Thursday, November 30, 2006

Can SIU win by being paying the professors the least?

One of the interesting differences between hiring with professors and hiring in a company is a public universities salaries are public knowledge. What we know about SIUC is that they pay the least of any university in their current rankings, pay way less then universities they would like aspire to be equal to. You know the Southern at 150 deal about being top 75? In salaries for professors, SIU is something like 250th. At a private company, there is much more deception possible, so the employees never really know what anyone else is making (this is a good thing BTW).

A little more management theory for you from Peopleware (a seminal text about managing people in my business), the best people do 10 times more work then the average people and the average people do 10 times more work then the bad people (or words to that effect). This is the kind of thinking that drives Southern at 150's "super hires" initiative (I'll get into what a stupid management move it was calling out this obvious hiring practice another time). Basically, you want to hire all superstars and not hire losers. Of course, once you get the superstars, you want to keep them and get rid of the losers.

If you were a superstar, would you come to SIU today? In the Morris years, they could and did hire superstars. Today, SIU hires only people who don't get a job offer from a different research university. To say it a different way, every research university is a better place to be a professor then SIU.

How do you fix this? My three step plan would be
  • Hire earlier then everyone else and make the good people accept when they have no other offers.
  • Improve management.
  • Pay competitive salaries.
The worst thing is that some professors develop into superstars at SIU, but many of they leave for greener pastures soon after. After all making $25,000 less each year, forever is a very bad thing.

SIU can't pay the worst salaries in the industry and win. They can afford to pay industry average and they should. It is both ethically right and the right decision if they want to improve the university.

Your comments are welcome.

How SIU would change if you followed my plan.

I wrote about how SIU is killing the local economy yesterday and the comments are interesting. I know most people know about how big companies work (by big, I mean every company over 250 people), but let me spell it out here. Here is the comment that tee's me up.
If everyone could make minor changes on their own, you'd have a real mess after a while. But, the SIU union "craft" workers charge a lot and do as little as possible.
Like every big organization SIU would still have it's bureaucracies to prevent real stupid things from happening. I thought this was self evident, but let me spell out would work.

In the teaching areas, the budget would rest with the department chair or for bigger items, the Dean or the upper administrators. Every year there would be a budget with estimates of how you would be spending your money for the whole year, just as there is now. If you wanted to recarpet your office and there was money in the budget, the chair could sign off on it. The chair could use the stupid SIU system or just go get it directly and pay less then half. Bigger items or out of budget would go up the line to Deans and upper administration, this would be no different.

There are lots of audit trails in a big bureaucracy, at SIU the bureaucracy also forces a much, much higher price and doesn't develop local business, which would help SIU by keeping the money locally and develop a vibrant local economy. I can go into why this would be helpful to SIU more, but imaging if there were 20 people like me in town (don't read that before bedtime, you will get nightmares).

You want to guess why the business people of Carbondale aren't pounding the table to get SIU more state money? We can all see the system, we know the results and waste levels (you can't miss it). The SIU people know the system too, but how do you fight city hall?

As always, your comments are welcome.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Are Students Ready to Work

I caught a wiff of this on and did a little searching to find this report. It is about how industry views the students once they start to work. I wonder if there is a report that shows the same kind of survey results from 10, 20 or 30 years ago?

Nothing like comments to prove the point - more about SIU killing the local economy.

From the comments of the last post -
After my experiences with outsourced photocopier and printer services at SIUC, I know it's possible for private industry to do worse than SIU. If you tried to use a photocopier at Morris Library before this year, you know what I'm talking about. My understanding of that particular situation is that local businesses are too small to provide what SIUC needs, but SIUC is too small and too far from St. Louis for major companies to invest the energy it would take for SIUC to get decent service.
Local businesses are too small to provide what SIUC needs? What a pile of crap! Giving this kind of work to a local company is exactly what SIU should be doing. That local company will work like heck to make it work. SIU will get great service. The SIU money will be in the local economy, instead of pumping it off to Atlanta (or some other remote location).

I'm now wondering if the little local company can't provide the under the table grease to make the deal happen or what? We are talking about copy machine for goodness sake.

I think this comment is exactly what I was writing about. This is exactly that SIU is doing wrong.

Is SIU stifling the economic development of Southern Illinois?

I can't remember where I read it anymore, but there is this idea that I have held onto -
There are two beliefs about making yourself rich, either you believe that all the wealth in the world has already been created, so to become rich you need to take wealth from someone else or you believe that you can create new value and become rich.

When I apply this idea to SIU and the State of Illinois government, I find that SIU and the state act to take wealth out of the private sector and do not create new value themselves. Basically, ever available dollar SIU jumps on (like a linebacker on a fumble) and keeps, where often investing that dollar would bring back 20 dollars later. For example, one of the biggest problems SIU has is the lack of surrounding industries for them to interact with. But SIU is creating this by eliminating money making opportunities and turning those opportunities into petty bureaucracies.

Think of the blossoming of productivity, tax base and entrepreneurship that would happen if SIU started to outsource to local companies, instead of using state bureaucrats.

Why is SIU spending so much of their management attention to supply marginal services, instead of allowing the local business to thrive? We know they aren't doing a good job running their core business. Surely they should be spending 100% of their time trying to figure out how to educate kids and build football stadiums and the like.

If they did away with Dunn-Richman, wouldn't the local bankers do a better job? If they got rid of the motor pool, wouldn't Enterprise rentals do a better job? If they go rid of their ride services, wouldn't the local taxi companies do a better job? If they didn't build apartments, the local landlords would do a better job. If they replace the electricians with local companies running those electricians wouldn't they get better work for less? How about the phone department? The SIU website? The PR department? I'm not saying outsource the professors or other people really doing education, but does anyone think that private industry wouldn't do a better job? Is it possible to manage anything less efficiently then SIU does?

Your comments are welcome.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Interesing Chronicle article about how Higher Ed has changed in 40 years

Check it out. Guess I need to figure out the rate of inflation over the last 40 years so I can do Apples to Apples on the money.

Being happy and a life of accomplishment

When I list the nice things about living in Southern Illinois, it is calm, quiet, smog free, people are nice, commutes are short, many of the frustrations of big city life are minimized, every commercial good you might want to buy is available easily. I guess if all you want to do is live a happy little life, this is a great place. A question I have been asking myself of late is can you live a life of great accomplishment here? If you can be happy, but not have great accomplishment, is that enough?

I have found living here one of our greatest challenges in trying to do economic development in Southern Illinois is that our most motivated people leave. As a matter of fact, one of the great pleasures of living the West Coast is hiring the Midwestern engineers who have moved to try their hand at the big time. Like an actor going to New York, almost all the people who are going to try to make their mark on this world move to be a little fish in a big pond, then work their way up.

SIU moves professors here to jobs that are pretty high quality based on quality of the work. If you are going to be a high school teacher, this is a fine place to do it. A few people have started companies that are very interesting and fulfilling. I certainly don't want to imply that being a librarian isn't a good life and worth living, but you have to decide if that life is enough for you.

As you know from reading my little blog, I see the world differently then most everyone else. In 1984, I was 21 years old and I left this place to go to Silicon Valley. I wasn't always happy, I was often stressed out and over worked, I got laid off or quit a number of jobs, but I was trying to live a life of great accomplishment and I was surrounded by people trying to do the same. There is joy to sharing the struggle with like minded people that I have missed for the last few years. I have my allies and friends, but we are the counter culture here. Maybe I'm just sick of being called lucky?

