GovWatch: WSU med school dean steps down, keeps $500K salary

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Former Wright State University medical school dean Marjorie Bowman will remain the second-highest paid university employee for one year after stepping down in February, according to records obtained by the I-Team.

Bowman’s employment contract requires the university to pay her a $535,779 salary for one year before dropping to $255,000. She currently works as Associate Vice Provost for Health Research at Wright State Research Institute.

Her replacement, Margaret Dunn, formerly a professor of surgery, received a raise bringing her pay to $468,678, making her the university’s third-highest paid employee.

Bowman said in an interview she resigned from the dean position in February because “there were substantial disagreements with the provost about strategic direction” of the Boonschoft School of Medicine.

“A school of medicine is a major portion of Wright State and a major advantage for Wright State and we have very intricate and complicated, both financial and (other), interactions with multiple entities, and one has to decide how one is going to work with this, and that is where we had some difficulty,” she said.

Provost Sundaram Narayanan is on administrative leave pending an external investigation. There is no indication his suspension is related to the medical school dean position.

In a Feb. 3 email announcing the change, Narayanan noted Dunn has been with the medical school since 1982 “and is highly regarded by her colleagues in the medical school and Wright State University.”

“She has built an extensive record of academic and administrative accomplishments and has made significant contributions to the growth and operation of the school’s clinical, educational, and research programs,” Narayanan wrote.

Bowman said she took a pay cut when she came to Wright State from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 to accept an offer from then-WSU provost Steven Angle to lead the medical school.

“I’m on the low end of the pay scale reflecting what schools of medicine tend to be: very complex, large organizations,” she said.

Payroll records obtained by the I-Team show Bowman’s salary is higher than any at the University of Cincinnati last year, including the salaries for UC’s president or any of its deans. She is paid less than Christopher Ellison, interim dean of the Ohio State University College of Medicine, who brought in $842,347 last year.

Bowman said she currently has 15 projects under way at WSRI, “pretty much related to health research and how we develop health research.”

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Critical of spending

The Buckeye Institute released its “Piglet Book” this month, highlighting several programs the conservative think tank believes should be cut from Gov. John Kasich’s budget.

The report says these firms “succeed on the skill of their lobbyists rather than competitive merit, hurting consumers in the process.” Examples include:

  • $22.4 million from taxes on wagers and casinos redistributed to horse breeders and track owners.
  • $2.5 million spent advertising Ohio agriculture, especially Ohio wines.
  • $16 million spent advertising tourism.
  • $157 million providing venture capital to tech start-ups through the Third Frontier fund.

The report also calls for ending arts and culture subsidies. But its biggest savings suggestion is limiting the growth in the state’s budget to 3 percent per year, saving $2.6 billion over the two-year budget.

Huge Medicare fraud

Seventy-three south Florida residents were criminally charged this month in schemes to defraud Medicare and Medicaid out of more than $262 million.

The arrests were part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare fraud strike-force operations in 17 cities that resulted in charges against 243 people, including more than 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals. Altogether, these people were accused of $712 million in false billings.

The FBI called this the largest operation in history both in terms of the number of defendants and the dollars involved.

“The Medicare fraud schemes continue to be relentless,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer.

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