Skip to comments.Idaho: U of I pays 'inspiration officer' $112K for 9-month contract
Posted on 06/05/2009 6:43:19 AM PDT by yankeedame
MOSCOW, Idaho. - Public records show the University of Idaho is paying a Minnesota consultant who spends less than two weeks a month on the Moscow campus $112,500 to serve as its "chief inspiration officer."
The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports the university signed a contract with Magaly Rodriguez last year, paying her $12,500 a month as part of a nine-month contract that expires in June.
Schools officials say the workshops conducted by Rodriguez have helped save programs, but some faculty are criticizing the contract that was signed during the same budget year the school was forced to cut about $3.8 million.
University provost Doug Baker says the independent consultant is helping the university adopt its strategic plan and Rodriguez is worth the expense.
Kinda makes me feel inspired to sharpen the tines on my pitchfork.
I’ll do it for half that. Of course, I’m just an ordinary white boy so they won’t get any affirmative action points.
$112,000. for 9 months work would sure inspire me.
A friend of mine who recently retired from a university (not the one in this article) once said, “We have plenty of money, the problem is we pi** it away on crap like this.”
I think his statement applies here.
And they couldn’t find anyone in/from Idaho to do the job?/sarc
Rodriguez spends between zero and 10 days at the university in northern Idaho each month, the contract says. Travel, lodging and meal expenses are deducted from her $12,500 monthly fee.
Rodriguez, a former teacher and missionary who was born in Cuba and has a bachelor's degree in history from Siena Heights College in Michigan and a master's degree in human resources from St. Thomas University in Miami, is helping the university adopt its strategic plan...
"She's helping us reshape our culture," Baker told the Daily News.
Rodriguez, who is with the Minneapolis, Minn.-based consulting company Volentum, said she helps create global peacemaking communities. In her biography, Rodriguez says she coined several terms, including "peacemaking" and "vitalizing change."
"If you want to know kind of really what I do, I'm interested in building communities," Rodriguez told the Moscow newspaper during a telephone interview.
Rodriguez facilitated a two-day workshop in February, when the university was considering eliminating an undergraduate degree in physics, and it ultimately helped save the program, College of Science Dean Scott Wood said.
"We obviously got to a resolution," Wood said. "I'm not convinced we would have gotten there without Magaly's help."
But physics professor Francesca Sammarruca said the workshop focused mainly on sharing feelings, resolving personal conflicts and did not address the "hasty decision" to potentially cut the degree program.
"The point is that her services cannot help with problems such as ours," Sammarruca wrote in an e-mail. "That decision needed to be discussed openly and thoroughly between the people involved in a (moderated) professional meeting, and at a much lower cost."
Rodriguez's salary is "outrageous" and could support seven graduate students each month," Sammarruca said.
The university has employed Rodriguez as an independent consultant with Volentum for more than a year and before signing the nine-month contract in 2008, she signed one-time contracts between $10,000 and $15,500 to conduct workshops.
Other universities spend similar amounts on independent consultants, according school officials...
Patricia Hartzell, a professor in the department of microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry, has participated in more than one of the workshops, saying "I'm really perplexed as to what (administrators) thought the outcome would be, how it would change our life. Because it didn't," Hartzell said. "I think they think they were successful."
This is either cronyism or a MWBE scam - universities are forced to employ some proportion of "Minority and Women Business Enterprises" when it comes to consulting and other sourced work. The corporate world is similarly full of this inspirational garbage, sometimes only to serve the same purpose (cronyism or MWBE quotas). Same goes for Diversity Awareness Officers and similarly titled burning pits into which money is shoveled.
My old company hired someone like this to come in and talk to us periodically. No idea what his rate was, I'm sure that it wasn't cheap. He had snookered a couple of the top execs on a golf outing, or something, into thinking that he was a top motivational speaker.
It was painfully obvious to us all-business engineers that the guy was a BS artist. Still, we had to play along. Someone eventually did some homework on the guy, found out he was under indictment for fraud, wasn't even close to who he claimed he was in the "seminars". When this was brought to the attention of management, it was swept under the carpet...can't have people realizing that a mistake was made, dontcha know.
At least it was just some corporate profits that were flushed, not taxpayer money.