The rural economic development experts say that we aren't going to be able to attract big factory or corporate headquarters to places like this, we just don't have the money to pay for the blackmail/tax cuts required. It is cheaper and more possible to support and encourage your local entrepreneurs to create new business then steal them from somewhere else. Maybe Southern Illinois doesn't have a culture of entrepreneurship and might think about developing one at the local government level? What we are doing now isn't working well enough, we don't have enough entrepreneurs.

Your comments are welcome.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

SIU's Golden Age and trying to get it back.

If we talk about SIU's Golden Age, I think we can all agree it was in the years of 1950 (or so) to 1970. You will notice, that I don't really know when it started, but I do know the date it ended. The Golden Age ended with Delyte Morris left the university and the Old Main building was burned down.

When I start thinking about managing a fast growing organization over 20 years, I start to think about the people. In those 20 years you can hire great people or lay a ground work of bad management, either way the legacy of those hirings will continue for many years. The Morris years were good years to be hiring a large faculty, the professors still remembered the hard years of WWII and the Great Depression. The USA was assuming the mantel as a Superpower, expectations were that if you worked a whole lot harder, you might make a great life for yourself.

If you were to start thinking about the management difficulties of turning SIU around today, instead of trying 8 or 9 years ago, there is no one left from the Golden Age on the entire campus. When Jo Ann Argersinger was Chancellor the back bone of the senior professors were hired in the Morris years, they still had an idea of what the university was like when the buildings were new and the university was on the way up. Today, all the professors from the Morris years are retired.

One interesting idea from the Golden Age idea is what maybe the only person who remembers them on campus is Glen Poshard. He was here then and he seems to understand the power of events and symbolism that were so important to Morris. It could be that he wants to return SIU to a new Golden Age, he seems to be putting the trappings of the Morris years back together.

When big companies get into a situation like SIU is in today (poor performance, bad corporate culture, poor employee morale) they execute a massive reset in the form of a layoff. That really gets the attention of the employees and often does a reset in values that is needed for the organization to survive.

I wonder if Glen Poshard is brave enough and has enough power to make a new golden age. I wonder if he did have the power if he would use it for good and not evil. If he did start making changes, I wonder if the BOT (and their owners in Chicago and Springfield) would allow him to do it.

Your comments are welcome.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Let the revolution begin - Illinois Power Rates.

I would put a link to the Illusion's story about these things, but they are taking the weekend off at the website (or they could be down in the line at Best Buy trying to get one of those cheap laptops). Everyone should know by now that power rates in Illinois are about to go up 40% or more on January 1.

We all know the state government of Illinois is corrupt. Lots of under the table payments, unlimited giving to political campaigns, patronage jobs everywhere (filled by the unqualified), boondoggle spending on hometown projects, etc, etc. My question for the peanut gallery is if this stupid management of our power utilities will be the last straw? Is this the one big event that will make Illinois voters stand on their feet and vote all the Bozo's out of office? Is this were we demand clean government and accountability? Do the voters demand a change in the system were only 5 politicians make all the rules and have all the power?

I don't think there will be any changes? But, if the "Pol's" don't stop this rate increase, people are going to be really pissed.

Kind of makes you wish the Green Party had won the election. Their platform is naive, but at least they have their hearts in the right place.

Your comments are always welcome.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

U of I Criticized for low minority enrollment

Little article from yesterday's Southern (no link that I have found for the story, but here is a link to the source), the story was opposite the comics. They are claiming that U of I doesn't enroll enough minorities. Their numbers are 12.8% of the students are minorities and 27% of Illinois graduating high school seniors are minorities. I liked the quotes at the end of the story, "Chancellor Richard Herman (of U of I) took issue with the report, saying it should have compared the school's minority student population with the percentage of high school graduates qualified enough to be accepted to the campus." Also "If you look at the minority population in the state ... the simple truth is that not all of them go on to college, " Chancellor Richard Herman of U of I.

I got a kick out of the little source report that I provided a link to and their comment about UC Berkeley "received high marks for attracting low-income students." I'm not sure about the other universities they list with good access to minorities or low income students, but Berkeley's low-income students can be directly attributed to California's large number of Asian immigrants. Those Chinese and Vietnamese parents produce kids that are great students while working as janitors and cooks. But those immigrant kids aren't counted as minorities, I guess because they are doing to well?

I have written this before, but don't you wonder what would happen if all the poor kids in Southern Illinois had Jewish, Chinese or Vietnamese parents? They would be reading by the age of 5, blowing out the school GPA's and going to the best colleges within one generation. It is all about the parents. We see the immigrant Asian parents here too, and their kids are kicking butt and taking names. I guess we can't train them when they are adults and it is all hopeless? Anyone know, can you train poor parents to do this?

I also wonder if we aren't seeing lies, damn lies and statistics from "The Education Trust" people. They must know the problem is in the parents and preK-12 system, the universities are using reverse discrimination to help more minority and poor kids into the schools with better financial assistance. What exactly can you do about parents who don't have enough self discipline or cultural roll models to push their kids to success?

Return of Civility to the Classroom?

Interesting story on about managing the classroom. I have been wondering about the media has been claiming this generation of college kids can multi-task at new and historically levels, yet we all know they can't learn anything hard that way (just like everyone else).

This story seems to be simple and clearcut. If the professor is letting people do cell phones and instant messenger in the classroom, they have lost control.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Two tough issues for the Carbondale City Council - Smoking and CVS

I think the Carbondale City Council is facing a couple of really tough issues in the vote to ban smoking and rezone the corner of Oakland and Walnut for CVS this meeting and next.

We saw the first vote last night on banning smoking, it was a tie 3-3. Personally, I'm for banning all smoking in all public buildings. But, the anti-ban group did a really poor job selling this ban. They should go back and find the economic impact of a one city ban, like the one they want, on the businesses in town. For example, find a Midwestern city that passed the ban a year or two ago and see what the effect was on restaurant and bar revenue. If the economic effect was positive or neutral, I bet they could get the ban though.

Personally, I think the right place to get this passed is at the state level. That is where the health costs really rest and where the most level playing field can be established. Yes, I know that would be harder to do.

Clearly this is all about money for the local business people. The argument that their employees smoke and it is their right to cause cancer in others is really stupid. Because the pro-ban people didn't do their homework on the money, they let the businesses off the hook.

CVS going in on the corner of Oakland is really interesting. I have written that I'm against it, but I'm now really on the fence. You are talking about a bunch of really crappy homes. I have seen the map of where they would like to build now and CVS has offered as part of the deal to keep the traffic and noise on the Oakland side and have a blank wall facing East and a green belt too. The homes that will be effected are already really the homes on the South side of Walnut at the Oakland corner. Those homes already are on the busiest street in Carbondale and next to a fire station. There is noise and light there 24/7 now, I'm not sure I'm buying that CVS is really a great burden on the local houses. I'm certainly not buying the selling booze BS being thrown around.

Carbondale is completly dependent on our sales tax revenue to fund our local services. You are talking about a length of street that has a fire station, 24 hour grocery store and strip mall and a video store and pizza takeout already. It is the busiest street in Carbondale. I'm pretty sure that everyone within a reasonable distance from the proposed CVS site has purchased their house since 13 went one way.

I don't expect that you will see the kinds of people who hangout at Walgreen's late at night, because they aren't near the Northeast.

As I wrote before, I feel that it is going to be very difficult for the "Arbor District" (which is shaped like a snake) to fight off the economic reality that the property around them is worth more as retail and rental then residential. The traffic noise and speed on 13 and the state of School District 95 make it unlikely that families will move in to the area. They are already surrounded by rooming houses, frat houses and flop houses. If something like CVS doesn't happen now, it is very likely to happen in the future.

