tammy Zahn, Eli Lilly's David Lewis, B&T attorney/lobbyist Joe Loftus and Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm, who chairs the cultural development commission. Yes, if these are the only people you are talking to about the CIB mess, then you're going to hear the same thing from all of them and come to the conclusion that it's time to raise taxes on the little guy again to continue the gravy train thing these folks all got going on with the CIB ponzi scheme.