Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 54
Published in the Warrensburg Gazette August 3, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

I see that the CMSU Board of Governors has gotten around to doing something about Dr. Elliott’s contract. Back in April, the State Auditor & the Attorney General told them they’d exceeded their authority by giving Dr. Elliott a big salary plus state property, worth over $620,000 over 3 years, without any specific job requirements. The greatest criticism was for the first year of the contract, when Dr. Elliott was to receive over $330,000 in salary & benefits while he was on sabbatical leave. The Board supposedly justified the contract because they were grateful for Dr. Elliott’s previous fund raising success and they expected him to continue to raise money for the CMSU Foundation.

So, what did the Board of Governors decide to do? They offered Dr. Elliott $225,000 to buy out the remaining two years of the contract (the part when he was expected to do something). While details aren’t yet available, normally a buyout means an up-front payment, so Dr. Elliott would gets $225,000 in November instead of $287,000 over the ensuing two years. And he gets to retire. With his health insurance still paid by CMSU. And he keeps the $330,000 for the first year. Boiled down, this deal appears to mean that taxpayers get to pay Dr. Elliott $555,000 over 1 year without working instead of $620,000 over 3 years with work required.

Just for curiosity, I used a financial calculator program to compare the value of $225,000 paid this November to $287,000 over 2 years. In real-money terms, the savings to the taxpayer is closer to $40,000 than $60,000. Meanwhile, Dr. Elliott will be free, for example, to work for the Foundation (who probably should have been paying much of the original contract to begin with and who is likely to fund transportation, etc., for any fund-raising trips they send him on).

If the CMSU “Muleskinner” reporters & writers who exposed the whole situation were still around, they’d have a field day. I doubt if we’ll see such daring again from student-journalists, since CMSU fired the faculty advisor who actually allowed investigative journalism to occur. Of course, one doesn’t have to work for the media to request information under the Missouri Sunshine Law, so shutting up the “Muleskinner” won’t help the Board of Governors operate in the dark.

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