CVS is a very tough call. I'm pretty sure I would vote against it, if I was voting. But, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm wondering if Poshard is serious or if he just hated Wendler.

Now that Uncle Walt has been put out to pasture, the next question about SIUC's future must be asked - Who else will be fired in the administration? I have written that I feel that over 50% of the department chairman should be fired. It looks like the Dean of Engineering (sorry screwed this up and had to change it) should be gone as soon as possible. I have published a list of others who should be fired. All these people I figured out should be fired from several miles away in my office. If I can name that many, there have to be more, many more. (editor's note - most of these people would just become professors when they are fired and not lose their jobs, but the educated readers of this blog know that already)

I have some data that Poshard has put the management of Dunn-Richman to work cleaning out the layers of admins and deadwood that Ray Lenzi stacked up out there. That seems like a good omen.

If we look back and no one else has been fired that needs to be, we can say that Poshard is a POS and just had it in for Wendler. If Poshard goes in and really cleans house, then all this crap in the papers about Wendler's anti-gay comments will be proven to be just crap. Wendler really was a poor performer, maybe no worse then the losers before him, but still poor.

So, is SIUC going to be turned into a meritocracy it will be because Glenn Poshard has stepped up and put down some mighty pink slips on the turkeys in key positions. Now, we wait and see what he does. I figure there will be good blogging either way.

Your comments are welcome.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sheila Simon's two worlds.

I was reading the Southern Illusion's editorial page yesterday and came across this "Cole has the support of the business sector" editorial. This should come as no surprise, Brad showed up with a plan and has really improved the business environment in Carbondale. He has done better than should have been possible in his first term. He has figured out what could be done and is doing it (note to the Southern at 150 boys at SIUC, this is how you do a plan). I like to think that it was impossible to do business in Carbondale before Brad and now it is just difficult.

What really surprised me was this quote from the article -
Simon attended Cole's speech Tuesday and was not one of the audience members leaping to her feet.

She was surprised the mayor talked about problems with gangs and truancy in his State of the City address.

"It's an illustration of our focus and the two worlds we live in," Simon said. "I have not heard anyone talk about gangs or truancy as a major problem in Carbondale. It's another undeserved, bad rap for the Carbondale school system. I will point that out, and other differences, as the campaign goes forward."
Sheila is now on the record saying that there is nothing wrong with School District 95 (that is Carbondale's K-8 grade school)? Here are my posts about District 95 from way back in July and August -
Post 1
Post 2
Post 3
Here is a link to get all the statistics, test scores and other numbers. Click around on the tabs at the top.

Turns out it doesn't matter what skin color you have, it just comes down to students from poor families do poorly at school in Carbondale and students who aren't poor do well. The test scores are terrible. We have seen a dramatic increase of private schools and home schoolers (in both numbers of schools an enrollment in existing schools), and a general drop in numbers of students in District 95. It isn't white flight, it is almost every educated and non-poor parent running the heck away from District 95 with their kids.

When you have populations of kids in high school that can't pass the standardized reading tests in 8th grade, you are heading for real problems. Over 50% of the kids the state calls poor, who attended District 95, failed the 8th grade reading test. Just a little research shows that black men who aren't functional literate have greater then 75% chance of serving time in jail. The kids who can't read cause almost all problems with violence and truancy. They don't publish the dropout rate that I can find, but it has to be way to high.

If I had to bet lunch on the "gang" part of Brad's plan being sound I would. It could be that the Mayor has talked to the Police Chief about this? Since the Mayor has made about 30 distinct calls like this in his State of the City speeches and been able to act in a positive way each time, I'm thinking he has done his homework this time as well.

I'm looking forward to hearing about Sheila's different world some more, I wonder what else she thinks. How about a published document Sheila?

"The Woz" good stuff.

I was reading Guy Kawasaki's blog about his 10 reason he loves the Woz, clicked through digg, found this article about how the Woz carries $20k with him at all times.

I have been thinking about buying very expensive computer of late, sounds like the Woz would just pay cash while shopping in Japan. Need to think that one over.

Southern Illinois Economic Development a quote from Milton Friedman?

On Jobs
Proposed economic policies tend to be judged in terms of jobs "created." That is the wrong criterion. The economic problem is not creating jobs. That is easy: Hire people at minimum wages (or lower) to dig holes and fill them. True, raising taxes to finance that project would destroy jobs, but the jobs destroyed would be high-wage jobs, the jobs created low-wage jobs, so for each job destroyed more than one job would be created--a net gain of jobs.

The real problem is to establish an economic environment in which there is a demand for workers at wages that those workers not only regard as satisfactory, but are qualified to earn: Better qualified workers and better wages--not simply more jobs--is the real problem.
--from "Better Workers, Better Wages: The Real Issue," June 1, 1993

When I look at Southern Illinois economic development this pretty much sums it up. In particular this is what I see in Marion and their tax incentive based method of attracting jobs. Also, any program involving the State of Illinois seem to be more about driving state soft money then real, good jobs.

This has been the one big problem I have had trying to doing economic development here. Carbondale/Southern Illinois based businesses seem to have completely given up, we take fairly high quality new college grads and under pay them. Everyone knows they are going to stay for a short time and move on, then the cycle starts again. This guarantees that you never develop an educated local workforce of experienced people. Owners never get good employees, both because they lose everyone who was good to better paying jobs, also there is no shared ownership (via stock) and no wealth creation through the ranks that might make the local environment bloom.

The funny thing is that our method is pretty much exactly the opposite of the areas that are doing well economically. To much short term thinking has lead us to where we are now, not enough of an educated and motivated workforce to build the high growth and high pay companies the area really needs.

Thanks to Todd for sending me the link.

I changed my will - I'm leaving my dog to the Park District!

Before I started reading about the park district's problems selling off Hickory Lodge, I started realizing you could give anything to the Park District and take a tax deduction on it. Then they would maintain it and never sell it, even if they didn't need it anymore.

The stupidest thing I could come up with as an example was my dog. I take a tax deduction, and they feed him until he dies. Then they have to stuff him and keep him in the lobby of their main offices. If they don't, I get some friends and collect a bunch of signatures. If they don't need him anymore, that is their problem. I want to look at his stuffed body every once in a while, so they need to maintain the body for me.

Carbondale politics are a trip.

Friday, November 17, 2006

"A man who has no moral consistency between his private and public lives."

I would give you a link to the "Voice of the Reader" in today's Southern Illusion, but they didn't put one up.

The letter in question is from "The Rev. Nathan Brunaugh" of Elkville and the title of this post is his closing line of the letter. He writes that Walt "has been on Poshard's hit list ever since the anti-gay remarks" in July 2004. This is clearly wrong, he has been on Poshard's _hit list since he fired Poshard when he used to work for him. "The Rev." goes on to say "I know Dr. Wendler. I have worshiped with him..."

I have written this before, but if you are not going to toe the line, your boss is going to give you the sack. Walt didn't choose to toe the line and now he is gone.

In his last line "The Rev." writes about how Poshard just wants a puppet and
a man who has no moral consistency between his private and public lives.
One of the things that I find truly offensive about "born again" groups in Southern Illinois is this business accusing anyone who doesn't pray with them as being morally unfit. There are lots of great people out there who want to be Chancellor of SIUC. John Dunn for example can't do worse than Walt and I dare say he is just as morally fit.

