An outsourcing suggestion, Weinstein's 'outrageous' salary, Gold Hill dreaming, more

Letters

July 09, 2014

Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • email: letters@csindy.com

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Private dancing

Here's a chance for Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach and Chief of Staff Steve Cox to kill two birds with one stone: Outsource the information technology department and get rid of those pesky city employees; keep the money for infrastructure; pay an outsourcing organization three times what it would cost in-house for a design/build of a new IT network architecture, with a 60-month time frame for delivery of a working system, which will make the system obsolete by then. Then Bach and Cox can boast they saved the city money, again, by going to the "private" sector.

The other benefit would be that those "deleted" emails ("Ain't no sunshine," cover story, July 2) might be easier to find by the Indy, etc., when a Colorado Open Records Act request is filed, because the organization running the IT department won't care to whom they give information, and will not run afoul of the law.

— Gary Casimir

Colorado Springs

Mikey's money

I conducted a recent non-scientific poll in Colorado Springs concerning compensation for leaders of nonprofit organizations. Citizens were asked the following question: If you donate to a nonprofit group, would you want almost 50 percent of the total revenue coming into the group to be used as salary for the president of the group?

Every respondent said no and/or absolutely not. One stated, "That's outrageous!"

If local citizens consider it outrageous, then why aren't we hearing from the board of directors of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) about the outsized, almost-50-percent-of-income salary taken by Mikey Weinstein to be president of the group?

In 2012, according to guidestar.org and as reported by the Air Force Times, Weinstein's compensation was $273,355. This totals a little less than 50 percent of the money coming into the MRFF from donations and grants.

When comparing income to compensation at other nonprofits, it is almost obscene.

So what does Mikey do for this huge amount of money? MRFF filings say he works 80 hours a week for this income. Interestingly, he also votes on his own compensation, which is contrary to "accepted best practices" in the nonprofit community.

The story reports, "Charity Navigator recommends that a board be make up of five independent voting members, who are not paid employees or family members." MRFF appears to have only few board members, and Mikey is one of them. He is a paid member of the board and certainly is not independent, plus he sets his own salary.

Considering the income-versus-compensation ratio, I ask, if you were donating to any supposed nonprofit group, would you want their president taking almost 50 percent of the income for his or her salary?

— Helen Sabin

Colorado Springs

Climb this

There are many examples of how we as a community have both kept our historic buildings and found productive uses for them, thus keeping them alive. In that spirit I want to build a climbing wall on the inside of the historic smokestack at Gold Hill Mesa.

I have looked at the building plan and I see no problem with a quiet, small business developing there.

From a restoration perspective, I propose sealing the rough bottom with a few cubic yards of concrete. Construct a secure door at the entrance, and fence off the dangerous parts of the property. A secure climbing route would be bolted to the "easy face."

The hard part would be cleaning the inside of the smokestack, as the residue would most likely be toxic. Cleaning team members would need to wear protective gear as well as climbing gear. An industrial-grade sealant would be painted on the climbing surfaces.

Here is my dream of how the facility will operate: There will be a maximum of three people in the smokestack at one time, but when climbing, there will at least two. Each climber will sign a release. No free-climbing, zero tolerance for alcohol or other drugs at the facility. When climbers reach the top, they may open a hatch and behold an amazing panoramic view of our community.

We need to both preserve and utilize the unique artifacts of the Pikes Peak region. My best example of that is Red Rock Canyon Open Space — now we have a park that is totally unique to the world, while 25 years ago we had a great unknown, locked away from us.

— Aaron Mendell

Colorado Springs

Ranger redux

Would it be possible to offer the departed Ranger Rich's column to Larimore Nicholl? I feel totally lost unless I read Mr. Nicholl's thoughts about every subject under the sun, on a weekly basis.

— Doug Roman

Colorado Springs

Knotted undies

Regarding Ms. Brazill's July 2 letter ("Cheapening religion"): I love it when Freethinkers and liberals get their undies in knots by some perceived threat to their "freedom" and immediately catastrophize, exaggerate, and twist the facts to suit the agenda. This time, it looks like a bunch of mean, old, religious white guys will deprive all of us women of birth control to keep us barefoot and pregnant, or deprive us of our livelihoods if we don't agree with them.

