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21
Sep

Dan Marvin gets paid more than the mayor, too

Back during the heat of the arena campaign, the city’s arena coordinator, Dan Marvin, would sometimes mention that his contract would end after the May arena election.
The implication was that his job was not contingent upon a successful vote.
Turns out, his job didn’t end then. He has continued to work as an independent contractor for the city as the arena project manager and recently got a new contract. (Not to be confused with the arena project manager or program manager or any other manager associated with the arena project.)
His contract says he’ll work on property acquisition, financing and redevelopment agreement negotiations, and be the city’s primary contact with ISG (although presumably that won’t be necessary now that ISG did not win the bid to market the arena).
His one-year contract with the city says he’ll be paid $81,500 per year, with $10,000 allowed for expenses. The city also agreed to provide him with a city office, PC, phone, fax, etc.
I’ve always been surprised the city can provide a contractor with an office and all that, given that in my field that’s frowned upon, but city officials tell me it’s perfectly legal.
See the contract here: EO 83351

21
Sep

Speaking of J&J

They also mentioned that tomorrow they’re going to talk about some B-list local celebrity who went after them in a comment on my blog… I’m not sure who they’re talking about, but I think I have an idea. But the real question is, who are the A-list local celebrities? Because I didn’t know we had much of a list… other than maybe that Pelini guy, or T.O., maybe the mayor, the governor.

21
Sep

Mayor talks about JPA jam

Mayor Chris Beutler was on Jack-n-John today, and addressed an issue I blogged about last week: How the three-member arena joint public agency has difficulty communicating without violating the open meetings law.

The law prohibits a quorum of the board from talking business outside of public meetings, and since there are only three people on the arena board, any time two of them talk business, they’re violating the law.

“It is a very practical communication problem,” Beutler told J&J.

It’s a problem, he said, because normally they’d “try to work out problems”privately ahead of meetings to avoid a lot of “fuss” in public. That sounds like the school board’s modus operandi, doesn’t it?

Of course, reporters are usually more partial to boards that work out problems in public, like the City Council (although the council seems to be getting better at avoiding public rows). Gives them something to report.

Even though the City Council gets dinged for being dysfunctional, I like the transparency of debating issues in public rather than taking care of problems in closed-door subcommittees or private meetings and e-mails. Otherwise the formal meetings feel like a farce.

But back to Beutler.

To get around this problem, he said the JPA board has been communicating through third parties — which he’s been told is legal. But he said “some thought” has been given to adding another member to the board (as I reported). He gave a hint as to the dilemma though when he noted all JPA votes must be unanimous to pass, and “the university and city have slightly diffferent interests.”

The JPA board is comprised of Beutler, Councilwoman Jayne Snyder and UNL Regent Tim Clare. It would seem obvious that if a fourth member were added (by a JPA vote), it would probably be another UNL representative. However, that unanimous vote requirement quickly led to a tenuous situation early in the JPA’s life, when Clare darn near held up everything with his insistence that the city not use union-favoring contracts.

Adding another UNL member would only make it more difficult for the city to ensure it’s in the driver’s seat on this $340 million project.

Which is probably why Beutler said “at the moment,” he’s content to leave things alone.

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