If you want to blast Poshard that is great, but please none of this crap about how the next person (not man, it might be a woman - Gasp!) will not be morally fit. At least the next Chancellor will be smart enough to read the organization chart and figure out who is above him on it.

I bet you that Sam Goldman isn't morally fit either according to "The Rev." either. That blanket immoral stuff just hits me wrong.

Preaching to the choir here, I know the hardcore right wingers of Southern Illinois aren't going to read this little blog.

Knowledge mapping in 3-D

I have this idea that as you learn you might be able to map knowledge in 3 dimensions. If you learn a lot about a very limited topic, you can view that as drilling a well about 12" wide and goes into the ground (I say into the ground, because no one that isn't a specialist can see the shaft). If you learn a lot about lots of things as a college student, maybe it is like scraping all the top soil off a square mile.

My belief is that the volume of your knowledge while mapping in 3-D grows the more you know and the harder you work. So assuming that you aren't lying on the couch watching TV a whole bunch as you get old you should grow your knowledge base, maybe even multiply it as you get older?

I was on a SIU search committee a couple of years ago. I realized that I have hired and managed more people then everyone else on the search committee combined. Looking back I'm not sure how I did it, but in each of 1997 and 1998 I phone screened around a 1000 people each year, interviewed 250 or 300 in person and hired over 100 people. In 1996 I did about half that number. I never intended to become such an expert on resumes, but there you go. Made a lot of money hiring all those people, but I wouldn't want to do it again. I can't tell you have incredibly valuable this is on a day to day basis.

I caught the show about one vs. the mob or something like that on TV. Is every question about TV or pop culture on that show? Normally, I'm pretty good at the TV quiz shows, but I was amazed how trivial all their questions were. Had to switch the channel, it was a waste of time.

A question for the peanut gallery, what have you learned today, yesterday, last week, last month, in the last year? Are you writing down goals to learn new things or have you found a better way to learn?

As always, your comments are welcome.

Of Luck and Timing.

I now find myself comparing the West Coast to Southern Illinois and attempting to find answers and insights into my life. A statement that I wasn't ready for when I first moved back to Southern Illinois was "how lucky" I am. I figure I have been told I'm lucky, by maybe 200 people in Carbondale since I moved back to town. Never have I been told I'm lucky on the West Coast. Kind of interesting isn't it?

One result of writing this blog as been that I am not longer told I'm lucky. After reading my ideas about management of SIUC, I guess you guys have figured out that I know a lot about management. I'm fairly sure that if SIU was managed by someone with my skill level it could be turned around, to bad almost no one with my management skill level has a PhD and is looking for a job.

I was on a SIU search committee a couple of years ago. I realized that I have hired and managed more people then everyone else on the search committee combined. Looking back I'm not sure how I did it, but in each of 1997 and 1998 I phone screened around a 1000 people each year, interviewed 250 or 300 in person and hired over 100 people. I never intended to become such an expert on resumes, but there you go. Made a lot of money hiring all those people, but I wouldn't want to do it again. So, if you can interview, hire and manage over 100 people a year and make money while you do it are you lucky?

We were lucky at my little Seattle based company, but how many people on Earth could have done it in the same situation? Almost none.

One of the really lucky things that happened in my life is that I had the good fortune in 1998/1999 of being offered a buyout of my little company and having partners who I hated at the same time. I sat down and figured out that my little company was in great danger of getting squished like a bug, because of a number of factors. This is what great timing is about, imagine realizing that the "dot com" stock bubble was about to burst, owning a bunch of stock riding the bubble and having time to sell it? Of course, my timing was good, but how many other people were smart, lucky or strong enough to sell? Almost no one it turns out.

If you were investing over 100% of your net worth in a house in a boom market today, would you sell? Would you be smart enough to know the right answer before it was to late? Smart, lucky or good timing?

I been back on the West Coast again of late and have found that no one tells me I'm lucky there again. My brief description of who I am makes people smile and I think they suspect I'm smart. I'm not sure there is a lesson there for you, but there sure is one for me.

Of course, I don't want to lose everything and start again from scratch. But, if I did I'm fairly sure I would do well again. I like the work and I'm good at it.

Let me leave you with this quote, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

Your comments are always welcome.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What do Wendler and Jim Muir have in common?

I'm just jumped off the couch and ran over to the computer. I was reading "the southern" and worked back to page A4 and Jim Muir's column. In answer to the title question of this entry, both Jim and Walt have no clue about how to manage a business. Today we got a whole eye full of this cluelessness in the paper. Let me explain.

Jim writes that the reason SIU isn't doing well is because of the ultra liberal/communist professors. He wrote about Jon Bean's academic mobbing by the clowns in history. Let me say here for the first time, shame on Robbie Lieberman for being the leader of that unethical mess. Where this is a big problem for the ultra-far-right that Jim represents, it is just a bump in the road in SIU's results.

SIU has one traditional problem and one problem that Wendler introduced. The traditional problem is that since Morris left in 1972, the university has been poorly managed. From that poor management almost all problems flow. The people who are managing the professors and staff really don't care about the results, only power. If you fail, you are never removed, never. The second problem is that Wendler changed the management focus of SIU from students to research and sports. He raised tuition and fees to around twice what they were when he arrived and didn't increase the quality of anything the students care about. I call what Wendler did "breaking the marketing story of SIUC."

An example of Walt's incompetence as a manager is the survival of Sue Davis and SIUC's refusal to recruit students the way everyone else does it (no advertising, brochures, press releases, you know the standard drill). How can you still have your job if you don't have recruiting literature in high school guidance councilor's offices?

Walt doesn't understand what people in Illinois are about (note, they are different then people in Texas). Just like all architects, he didn't listen to his clients. He refused to look at what SIUC did well and try to build on it. He had people who really stunk as direct reports and never fired them. His new boss didn't like him and he didn't figure out to survive he had to kiss Poshard's ring. How stupid is that? That is why I start companies, but if you don't be prepared to pucker up. Bottom line, he didn't get it and his results are terrible.

Here is Walt's spin from today's Southern. He really thinks that he is being replaced because of something beside his results? Totally clueless. He could be driving a car with anti-gay bumper stickers if he was doing a good job otherwise.

What parents want is to send their kids off to a place where they are wanted and they are safe. At the end, they want their kids to graduate with a meaningful degree and get a good job. This isn't much different then an Army recruiting. If you aren't playing the PR game in America's education system today, you are saying you don't care about the students.

Good for Poshard for firing him in public. Now he needs to fire about 20 more people. Fire the admins who are doing nothing but hiding behind the civil service rules, instead of passing them on to the next office to do nothing. Fire the administrators who stink. Fire the chairmen who are terrible leaders. I would say fire the Deans, but they are all new. Punish the tenured faculty who aren't working hard by giving them terrible classes to teach and bad job reviews. The problem with SIUC is that management has allowed people to do nothing for over 20 years. The no work culture has to change, the politics over results has to change. SIU needs to change into a meritocracy instead of a political quagmire.

I haven't seen Jim write it, but I bet we agree that discrimination based on intelligence and effort is good (this is called capitalism), but not if you base it on skin color. I do agree with Jim Muir that SIU needs to hire better professors who have a clue about the real world, but that will be another long blog entry. I certainly don't agree with his spin that this one little anti-conservative issue is that makes SIUC sub par, it is but one example out of thousands of what is wrong.

Firing Wendler for cause was a great first step. Finally, SIU has a President who cares about results. Go get them Glenn, you haven't done enough yet.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Carbondale Park District Pool Survey - What are they thinking?

