Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CIB Announces More Layoffs in PR Move; ICVA Wants Millions More

The Capital Improvement Board announced Tuesday it is laying off two more people.

This comes after announcing last Friday that the CIB had laid off 9 people. That announcement indicated that five worked at the convention center and four worked at Lucas Oil Stadium. According to the report in the Star the following day, CIB Executive Director Barney Levengood indicated that these were "salaried administrators." According to the CIB, that move would save $325,000. Levengood refused to disclose the positions being eliminated or the salaries of those affected. (Doesn't the public have the right to know this information?) The Star did the math though and figured that $325,000 divided by 9 equals jobs that pay $36,000 a year. The problem with this calculation is that undoubtedly benefits are included in the $325,000 so these are probably low-level jobs in the $20,000 - $30,000 range.

I am reminded of a meeting in which a CIB official, I am almost certain it was Levengood, was asked if the top administrators at CIB could be asked to take a 5% raise. Levengood flatly replied "No," and actually seemed confused why anyone would think that would be a good idea.

These layoffs are nothing more than a PR move by the CIB before its next request for more money. The people bearing the brunt of this PR move is not the six figure salaries peole like Levengood and others are making, but rather low-level employees who undoubtedly were barely making ends meet before losing their jobs.

What is on the horizon? I believe November is the ten year mark for the Conseco Fieldhouse contract. Look for the CIB to be back, declaring that it MUST pick up the $15 million in operating costs on Conseco Fieldhouse, a building on which the Pacers, i.e the Simons, get 100% of the revenue.

As a side note, I find it interesting that the Star reports that Don Welsh, the CEO of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitor's Association, who makes $400,000 a year, was back before the CIB on Tuesday once again pleading for $3 to $5 million from the CIB so the ICVA can promote the city and offer bigger subsidies to lure conventions.

I could have swore I remember a 2010 budget amendment passing just weeks ago that transferred a few million from the CIB's maintenance budget to the ICVA. So now the ICVA is back making exactly the same monetary request as if that amendment never passed? I am pretty sure those council members (I believe Councilor Lutz proposed the amendment) thought they were taking care of the ICVA's request at that time. How many times must Councilors be fooled before they wise up? These professional panhandlers in suits operate no differently than those panhandlers who ply their craft on the street. No matter how much money you give to them, they are always going to have their hands out asking for more.


Had Enough Indy? said...

I'll jump in here with how I remember things - not to defend the CIB, Levengood, the Council, Welsh, the ICVA or anyone else; just to keep facts straight.

As I recall, the comment "No" about the salary cuts came in response to a question from a Councillor in one of their committee budget hearings and the speaker was Bob Grand, not Barney Levengood.

And as I recall on the extra money put into the ICVA budget by the Council.... There were some who thought they were just maintaining the original funding levels for the ICVA, not actually augmenting it. That is because the ICVA gets a fixed percentage of the hotel tax revenues recieved by the CIB and hotel tax revenues are down. It all gets tangled when you look at the numbers - the new ICVA funding for 2010 from the CIB is $9,030,500 -- the original budget crafted for 2009 (before the economy tanked) was $8,705,400 -- teh actual budget for 2008 was $7,970,491. So the ICVA is inching up in CIB money, but not by the $3-5 million they were lobbying for.

Now, personally, I think the ICVA should get a tiny percentage of the revenue they bring to the Convention Center - after lowball pricing and everything. That's how I think they should be funded. Not with upfront guaranteed money and no real oversight of the salaries or the quality of the service they provide.

Just wanted to make some clarifications.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Had Enough, thank you for the clarification. I'm sure your memory is correct. Paul