Firstly, if one reads the Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby, it only applies to the day-after and week-after and ever-after(?) products. Secondly, I totally support freedom of choice and absolutely want every female of child-bearing age to be on birth control, and in no way see the threat that has Ms. Brazill in convulsions. Thirdly, there is the concept of personal responsibility, for which the woman in question ensures that she gets what she needs, whether from insurance, Amazon, Planned Parenthood, a regional health department, or any number of women's health care facilities.

Of course, no one can stand over her and make sure she uses it. Barring a true emergency or dire event, which is another issue entirely, if someone needs the day-after or week-after products regularly, it seems to me there is a learning-curve problem rather than an insurance-coverage problem.

And seriously, the suggestion that one is going to be fired for practicing birth control is laughable. I am going into convulsions myself, trying to imagine a scenario in which this information would come out. Maybe during the annual performance appraisal: "Excuse me for a moment, boss, I forgot to take my birth control pill ..." Now, really.

I am encouraged, though, that Ms. Brazill is defending religion to make her case. Any port in an imaginary storm?

— Geraldine Russell

Colorado Springs

Correction

Last week's Slice of Life caption should have read that Colorado Springs City Council recently decided to allow two goats per household, not two goats per resident. We regret the error.

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Comments (12)

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Re: Helen Sabin's letter......

I’m a USAFA graduate (’85) and veteran who supports MRFF. The kerfuffle stirred up by Stephen Losey’s recent article is unfortunate, because the issue is a red herring at best and an unfair hatchet job at worst.

Unlike some organizations, MRFF’s does not collect donations and use that money for financial support of some constituency. There are groups that do that – two that spring to mind are the Wounded Warrior Project and the Fisher House Foundation (where both CEO’s earn more than MRFF’s CEO, I believe). That is not the model or mission under which MRFF operates. Donors to MRFF understand that we support the expenses and viability of the organization, including Mikey Weinstein’s salary. There is no subterfuge. No misrepresentation. No broken promise.

Mr. Losey’s selective use of Charity Navigator’s guidance is also troubling. Beyond general advice about expense ratios and board structure, CN also cautions: “Consider the performance of the charity in relation to the CEO's pay. If you come across a charity whose CEO pay is higher than other similar charities, don't immediately dismiss that charity's request for funding.” (2013 Charity CEO Compensation Study). By any measure, Mikey has been enormously successful as a leading voice in the fight to ensure all military members fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they are entitled under the First Amendment.

As a corporate executive, I appreciate the links between skill sets, job requirements and salary. Mikey is appropriately compensated for his talents and for the tremendous job requirements that he shoulders. He brings to his role vast experience and capability as an attorney and former JAG, attributes that would be valued (and appropriately compensated) by many organizations.

Mikey is one of the most honorable and genuine men I know. It’s important to note that, despite misspeaking in the Losey interview, Mikey actually does not vote on his own salary. He is worth every cent of his compensation, and I know my donations are a solid investment in an important cause.

Mike Challman

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Posted by Mike Challman on 07/09/2014 at 3:42 PM

Bravo, Mr. Challman!--or should I say amen?

We can be sure that Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF have been effective in the struggle for religious freedom when his opponents give up on trying to debate the First Amendment issues and resort to attacking the man--particularly when they use selective information, specious logic, and innuendo as their ammunition.

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Posted by Mr. K-- on 07/09/2014 at 10:20 PM

'Amen' works fine for me, Mr. K.... In addition to being an MRFF supporter and donor, I'm also an active and devout Christian....

.....which I know messes up the dismissive narrative advanced by some that MRFF is an anti-Christian organization. But whaddya know, it turns out that one can serve God AND respect the US Constitution at the very same time.

Thanks for your comments, I agree completely that this sort of attack suggests an inability to debate effectively the actual issues.