I was reading through the Southern Illusion today and came across the article about the Carbondale Park District meeting yesterday and wanted to comment a little.

I enjoyed how the meeting minutes didn't mention this pool idea or the survey, guess that is a good way to ram it through without complaint? I also like their web page's lack of agenda, I guess if you just post it in the back bulletin board where no one can see it, you can cloud the issues pretty well. From the minutes on the webpage -
It was moved by Commissioner Kang and seconded by Commissioner McDaniel to approve the sell of $540,000 in bonds for park purposes. Upon roll call the following Commissioners voted aye: McDaniel, Kang and Heck. Abstained: Flowers. President Heck ordered this motion passed.
Wonder what they are going to spend an extra $540k on?

The Park District sent out a really stupid survey that guaranteed the result they wanted. First question from the survey, do you think a really cool pool that was free would be good for the city? Yes from 80% according to the Southern. When asked how many were interested in paying for the pool, 33% were interested in paying. Sounds about right.

The survey is of worse quality then a one week class project from a sophomore class in Business. Didn't anyone with a brain look at it and figure out you just can't get a real answer if you write a survey like that?

If they mentioned that it was going to cost $6M and have losses of $250k per year, I bet the survey would come back greatly differently. Yes, that is what it is going to cost for a water park. Maybe more.

As I have written in this space before, Carbondale is a city of around 11,000 (if you exclude SIU students) in the metropolitan area (Carbondale, all areas served by Giant City, Unity Point and DeSoto schools) . Of those 11,000, a fair guess is that half have access to the REC Center at SIUC. The property owners are going to end up paying for this (if it happens), so I guess the SIU students will get the burden in rent increases.

There is no way the voters in the Carbondale Park District are going to vote for a huge tax increase to pay for a fancy water park. Given the Park District's history running their golf course, it is doubly certain the voters will never vote for this stupid pool. A complete waste of time and energy.

What a shame.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Letter of Concern from SIUC Alumni about Mass Comm

Sorry about the formatting, another cut and paste job.

