The interim leader of a controversial job training program says the fate of CIETC could be decided today (Thursday). Mary Gottschalk is serving as the chief financial officer for the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium, or CIETC and she’ll be there today when CIETC’s board meets with its regional workforce investment board.

According to Gottschalk, a lot depends on whether the state pulls its “Promise Jobs” funding that helps welfare recipients find jobs. “If the Promise Jobs contract goes away, I have trouble understanding how CIETC will pay its bills,” she says. Gottschalk says if CIETC continues to exist, employee salaries should be “restructured.” She estimates that up to 10 employees are overpaid, and about 10 others are underpaid.

“The goal here is to put salaries on an equitable basis,” she says. Gottschalk is proposing a new pay plan: CIETC employees can earn up to 110 percent of what a state employee would earn in the same position. The CIETC board meets this (Thursday) morning at nine o’clock. Gottschalk testified Wednesday before the legislature’s Government Oversight Committee. The panel has been investigating CIETC since March when a state audit uncovered lavish salaries and bonuses for the agency’s top three executives.

A private-sector auditor who had reviewed CIETC’s books in the past few years says he knew about those salaries, but Allen Kincheloe says his firm was assured those salaries were above board. “We, as financial statement auditors, are not responsible for determining their levels of compensation,” Kincheloe says.

“We noted what their compensation was. We asked the board if it had been approved. Archie Brooks, as the chairman of the board, told us yes he had approved them. He had signed off on letters stating that they were approved. His signature was applied to all of the paychecks and that was the extent of it.”

Kincheloe says he contacted the U.S. Department of Labor, and was led to believe federal officials were aware of the salary levels. “The purpose of our…audit wasn’t to go in and determine their level of compensation…to pass judgment on it,” he says. An audit conducted later by the state auditor found the top three executives in CIETC received about one-point-eight million dollars in salary and bonuses in a two-and-a-half year period.