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16
Sep

JPA to get another member?

I’m hearing there’s a movement afoot to add another member to the board overseeing finance and construction of Lincoln’s $340 million arena project.
Currently, there are three people on the so-called “joint public agency” — Councilwoman Jayne Snyder, UNL Regent Tim Clare and Mayor Chris Beutler.
Funny thing about three-member boards: Where two or more of them are gathered together, there exists a quorum.
And therein lies the problem: No two members of the JPA can talk to each other outside of their meetings, or they are violating the state open meetings law. Thus the possibility of adding another person.
I’m hearing it could be another UNL regent… which would really surprise me.
Time will tell. It always does.

16
Sep

How did CSL do it?

Regarding my earlier post about CSL’s upset of media marketing giant ISG in the battle to market Lincoln’s new arena…
I’m told the selection committee thought CSL would do a better job of representing the city than ISG/Husker Sports, which might be more inclined to represent the University of Nebraska (whose basketball teams will play in the arena). ISG has a huge contract marketing the Huskers; that’s how they got involved in Lincoln’s arena project.
I’m also told ISG wanted a very long contract, to coincide with their Husker athletics contracts — and is none too pleased that they didn’t get chosen.
ISG is the company that at one time talked about financing the whole arena, and then $75 million of it. Now, none of it.
In other arena news, my sources tell me the city has abandoned its plan to hire a project manager. This company would oversee the arena portion of the project. Historically, a city employee has filled this role, but this time the city solicited proposals from companies. Apparently, those proposals will be thrown out the window and the job may be given to the Oklahoma City company, Benham, that was chosen to be the program manager.
The program manager oversees the whole west Haymarket project.
I know — it’s a hell of a confusing flowchart.
Personally, I find it somewhat comforting that these selection committees haven’t been awarding the arena gigs to the companies everybody expects.

16
Sep

Raise for the mayor? Not bloody likely.

With a vote approaching on whether Lincoln’s mayoral salary should be bumped from $75,000 to $100,000 in two years, I asked around to see where the City Council is leaning.
One council member told me he thinks the chance of passage of the raise recommended by a salary study committee is “slim to none.” Some council members are talking about amending the proposed raise, but everybody is likely to be wary of giving the mayor (whoever the next mayor is) a big raise during a recession and budget-tightening at city hall.
The raise wouldn’t go into effect until after the spring city election, and Mayor Chris Beutler has said if he’s re-elected (I guess he’s running!), he will decline the raise, but he thinks it should be approved for future mayors.
Councilman Jon Camp recently wrote to Beutler asking him to withdraw the proposed legislation “in view of the public outcry” and “your quick response and declination to accept any increase.”
A public hearing on the proposal will be held Monday at city hall; meeting starts at 3 p.m.