Jim Kim, flim-flam man

Last month, Joe Asch noted that former Dartmouth president Jim Kim has announced a cost-cutting plan for the World Bank, the institution he now runs. Joe predicted that the so-called cuts would never materialize in the real world.

That prediction looks safe enough in light of the final budget numbers for Kim’s tenure at Dartmouth. As Joe explains, these numbers reveal that Kim’s cost-cutting at Dartmouth, touted as the signature achievement of his short time in charge, looks like a fraud.

Facing a 23 percent drop in Dartmouth’s endowment at the time Kim took office, Dartmouth announced spending cuts of $100 million. But Joe asks whether this was just a charade to enable Kim to appear to solve a problem before moving up to the next rung on his career.

In the last year before Kim took over, spending decreased from $735,048,000 to $717,063,000. In all of Kim’s three budgets, by contrast, expenditures increased. Only in the first Kim budget was spending growth in line with inflation.

Kim’s budgets increased at an accelerating rate. In his last budget (FY 2013), spending rose by 7.7 percent, reaching $835,273,000, up from $717,063,000 in FY 2010.

Joe suspects, with good reason, that Kim pushed a large number of expenditures from his second to his third fiscal year, secure in the knowledge that he’d have left Dartmouth by the time the audited 2013 figures were made public

To be sure, Kim did make cuts. The number of student courses was reduced and SEIU union members went without a raise for two years.

But it’s clear from the budget numbers that these cuts were offset by other spending. Most notably, they were offset by what Joe calls “the ever-growing non-faculty staff: overpaid and underworked.”

In 2012, for example, the number of non-faculty employees grew by 4.8 percent — an additional 153 people. Meanwhile, the faculty grew by only seven professors last year.

Jim Kim performed disgracefully at Dartmouth. He will almost surely perform disgracefully at the World Bank.

But what shall we say about the Board that selected Kim and held him out as a reformer who would reverse the excesses of the Jim Wright era? Or about the alumni who bought this line and began voting the Board of Trustee’s line.

I say that the Trustees were, like Kim, con-men and that the alumni were suckers.


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