A Letter From Concerned SIUC Alumni
May 10, 2006 (signature list & signature references updated July 21)
President Glenn Poshard
Vice President Academic Affairs John Haller
Chancellor Walter V. Wendler
Provost John M. Dunn
Associate Provost Don Rice
Mr. Samuel Goldman, Board of Trustees
Ms. Tequia Hicks, Board of Trustees
Dr. Ed Hightower, Board of Trustees
Dr. Keith Sanders, Board of Trustees
Mr. John Simmons, Board of Trustees
Mr. Roger Tedrick, Board of Trustees
Mr. Matt Townsend, Board of Trustees
Mr. Stephen Wigginton, Board of Trustees
Ms. Marguita Wiley, Board of Trustees
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
Manjunath Pendakur arrived in Carbondale five years ago to become Dean of the
College of Mass Communication and Media Arts (hereafter “CMCMA”). He inherited a
thriving program of national distinction. CMCMA was the fastest growing college on
campus with a dynamic energy, innovative spirit and educational track record that one
Southern Illinois University Carbondale (hereafter “SIUC”) Chancellor publicly described
as something that other programs on campus could only dream about.
Students in CMCMA routinely won major regional and national honors for print and
broadcast news, advertising, photography, industrial video production and creative
television programs; the faculty was diverse and superb; imaginative cross disciplinary
programs gave students extraordinary educational experiences while also helping them
secure jobs upon graduation; and an unprecedented number of alumni from every
generation were dedicated to collaborating with various SIUC Presidents, Chancellors,
Provosts, Deans, Department Chairs, teachers and staff to enhance the professional
learning opportunities for students from every arts and communication discipline.
Dreams were given shape during the years prior to the arrival of Dean Pendakur.
Thousands of media careers were launched with often astonishing speed and enduring
friendships were born as a result of this special environment. Dean Pendakur was
warmly welcomed by his faculty, staff and alumni. Everyone had extremely high hopes
for what we might accomplish for the students under his leadership.
Tragically, since Dean Pendakur’s arrival much of what is described above has been
destroyed. Many of the most talented and effective faculty have left. Recruitment of top
quality film, journalism and video production students has declined. Visionary programs
have been decimated or eliminated. College achievement awards have decreased.
And, faced with a notoriously unapproachable Dean, frustrated students have
transferred elsewhere or resorted to posting their grievances on the Internet.
Furthermore, the same alumni who were once invited to campus each year to help
refine programs, design new ones or conduct seminars in their areas of expertise have
stopped receiving invitations or have been informed by Dean Pendakur that they are no
longer welcome. Faculty members in at least one department have been expressly
prohibited from having any contact with alumni since this Dean took office.
Could it be that Dean Pendakur possesses unique insights and wisdom that his
successful predecessors and several SIUC administrations somehow lacked? One
glance at CMCMA’s mission statement, as currently posted on its website, reveals a
deeply troubling truth: nowhere does it mention that the College seeks to train students
for successful careers in their chosen profession or to assist them in finding jobs upon
graduation. The omission is no accident. It exemplifies everything that has gone wrong
in CMCMA under Dean Pendakur. He is simply not interested in a career oriented
What purpose could a college possibly have other than the benefit of its students?
What practical good is an undergraduate degree if it does not include employable skills,
let alone the kinds of tangible career advantages that CMCMA once reliably offered?
Before Dean Pendakur’s arrival, the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts
proudly and eagerly prepared graduates for career success. For fifty years, students in
CMCMA and its precursor entities received a stimulating blend of theoretical
understanding and practical experience so as to help them compete and excel in a
highly challenging industry. This competitive edge of CMCMA had long been a priority
of the College. SIUC was known to gifted prospective students and discriminating
employers alike as a place where creativity, craft skills and knowledge were honed to a
professional level.
At first, Dean Pendakur pledged to respect and nurture that tradition.
Unfortunately, that promise was only one of many misrepresentations by this Dean.
Dean Pendakur also assured students, faculty and alumni that their most cherished
programs would be secure on his watch. They were not. And he lies to the public. On
the CMCMA website Dean Pendakur currently touts a US News and World Report Top
Graduate Schools in America ranking that has not existed in a decade. Conspicuously,
that prized listing occurred years before this Dean took office. There have been a
myriad of other misrepresentations to the SIUC Administration, as well: particularly
about his success in righting a supposed sinking academic ship and the depth of his
alumni support. Perhaps most unfortunately, however, there have been repeated
smears by the Dean’s Office intended to diminish the reputations and contributions of
faculty and alumni, for no sin other than their concern.
Several noted CMCMA alumni have removed SIUC from their wills as a result. One
particularly successful individual, whose signature is included on this letter, had
previously bequeathed his entire estate to the College. He changed his will solely
because of Dean Pendakur’s policies and management style.
An alumna co-signer of this letter decided last week to cancel the CMCMA scholarship
that she funds until this Dean is removed from office. Also purged from the list of
CMCMA assets under Dean Pendakur is the annual Hollywood alumni reception for the
Dean and Department Chairs, privately organized and funded by another co-signer of
this letter and attended by hundreds of prominent Southern California-based CMCMA
alumni. Innumerable industry connections, student internships, alumni relationships,
graduate job opportunities and fundraising prospects enjoyed by Dean Pendakur’s
predecessor have ended as a direct consequence of this Dean’s conduct.
Indeed, something fundamental has changed in the College of Mass Communication
and Media Arts at SIUC, which enhances neither the quality of education nor prestige of
the University. Under Dean Pendakur, if you disagree with him, if you express an
independent opinion, if your priorities dare extend to the commercial interests of
students, or if you do not adhere to his personal ideology, then you are branded a
malcontent to be silenced. One outstanding member of the CMCMA family after
another has learned these lessons the hard way. Dean Pendakur has consistently
chosen to harass and humiliate his critics, real or imagined, rather than discuss issues
from an administrative or academic standpoint.
Since this Dean took office, the College has lost twenty tenured or tenure track faculty.
They are systematically being replaced by untenured – and, therefore, controllable –
faculty handpicked by the Dean and his small coterie of senior faculty administrators.
You may already be aware of Dean Pendakur’s efforts to marginalize authentic
disagreement as inconsequential dissent supposedly “stirred up by faculty.” But we
urge you, as duty bound administrators of a public university, to look past this smoke
screen and, instead, focus on merits of the statements put forward in this declaration.
Rest assured that many of us have watched Dean Pendakur most carefully since the
day he was hired. Our individual and collective experiences with SIUC and with him
give us the luxury of both accurate information and perspective. We have not been
provoked by faculty agitation, nor do we need it as a catalyst for action. The
overwhelming majority of us have been associated with CMCMA far longer than Dean
Pendakur. And we each feel a stronger emotional bond and sincere sense of gratitude
to it than he ever could.
We, the undersigned SIUC alumni, are motivated solely by our passion for the students,
programs and traditions of Southern Illinois University. Our careers have been good to
us and we owe a substantial debt of thanks to SIUC, the College of Mass
Communication and Media Arts and its predecessors. We vividly remember the
talented faculty who taught us. We value past administrators who guided the College
and SIUC with vision and caring. And we enjoyed collaborating with the many
professionals who excelled in those positions in recent years. We are trying to give
something back in the form of career-oriented experience, proven teaching techniques
and positive growth for the students' and CMCMA’s futures. We want only to see the
College restored to its former glory.
A crown jewel of SIUC has been systematically vandalized by Dean Pendakur. In the
process of revealing himself to be an inadequate educator, he has squandered the
national reputation and progressive programs of the College he inherited. He is
completely disengaged from the ambitions and needs of the students in his charge, and
the complex realities of the marketplace that they face upon graduation.
Even worse, he is openly indifferent to them.
Manjunath Pendakur’s contract is up for renewal this year. We believe that he has
repeatedly proven himself unqualified to hold the position of Dean and that his contract
should be terminated.
In considering our request, we urge you to reflect on several crucial goals which are
stated in the Core Values of the Southern@150 declaration on the SIUC website:
We must listen and respond to our students and provide instruction and services that
help them achieve their full potential. We will welcome all students and do our best
to prepare them for purposeful and productive lives. We may be challenged at times
to reassess our current beliefs, attitudes, and methods.
We will seek excellence in everything we do. We will define excellence with durable
national and international standards. In order to be truly excellent we must look
beyond ourselves and our immediate world. We must focus on the best. We must be
determined in our quest to get there. We are better than we think we are, but not as
good as we can be.
We will manage ourselves in a way that exceeds effectiveness. We will be bright and
thoughtful about solutions to problems. We will recognize that Southern Illinois
University Carbondale is a place that values people and the human spirit. We will be
wise. We will be careful. We will only be tolerant of the highest moral and ethical
standards in managerial and leadership behaviors, at every level of university life.
Our decision making should be directed toward excellence in all things.
We will develop and foster a sense of pride in our University, its traditions, and its
values. Our view of pride will not be parochial, but will be broadly inclusive and used
to constructively elevate each person whose life we touch.
For those inspiring words to be anything more than empty rhetoric, SIUC must
demonstrate them through action at every opportunity. The pending contract renewal of
Manjunath Pendakur cries out for thoughtful examination, as does developing a
comprehensive plan to revive programs that have withered or died on his watch. We
challenge you to carefully consider the points raised in this letter and seek answers to
the following questions:
* Why have so many proven teachers, including at least one Teacher of the Year, one
Researcher of the Year and the Director of Graduate Studies, left CMCMA in recent
years? Since Dean Pendakur arrived one department alone has lost over half of its
tenured faculty. Another has just one remaining full professor. Why? And why
have so many emerged from CMCMA to recount chilling tales of mismanagement
and abuse by Dean Pendakur?
* Why did nine tenured faculty representing all three academic departments in
CMCMA prepare a fourteen page Bill of Particulars against the Dean this February?
And why were other complaints of Dean Pendakur’s abuses of power, dating as far
back as February, 2002, and written by a senior professor and former Dean of the
College, not taken seriously by Dean Pendakur?
* The Dean has been quoted by a number of students, former faculty and staff as
publicly making pronouncements such as, “The media and advertising are ruining
society.” If this accurately reflects his opinion, and we believe it does, then what
business has he running what was once a nationally recognized media program?
A Letter From Concerned SIUC Alumni - 5
* During Dean Pendakur’s tenure, has he personally had any major success in
fundraising or attracting external research or development grants? Aside from the
donations which resulted from arrangements made by Dean Pendakur’s
predecessor, such as the recent financial gift from the Virginia Marmaduke estate,
haven’t most grants obtained by CMCMA been the product of a handful of faculty
and staff?
* At a time when SIUC is trying to build alumni support for its programs and plans for
the future, why have so many CMCMA alumni with lengthy and positive records of
College volunteerism and activism, as well as a history of major financial giving,
been made to feel unwelcome? Why have so many faculty in the College reported
that they have been prohibited from having contact with their most accomplished
alumni? How does that benefit the students?
* How is it that these same alumni were able to work well with a variety of Deans,
Department Chairs and Administration officials, from President John Guyon on
down, only to inexplicably become “problems” to be eliminated by Dean Pendakur?
* Why did Dean Pendakur unilaterally disband the CMCMA Alumni Advisory Board
immediately after taking office, only to create the so-called Dean’s National Industry
Council, which has never formally met, made any recommendations or offered any
information whatsoever to anyone in the College?
* Why has Dean Pendakur allowed his faculty to become so out of balance with the
marketplace? In the year prior to his arrival, the tenure/tenure track faculty in the
Radio-Television Department, which has a long tradition of faculty accomplishment
in the industry, boasted 250 years of professional industry experience. Those
numbers have been cut in half or more. Why?
* At a time when most major universities are expanding their video and film
production curricula to meet exciting undergraduate recruitment opportunities, as
well as the career interests of their students, why has CMCMA reduced that
curriculum in favor of theoretical media studies? Exactly how many jobs are there
for experts in "Media & Culture," anyway?
* With Dean Pendakur’s professed support of student production opportunities and
journalism, why did CMCMA fail to make the finals in this year’s SINBA Awards
when Northwestern University, Eastern & Western Illinois and Illinois State
somehow did? Didn’t CMCMA once dominate those awards?
* Other than a few newscasts, how many hours of overall programming per semester
do undergraduate students produce, direct and host for WSIU-TV, such as the nowcancelled
award-winning “Studio-A CafĂ©” and successful “SIU Sports Weekly”?
How far has that declined under this Dean, and why?
* How many minutes of news does WSIU-TV offer viewers each week and why has
the vital training ground of the “River Region Report” been allowed to deteriorate?
Exactly how does that decision serve the needs of the Broadcast Journalism and
Production students, or the community service mandates of SIUC?
* What kinds of professional extra curricular film and television production training will
CMCMA students be getting in the future under Dean Pendakur, such as the awardwinning
RT Productions unit? Does he believe that class work alone is enough to
prepare students for careers in the media?
* Why is CMCMA spending so much money administering a reduced version of the
innovative cross-disciplinary Hollywood Studies Program? Isn't the expenditure of a
whole faculty salary, plus benefits, on a part-time position that was once routinely
provided at an adjunct rate, along with alumni help, a poor allocation of resources?
* Why were the academic components of the Hollywood Studies Program, including
weekly professional seminars, onsite tenure track faculty supervision and alumni
mentoring, abruptly eliminated by this Dean? Could this be why students are so
unhappy with the way the program is currently administered?
* What has happened to the advertising track in the School of Journalism, which was
once a nationally admired program of CMCMA?
* What happened to the innovative Interactive Multimedia and MA/MBA programs in
CMCMA? Isn’t the former dead and the latter, with only one active student,
terminally ill?
* Just what have been the successes of Dean Pendakur to further undergraduate
education in CMCMA? Which of his initiatives can be held up for acclaim? Are
there any dynamic or innovative undergraduate programs in place that were not
initiated by his predecessors?
* Why was Dean Pendakur’s term as Dean at the University of Western Ontario cut
short? Has anyone at SIUC looked into that? Although our information about this is
merely anecdotal, it is also disquieting. If there is an unflattering trend to this Dean’s
management record, should it not be investigated?
And finally…
* Beyond our specific complaints about the decaying curriculum, performance and
reputation of CMCMA, it is a fact that a substantial loss of employee morale and
alumni goodwill has occurred under Dean Pendakur. Is this negative environment
really the path that the SIUC administration wants to take with any of its programs?
In your roles as senior administrators and trustees, you have a clear fiduciary
responsibility to do what is best for the long-term welfare of the College of Mass
Communication and Media Arts, students, faculty and staff. If you decide to act on this
responsibility, then it is imperative that you replace Manjunath Pendakur. Soon.
Dean Pendakur has caused so much damage to the College and its programs, and
inflicted so much pain on good employees and their families, that it may take a decade
or longer to fully heal the wounds under new leadership.
The choice is yours.

