Untangling the Ivy

Dateline: Thu 08 Nov 2007

With excitement over the Marion County elections at a dull roar -- to say nothing of hot races Greencastle and Cloverdale -- it's been a while since we talked about the doings at Ivy Tech Community College.

Perfect segue: Greencastle's new mayor is Democrat Sue Murray. She's a progressive who is pledging to put the county seat back on the Indiana map with new initiatives and jobs.

Under that heading, Greencastle will be getting a new Ivy Tech campus that will serve seven counties; the Putnam County Foundation donated $375,000 to the cause to build the $8 million school on 30 acres. One major reason Greencastle is getting this much-needed facility is the influence of Ivy Tech Foundation Board member Mike Harmless, a former Greencastle mayor who engaged in economic development with Crowe Chizek in Indy. Harmless, Greencastle's mayor from 1987-95, has enjoyed a long relationship with Ivy Tech.

So you see, Ivy Tech, with 23 campuses under the new leadership of businessman Tom Snyder, is big news out here in the sticks.

But the old news still plagues the massive community college system:

Here's the latest buzz:

The new board of directors at Ivy have started looking into the

spending of former president Jerry Lampkin in his role as head of the

foundation. From initial findings, he has been ordered to repay $20,000 to $30,000 in misspent money. "People go to jail for such offenses," one Marion County judge says. "They can't sweep this under the rug and ignore the fact that this happened." And there could be more.

New president Snyder has asked the board for a stipend for

his wife, Babette. Snyder wants his wife to travel with him when he goes to out-of-state meetings and conferences. Apparently his $300,000-a-year salary just won't cut it.

Richard Smikle, the Ice Miller lawyer who served as legal consul to the board during its search for a new prez, was instrumental in seeing to it that Carol D'Amico did not get the presidency position last summer. Apparently he was fearful that cooler heads, such as D'Amico's, would have him looking for work. Now he's been taken off the job by his law firm. But he hasn't been quiet.

Seems he called one board member recently, and when he was unable to reach him, left a message on the phone recorder. The message in essence said "You were right. Tom Snyder is an (blankety-blank.) He's nothing but a used-car salesman." That taped message has made the rounds; it has reached Snyder, other board members and the Statehouse.

Those who follow Ivy Tech politics will recall that longtime educator D'Amico appeared to have Lampkin's blessing for the job. But no. Now we also are hearing that Lampkin had hired two people, at $10,000 a month each, to search for presidential candidates even before and during the board's search.

Seems he wanted to make absolutely certain that D'Amico didn't prevail.

Ivy Tech: a great institution, a great asset and a real cash cow for those at the top.

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