Saturday, May 16, 2009

CIB Executive Director Barney Levengood Makes More Than Governor and Mayor Combined; Mayor Ballard Says That's Okay, He Trusts Judgment of CIB

This morning the Indianapolis Business Journal took a closer look at salaries at the Capital Improvement Board and discovered that Executive Director Barney Levengood was pulling in a salary of $221,325 more than the Mayor of Indianapolis and the Governor combined. He also receives a car allowance of $500 a month. As previously been reported, only months before the CIB asked the city and state for a taxpayer funded bailout, Levengood added 30 employees, increasing the number of CIB employees by 20%, handed out 3% raises across the board, and increased stadium director Mike Fox's salary by 36% to $128,242.

The IBJ reported that the Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's response to this news was that he would "defer to the judgment of the Capital Improvement Board on whether salaries are appropriate." And why not? The CIB has exercised such stellar judgment in the past.

Sarcasm aside, what news has to come out before Mayor Ballard will finally put his foot down on the antics of the CIB? Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana reports on the latest IBJ stories on the CIB and opines:
"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."
I absolutely agree. I'm not sure any news could convince Mayor Ballard to maybe think twice about a taxpayer-funded bailout of the CIB. Mayor Ballard is like a robot who has been programmed by Bob Grand and Joe Loftus to fight to raise taxes to continue handing out corporate welfare, doing whatever it takes even if it costs the Republicans any chance of winning a Marion County election for the next 30 years. When the dust settles on Election Night 2011, my Marion County Republican Party need to give Grand and Loftus the boot so that they never have a role in local Marion County Republican politics again.

1 comment:

Ted said...

I read with great interest that the Director of the Capital Improvement Board enjoys a salary greater than our Mayor and Governor combined. I am sure at that income Barney Levingood does a great job making sure the parking lots are swept and the light bulbs changed.

The Director is just a facility manager and his concern is managing facilities; not achieving the bigger goal of the CIB in driving downtown visits and the downtown economy. The head of the ICVA tries to do that, but no one is in charge of the big picture and the greater goal of the CIB is often supplanted to just running the facility and the insider deals.

For instance when the overall price and frequency of downtown parking rates sky-rocketed when the Conseco Fieldhouse was built, causing the top ten restaurants to loose an average of 10% of their sales for each of the first three years after the Fieldhouse opened (after which reporting stopped), Barney was a complete obstructionist to getting the problem solved. He and another CIB employee were caught in a deliberate lie to other members of the parking task force (and so IDI who hosted the meetings refused to publish the minutes of this one session). Barney is also the guy who issued a two page contract synopsis for the CIB members to review so they could vote on the three inch thick set of agreements with the Pacers, but failed to include that the added fifth level of the Fieldhouse parking garage (at a cost of over $4 million) could not be used for game parking. He also lied to me several times to cover this fact up until after the vote. And lets not forget that when the rest of downtown was screwed by hyper-inflated event parking (an average of 735% at the time), that Barney failed to disclose to the public or the parking task force that the Simon’s were not paying the annual contract amount of $3.45 million for the Fieldhouse garage, even at a time when Peterson was building a new $11 million dollar garage so Simon employees could park for free. (Notice that the over $37 million the Pacers are in arrears would, if it had been paid, nearly erase the CIB’s deficit.)

Levengood said he hadn’t realized the full extent of the CIB’s budget troubles when he seriously increased spending this last year. If huge operating defieits were front page news last year, where did that information come from and why didn’t he know about it. Who is he kidding? For the amount he is paid, shouldn’t he be held accountable for spending and budgets and never be allowed such a cop out that he just doesn’t get it? He is paid to understand budgets and if he doesn’t get it – he needs to go.

Do not forget the extra perks Barney also enjoys such as the free parking pass good anytime at Denison Parking lots, and the rumored free trips on Denison’s Presidents plane and free vacation stays at his Colorado ski condo. Ands lets be fair, Denison has control of all the CIB parking facilities, some with dubious or non-existent bidding procedures. I am sure there are other perks out there.

At a salary of well over $221,000 annually plus a $6,000 annual car allowance, it’s time to get rid of Barney and hire someone who works for downtown Indy’s greater interest and not a person who is primarily interested in his own turf and the perks that go with it. The CIB mess will never be truly sorted out with Barneys carefree spending attitude and willingness to sacrifice everyone to his interests. He is not part of the solution, he is part of the problem. Surely an honest team player can be found who can still get the light bulbs changed and the parking lots swept. Time for a change.

Ted E.C. Bulthaup III, former owner, Hollywood Bar & Filmworks