$10 permit increase proposal goes to the regents

Meeting March 13 at Iowa State, the state Board of Regents reviewed proposed parking permit increases for the year beginning on July 1; a board vote is expected at the April meeting. Iowa State’s parking division is proposing a flat $10 increase to all permits, excluding motorcycle permits ($3 proposed increase) and an annual permit in the Memorial Union ramp ($12 proposed increase). No increase is being sought for hourly parking (meters or metered lots).

Parking revenue is used to maintain existing lots, build a reserve for additional parking and support the parking operation. Proposed changes are summarized in the table below.

Proposed parking permit increases

Type of permit Current Proposed FY14
24-hour Reserved $856 $866
Reserved $481 $491
General staff, Residence
staff and Ames Lab staff
$142 $152
Department $142 $152
Vendor $181 $191
Motorcycle $47 $50
Memorial Union ramp    
         Annual $486 $498
         Fall, winter or spring $208 $214


Transparency task force

Board president Craig Lang announced the nine members of a regent system transparency task force approved last month by the board to develop a consistent protocol that can be used by the universities, the special schools and the board in responding to public information requests. Board member Nicole Carroll will chair the task force. She'll be joined by appointees from these groups:

  • Governor’s Iowa Public Information Board representative: Kathleen Richardson, Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Drake University faculty member
  • Executive director of the Board of Regents (designee): Patrice Sayre, chief business officer
  • Iowa Senate: Sen. Jeff Danielson, Cedar Falls
  • Iowa House of Representatives: Rep. Peter Cownie, West Des Moines
  • University of Iowa: Mark Braun, chief of staff in the office of the president
  • Iowa State University: Miles Lackey, chief of staff in the office of the president
  • University of Northern Iowa: John Johnson, professor of history
  • Member of the public: Jack Lashier, director of the Iowa Hall of Pride, Des Moines

The group is charged with recommending best practices for:

  • Responding to public information requests
  • Providing access to public information of interest to Iowans

Lang said it's not the group's responsibility to resolve legal opinions about what constitutes a public record. The study will encompass all five regent institutions and the board office in Des Moines. The task force's first report is due at the board's June meeting.

Residence, dining rates for 2013-14

Residence director Pete Englin told board members that in keeping with the university's efforts to hold education costs flat for students, Iowa State will not ask for increases to any of its residence hall, apartment or dining rates next year. The board will approve those rates at its April meeting.

Merit contract

Tom Evans, a staff attorney for the board, reported that the health insurance component of the state's two-year contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) last month went to an arbitrator, who ruled that the insurance plans and the cost structure would not change. Most of Iowa State's merit employee positions are covered by the contract.

The two sides previously reached an agreement on wage increases for the two fiscal years beginning this July 1:

  • No increase (0 percent) on July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014
  • A step increase of 4.5 percent each of the two years for employees not at the maximum of their pay grades. A step increase is given on an employee's service anniversary date at Iowa State.

In other Iowa State business, the board:

  • Approved a dormitory revenue bond sale totaling $25 million, with an interest rate of 2.86 percent, to cover part of the addition of seven student apartment buildings at Frederiksen Court. This is the first of two scheduled bond sales for the apartment community expansion.
  • Approved the appointment of Sarah Rajala as dean of the College of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering, effective April 1, at a salary of $312,000
  • Received the FY12 annual report on faculty resignations (PDF). The number of Iowa State faculty resignations decreased from 33 to 26 (21 percent) between FY11 and FY12. During the past 10 years, the average number of annual faculty resignations has been 38. Faculty who leave are asked to participate in an online exit survey and a face-to-face or phone interview with the provost's office, in addition to an interview with the department chair or college dean. Fourteen of the exiting faculty last year participated in the online survey.
  • Approved a request to purchase a high-performance computer cluster for approximately $1.4 million (price subject to final configuration). The cluster will consist of more than 160 16-core servers and will support research in the biosciences, bioinformatics, computational fluid dynamics modeling and other complex computing needs. Students also will receive training on the cluster. A research equipment grant from the National Science Foundation will cover the purchase.
  • Was introduced to Iowa State faculty member and 2011 Nobel Prize winner Dan Shechtman, who had just concluded a university lecture in the adjoining room.