Peace, Mike

report 15 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Mike Challman on 07/10/2014 at 11:05 AM

You know the famous comment about a fool and his money are soon parted? That certainly applies to those who belong to the MRFF.

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Posted by Publisherpikespeakregionlivingmagazine on 07/10/2014 at 11:28 PM

Mark Twain once said it is better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool, than to open it up and remove all doubt. Mr. Publish is an excellent example.

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Posted by Mr. K-- on 07/11/2014 at 1:34 AM

Mikey may be a good person honorable but the word, NON in PROFIT should rule your organization. And as I said before unless YOU too are on the dole, a salary that is almost 50% of income is ridiculous! A fool and his money are soon parted - can't wait to see you turned into a believer.

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Posted by Publisherpikespeakregionlivingmagazine on 07/11/2014 at 11:05 AM

Mr. Publish, you remind me of the man whom Oscar Wilde described as knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. No one is going broke funding the MRFF. On the other hand, I cannot be sure the same thing can be said of the American Family Association, because aging zealots have a tendency to go broke trying to buy reserved seats in heaven.

A closer analysis of your untenable "logic" will expose your two-faced argument in all of its glorious hypocrisy. When you give to a charity like Cancer Research, for example, you might get outraged at the CEO's salary because the cause is worthy and you want more of your dollars going to actual research than salaries and administration. Similarly, when you criticize Mr. Weinstein's salary you must be advocating that the MRFF spend more of its funds fighting the military for religious freedom because it is a worthy cause!

Is that really your position? Or are you just pretending in the vain hope it will dissuade anyone from contributing to an effective organization fighting for a worthy cause, of which you happen to heartily disapprove?

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Posted by Mr. K-- on 07/12/2014 at 3:59 AM

Mrs Russel Where did the ruling say only morning after pills? The ruling stated any closely held companies can opt out if its religiously opposed to that part of the law. They didnt specify. Or did I miss something? Now H. L. went ahead and allowed the regular pill but that was there choice but dont think others will. Now the part I dont get is "Closely Held" If H.L. was truly closely held would they have the personal protection afforded them by a Corporation? In other words they have no personal liability by becoming a corporation but they have demanded personal religious protection. Hows that work?

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Posted by Rocky Smith on 07/14/2014 at 7:51 PM

Publish - with respect, it seems that it is you who does not have a strong grasp of what non-profit means. It certainly does not mean that the organization doesn't pay salaries. It also does not mean that a highly-qualified, highly-effective leader of the organization should not be paid an appropriate salary.

You clearly believe that Mikey Weinstein, with his background as a USAFA graduate, law school graduate, USAF JAG officer, White House Fellow, with his almost three decades of experience, and with his demonstrated effectiveness as an advocate for the protection of the Constitutional rights of all military members, is overpaid.

I'd suggest that you don't have a handle on what an individual with that background is worth -- for if you did, then you'd know that he's worth much more.

As to your comment about being "turned into a believer", rest assured I am already a believer --- in God, in the importance of upholding the US Constitution, and in supporting honorable men like Mikey Weinstein who are willing to fight an unpopular fight.

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Posted by Mike Challman on 07/15/2014 at 2:34 PM

Government should provide such conditions so that all people could find good jobs and solve old financial issues. Such recovery of the labor market will also positively influence the economy. People will start consuming more, more products will be manufactured, and more money options at http://installmentcredits.com/ will be used.

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Posted by Kim Henry on 07/17/2014 at 5:30 AM

Aaron Mendel's letter displayed a stunning, fundamental ignorance and astounded this one citizen--does anyone really want to climb the smokestack of a plant that processed cyanide and other profoundly toxic chemicals?

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Posted by concernedcitizen80806 on 07/22/2014 at 2:12 PM

Govt as well as private sector should provide the low interest rate payday loans or other types of financial assistance to their nationals to survive in this money crisis world, where every individuals are facing monetary problems. Banks should offer low interest rates for payday loans. Find more options at http://500fastcash.co

report 0 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by burtbryson on 09/19/2014 at 12:01 PM
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