Correction: while the Board of Regents spent what seems like an inordinate amount of money ($156,000) to make an in-house hire for SDSU’s next president, they did not spend some of that money on renting their own SDSU Performing Arts Center for the announcement.
Angela Kennecke reported that rental expense in her original May 9 report on the $156K president hunt. She made it sound like the Regents themselves had listed that cost as fact:
Nearly two weeks after KELOLAND News submitted a public records request to the Board of Regents asking for records of all expenses involved in the search for the new SDSU President, including the use of the State plane, as it was used in that search, we got an email from the State which broke down the various ways the $156,000 was spent:
- Travel to meetings, interviews, and the announcement of the new president. That includes use of the State plane for regents, staff and members of the search committee.
- Rent of SDSU’s Performing Arts Center to make the announcement, as well as for a meal and lodging costs… [Angela Kennecke, “SDSU President Search Tab to Taxpayer: $156,000,” KELO-TV, 2016.05.09].
Kennecke corrects that error in the last paragraph of her follow-up story today:
In its original email to KELOLAND News, the Board of Regents told us that some of the $156,000 went to location event rental, but would not specify what that meant. The only event we knew about was the announcement of Dunn’s appointment at the SDSU Performing Arts Center. However, with this information, we now know that that event rental was for the hotel location to interview the finalists for the job in Sioux Falls [Angela Kennecke, “Breakdown of Expenses in SDSU President Search; $15,000 for Use of State Plane,” KELO-TV, 2016.05.17].
We investigative reporters (hear Kennecke grit her teeth at my pronoun) always face the peril that our occasional errors will distract readers from the main story and cause them to doubt our other stories. We (grit) must thus carefully craft our sentences to make clear what is documentable fact, what is our logical deduction, and what is our speculation.
The big story, of course, is that the Regents paid Illinois-based consultants Witt/Kieffer $117,825 for the trouble of telling us that the best person to run SDSU was already at SDSU. I feel like if I lost my cell phone, the Regents would tell me to go buy a new cell phone to ring my number while I’d say, “Hold on, let me check under the couch cushions first.”