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Regents request policies on perks for retired faculty

Erin Jordan

Des Moines Register

January 24, 2007

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

Iowa City, Ia. - The Iowa Board of Regents will ask Iowa's public universities what perks they offer retired faculty members.

Regents President Michael Gartner said during a Tuesday conference call that the universities will be asked to show their policies for providing benefits to emeritus faculty and administrators.

Several regents said they wanted to see the policies after newspaper articles detailed the benefits the University of Iowa provides to John Colloton, the retired director of University Hospitals.

"I'd like to know what the policy is," said Regent Teresa Wahlert of Waukee.

The request came a day after a Des Moines Register article detailed Colloton's perks, which include a private office at University Hospitals, free parking on campus and a secretary the state pays $56,499 a year. Colloton, 75, retired in 2000.

Some regents and U of I employees have questioned Colloton's influence at the hospital.

"His presence on this campus may be detrimental at this time," Regent Amir Arbisser of Davenport said last week. "I'm concerned that he has a very active role in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield board. We are very different groups."

In other action, the regents unanimously approved the remainder of a 13-member presidential search committee at the U of I.

The committee includes eight professors, two deans, a donor, a staff member and a student. Its first meeting will be held on Friday.

"We will have open meetings," said David Johnsen, chairman of the committee and dean of the U of I College of Dentistry.

Johnsen said he will report regularly to the regents and explain the process used by the committee, which will interview candidates and choose finalists for the U of I presidency. Johnsen said he hopes the regents can name a new president by July 1.