The two hundred seventy alumni who have signed this letter stand ready to help
CMCMA recover. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to take your
responsibility seriously.
Respectfully yours,

There are 14 pages of names here. Send me email if you want a copy of the pdf file and I'll send it to you.

OK, one more for a good cause. Mass Comm Audit letter

I was contacted by Ralph E. Becker about his concerns with corruption at SIUC and questions about my blog. We went back and forth at the end of last week. I think that the gentlemen pursing this are the real deal. Like me they are from Carbondale and went out into the world and did well. They don't want anything from doing this, just to help SIU. I am fairly convinced that their cause is just and something really wrong might be found at SIU.

I think that any observer of SIUC knows they are hiding money. Maybe for the football stadium and administration slush fund and maybe for something else? We do know factually that the accounting is very complicated at SIU and difficult to understand. In business, when an public organization starts to confuse their accounting it is almost always for a reason of hiding facts. If you told me that there were under the table payments to administrators or huge embezzlements of funds through travel budgets, or vendor kick backs, that would seem to fit everything else that is going on. It is also follows along our Illinois traditions of corruption. Of course, I don't know if anything like this is going on, just that it seems very possible.

Here is a copy of the letter sent to SIU asking for information. I transfered the letter from MS Word to html with Microsoft's converter and it didn't keep the correct formatting, but the content is there.

October 25, 2006


Rickey N. McCurry, J.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Southern Illinois University Foundation

Colyer Hall, 101B – Mail Code 6805

1235 Douglas Drive

Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6805

Re: Request for Detailed Information in Advance of Compliance Audit Visit --

Southern Illinois University Foundation’s Stewardship of the Ralph E.

Becker Scholarship Fund (both current and endowed portions – from

December 2, 1985 to September 30, 2006) and the Larry G. Brown

Media Management Laboratory Endowed Fund (both current and

endowed portions – from June 21, 1996 to September 30, 2006)

Dear Mr. McCurry:

Further to our earlier correspondence (via US mail and via E-mail) and telephone conversations with you and your staff, the purpose of this letter is to set forth, in detail, the documentation and information we are requesting that you and your staff supply in advance of our visit to your offices all in furtherance of our compliance audits of SIU Foundation’s stewardship on behalf of the Department of Radio - Television in the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts of Southern Illinois University of the aforementioned philanthropic funds from inception dates – see above – to September 30, 2006. [As an attachment to this request, enclosed for your files is a copy of a written confirmation from Five Mile Group’s clients, Ralph E. Becker and Larry G. Brown, that they did indeed engage Five Mile Group, PC, CPA’s, to conduct compliance audits of SIU Foundation’s handling of their philanthropic funds entrusted to the SIU Foundation for the benefit of SIU.]

(1) For the periods dating from nine months before the inception dates – see above – of the aforementioned endowments to September 30, 2006, any and all files, contents of files, handwritten notes and/or notations, typewritten notes and/or notations, computer-written notes and/or notations (even if not yet printed out in hard copy from said computers), electronic communications including E-mails (even if not previously printed out in hard copy from said computers), documents in draft form, documents in various stages of revision, documents in final form, documents executed by any and/or all of the parties involved, and any and all research and/or information relating to any of the following individuals and/or funds: Ralph E. Becker, Jane Becker, the Ralph E. Becker Scholarship Fund (including the Ed Brown Scholarship, the Buren Robbins Scholarship, the Richard Hildreth Scholarship, the Frank Stanton Scholarship, and the Ralph E. Becker Scholarship), Larry G. Brown, the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory Endowed Fund and the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory. Should the name of the individual(s), the fund(s) and/or the laboratory appear in the SIU Foundation (and/or SIU) files and/or computers in any other form or format that does not parallel the above-referenced names exactly, the request extends to the other form that the name(s) takes in the SIU Foundation (and/or SIU) files. Collectively, any items that are responsive to this request -- including whole file folders consisting of the file folder itself and all the contents thereof, video clips, tapes, DVD’s or films, audio tapes or CD’s -- shall be called “documents” hereinafter.

(2) This request includes, but is not limited to, the following specific types of documents relating to the above-referenced individuals, funds and/or laboratory listed in (1) above:

(A) Any and all documents reflecting internal (within SIU Foundation), quasi-internal (as between SIU Foundation and SIU), and/or external (or any combination thereof) communications to, from and/or about any, some or all of the above- referenced individuals, funds and/or laboratory listed in (1) above. This request includes brochures and/or any publications, newsletters, annual reports, or other printed matter making reference to such individuals, funds and/or laboratory.

(B) Any and all documents reflecting notes of meetings concerning any, some or all of the above- referenced individuals, funds and/or laboratory listed in (1) above. Such notes should include notes of internal meetings, quasi-internal meetings and meetings with persons other than those who represent the SIU Foundation or SIU, or any combination thereof.

(C) Any and all documents reflecting notes of telephone conversations with or concerning any, some or all of the above- referenced individuals, funds and/or laboratory listed in (1) above. Such notes should include notes of internal conversations, quasi-internal conversations and conversations with persons other than those who represent the SIU Foundation or SIU, or any combination thereof.

(D) Any and all documents housed in the SIU Foundation’s Research Department and, specifically any and all documents housed in file folders that fit the description, if interpreted by a reasonable person, of “research and documentation” about any, some or all of the above- referenced individuals, funds and/or laboratory listed in (1) above.

(E) Any and all documents housed in the SIU Foundation’s Accounting Department and, specifically any and all documents housed in file folders that fit the description, if interpreted by a reasonable person, of “accounting/distribution of funds” about any, some or all of the above- referenced individuals, funds and/or laboratory listed in (1) above.

