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Don Bauer

Dear Mr. Bauer:

First, please forgive my delay in responding to your request for clarification of the information about Michelle Obama's post at the Medical Center--published in the National Review and picked up by the New York Post. Here is a brief narrative of Obama's employment at the University:

In 1996, Michelle Obama came to the University of Chicago as associate dean of students. As director of the University Community Service Center, she located and supported the volunteer work of students. Hearing of her work, then U of C Hospitals president Michael Riordan offered Michelle a job in 2002 as the hospitals' executive director of community affairs. In this role she served as liaison between the institution and its surrounding community. In three years, Obama expanded a two-person, part-time office to a staff of 17, increased the number of volunteers serving the hospital from 200 to nearly 1,000, and quadrupled the number of hospital employees who volunteered outside the hospital to 800.

She helped create the South Side Health Collaborative, which finds "medical homes" for those who lack ready access to primary care. The South Side Health Collaborative became a major pillar of the Urban Health Initiative, the Medical Center's current effort to assemble a rational and efficient health care system for the region. In 2005, Obama was named Vice President for Community and External Affairs at the Medical Center, where she was responsible for all programs and initiatives that involved relationships between the Medical Center and the community, as well as for managing the Medical Center’s business diversity program.

In 2007, Obama switched from full-time to part-time employment and subsequently took an unpaid leave of absence to work on her husband’s presidential campaign. In her absence, some of her responsibilities were transferred to her associate, Leif Elsmo, the Executive Director of the Office of Community Affairs, and others to Dr. Eric Whitaker, who joined the Medical Center in 2007. Dr. Whitaker took on additional aspects of the position after Obama formally resigned last November.

Thank you for your inquiry; again, my sincere apologies for the delayed response.

Mary Ruth Yoe

Mary Ruth Yoe

Executive Editor, Office of Strategic Communications

401 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1000

Chicago IL 60611

Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, you did not address the issues which are disturbing us. Issues relating to her pay, her pay increases and the potential conflict of the federal money received. Are there portions of the New York Post article that are inaccurate? Here are the specific concerns...

'Some employees are simply irreplaceable. Take Michelle Obama: The
University of Chicago Medical center hired her in 2002 to run "programs
for community relations, neighborhood outreach, volunteer recruitment,
staff diversity and minority contracting." (Was this position in existence prior to Obama being hired? Or..was the position created specifically for her? Were the hiring practices open, and fair to other possible candidates?)

In 2005 the hospital raised her salary from $120,000 to $317,000 (Is this statement true? Was her predecessor in the position paid comparably? Is this comparable pay to parallel positions throughout the University?)
- nearly twice what her husband made as a Senator.

Oh did we mention that her husband had just become a US Senator? He sure had. Requested a $1 Million earmark for the UC Medical Center, (Is this assertion true? If so, how does the timing of this ear mark compare with her employment? in fact. Way to network Michelle!

But now that Mrs Obama has resigned, the hospital says her position will remain unfilled. (Is this true? If so, how is this justified? How can a graduate of the university apply for the job, if it is unfilled?" How can that be, if the work she did was vital enough to be worth $317,000?
We can think of only one explanation: Senator Roland Burris's wife wasn't interested.
---The Editors of National Review, writing in the Magazine's Feb 9 issue.'

These are vital questions when considering the integrity of our University.

Thank you

Don Bauer


Any idea if there are similar blogs like this related to read?

John A. Kilpatrick

In the early days of automobiles, a savvy motorist carried an array of tools and spare parts on even the shortest of trips. An extra can of fuel and perhaps some grease and lubricants would have been a good idea, too.

Today's cars are orders of magnitude more complex than the Model T, but the handiest tools for the average motorist are a cell phone and a paid-up Triple-A membership. The same is true of financial sector regulation. Few would disagree that market oversight failed in the past couple of years, but it is noteworthy that it failed in both highly regulated and highly de-regulated societies. It might appear that piling new regulations on top of a multi-decade-old regulatory paradigm may be a mistake.

That doesn't mean that deregulation is the answer, either. Instead, a different regulatory paradigm -- a somewhat different way of thinking about the problem -- would be the most efficient and effective regulatory outcome from the current spat of troubles.


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I agree with Gary Becker's general idea of progressive capital requirements but to a lesser extent the allowable asset-to-capital ratio. I think we should use FDIC or a FDIC-like institution to require financial institutions to pay insurance premium exponential increasing based on their total assets and their leverage. When leverage runs to 30-to-1 for a small institution, the premium should be high but for a large institution it should be prohibitively high. I am sure all the smart minds will try to move the assets off balance sheet and break up the total assets into small entities all interlinked. That is why disclosure of all entities and premium based on total assets will be necessary.

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