(F) Any and all documents identifying the name(s) of the employees and/or independent contractors of SIU and the employees and/or independent contractors of the SIU Foundation who have had any role in any matter concerning the individuals, funds and/or laboratory referenced in (1) above, including all “Constituent Development Officers” or their equivalent -- and all persons senior to those officers at SIU and at the SIU Foundation -- from nine months before each inception date to the present. If any document has been produced under any other paragraph of this request, identification of the full name of the author of each and every document, the author’s position at SIU and/or SIU Foundation, their tenure, and a description of their involvement with any matter concerning any or all of the individuals, funds and/or laboratory referenced in (1) above.

(G) Any and all documents identifying the fiscal officer assigned to each endowment, their position at SIU and/or SIU Foundation, their tenure, a description of their performance as fiscal officer, and the information requested at (2)(F) above.

(H) Any and all documents regarding the role of the Dean of the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts, including all documents referencing his role and including all documents now or at any time in the custody and possession of the Office of the Dean of the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts. Such documents shall include, but not be limited to:

i. Annual reports of academic performance of the top students in the Department of Radio – Television;

ii. Detailed calculations (with assumptions fully explained) for each scholarship awarded from the Ralph E. Becker Scholarship Fund each year;

iii. Brochures, newsletters, flyers and promotional material regarding the Ralph E. Becker Scholarship Fund, the Communications Courtyard, the Obelisk of Honor, and the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory;

iv. Detailed identification of and underlying support for each and every expenditure on behalf of the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory (including name and address of vendor, date, description, dollar amount, and use); and

v. The budget for the July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007 fiscal year for the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory in the Department of Radio – Television.

(I) Any and all documents regarding the role of the head of the Department of Radio - Television, including all documents referencing his or her role. Such documents shall include the documents enumerated in (2)(H) above, including documents in the possession of the Department of Radio – Television and documents which were once in the custody and possession of the Department of Radio – Television but which are held in custody elsewhere by SIU and/or the SIU Foundation today or which are available by copy from another department or office at SIU and/or the SIU Foundation.

(3) Any and all internal and/or quasi-internal SIU Foundation / SIU accounting and contractual records relating to the Ralph E. Becker Scholarship Fund, the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory Endowed Fund and the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory for the full period under audit.

Information should include:

(A) Contracts with donors (including all amendments);

(B) The opening balance of each fund for each fiscal year;

(C) Additions and earnings credited each year to the principal amount held in trust in each fund;

(D) Deductions for fees imposed -- authorized as well as unauthorized -- by the SIU Foundation each year for each fund;

(E) Descriptive details and identification of all financial distributions made in each fiscal year from each fund and on behalf of the laboratory (identifying monies coming from other donors to the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory);

(F) Calculations to determine the amounts to be expended each year from each fund,

(G) The names of the individuals responsible for proposing the use of monies from each of the aforementioned funds and/or on behalf of the Larry G. Brown Media Management Laboratory each year;

(H) The names of the individuals responsible for actually approving the expenditure of the proposed uses of monies mentioned in (3)(G) above;

(I) The names of the individuals responsible for actually making the approved expenditures noted in (3)(G) and (H) above;

(J) The closing fiscal year end balance in each fund for each year under audit.

Kindly attend to this request as soon as possible. My target date for receipt is November 15, 2006.


Joi Reiner Gallo, CPA

cc: Michael C. Carr, Esq.

Immediate Past President, SIU Foundation /

Continuing Member of the Board of Directors, SIU Foundation


Assistant U.S. Attorney

Southern District of Illinois

United States Attorney’s Office

9 Executive Drive, Suite 300

Fairview Heights, Illinois 62208

Mr. Larry R. DeJarnett

President, SIU Foundation Board of Directors


Managing Director

The LAMAR Group

30810 Cartier Drive

Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275

Chancellor Walter V. Wendler

Office of the Chancellor, Northwest Annex

Southern Illinois University

1235 Douglas Drive

Carbondale, Illinois 62901-4304

President Glenn W. Poshard

Office of the President

Southern Illinois University

1235 Douglas Drive

Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6801

Provost John M. Dunn

Office of the Provost & Vice Chancellor

Southern Illinois University

1235 Douglas Drive

Carbondale, Illinois 62901

Mr. Bryan C. Vagner

Managing Director, SIU Foundation

Southern Illinois University

1235 Douglas Drive

Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6805

Ms. Elizabeth Banycky

Controller and Treasurer, SIU Foundation

Southern Illinois University

1235 Douglas Drive

Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6805

Attorney General Lisa Madigan

State of Illinois

100 West Randolph Street, 12th Floor

Chicago, Illinois 60601

Mr. Ralph E. Becker

219 Old Kings Highway South

Darien, Connecticut 06820

Mr. Larry G. Brown

7101 Falling Water Lane

Plano, Texas 75024

Friday, November 03, 2006

The end of this Blog.

Some of you might be asking why I would stop writing entries to this blog now. Let me go over the reason that I started and what I have found along the way.

For 5 years, I haven't been trying to make money, just to change things for the better. I decided to start writing about Carbondale business development and SIUC because I wanted to organize my thoughts. Really dig into what I was doing here and how I could do better. In the past I have done this and it has really helped me make correct decisions.

Here is what I found -
  • SIUC is corrupt and is going to lose 10% to 20% of their students in the next 5 years. Bank on it.
  • Illinois is corrupt and is a bigger version of SIUC. To many layers of government, to much corruption, to many family members on payroll, to much cheating and hiding behind political contacts. Hey, Chicago is in the state and that is the benchmark for political corruption.
  • Brad Cole is a good mayor and has improved Carbondale in his time in office.
  • Walker and Wendler are bad managers for SIUC. They have hurt the institution more then I thought was possible in 5 years.
  • SIU administrators are paid more then their peers and SIU Professors are paid less.
  • I'm guessing that the people digging into the College of Mass Comm mess have some real dirt and there is a real chance that people are going to jail over it.
  • There are no people to start business in Southern Illinois, as defined by people who are 30 to 50 with a college degree. They have all moved away.
  • We have no clue as a society what we are missing.
  • People in Southern Illinois are nice.
  • The place is beautiful.
  • There is plenty of money looking for deals, but there are no deals.
Not much good news there. This is what I found out about myself.
  • I like high tech. I started when I was 13 and I'm not ready to retire.
  • If I stay in Southern Illinois, I must stop doing high tech and really retire or change businesses.
  • There is no one to learn from about my business. Though I have a group of friends who are as smart and knowledgeable as anyone I have known before. It is no fun being the lone Indian.
  • I enjoy writing. I have been sending hundreds of emails for years, it isn't that surprising, but writing my little blog has been fun.
My original plan was to move to Southern Illinois and split my time between being an Angel Investor and building furniture. I think this is still a good idea and I'm going to pursue it. I can't do that here, so like almost everyone who comes to Southern Illinois I'm going to vote with my feet and leave this place.

Two ideas for you -
"You can't help people who don't want to be helped." - Ross Perot
"Southern Illinois is experiencing social Darwinism." - a local smart guy. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to name him.

I'll still be working on my Art Blog on Still be in town until next summer, but I'm going to stop thinking about this now and do some real work for a while.

Thanks to each of you who took the time to comment and make this blog come to life for just a little while. I enjoyed your input more then you can know.

I have a little plaque on my desk that I have had for a few years, that is kind of a motto of mine, "What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" Think about it, you could be doing so much more than waiting for spoiled table scraps to fall your way.

As always, your comments are welcome.