I have to apologize in advance for the nerdy figures that will follow, but our university appropriations as detailed in our Operating Budget really underscore why this school is heading toward its death spiral. If you don’t care to read the numbers, here is the summary: Since 2009, Wayne Watson has consolidated his fiscal control over the university by constantly expanding the scope of his reach. As I have noted in several earlier posts, he has dramatically increased the size of the budget units reporting to the President (for the purposes of this discussion, references to the President's office refer to the aggregate of all sub-units under the administrative control of the President). Between 2009 (fiscal 2010) and 2014 (fiscal 2015), the university’s total salary appropriations increased by $5.9 million. In that same time period, the President’s office increased its salary expenditures by nearly $6.9 million. In fact, in fiscal 2015, nearly one-quarter of Chicago State’s salary expenditures were appropriated for the President’s office, an increase from 15.7 percent in 2009. The President’s appropriations totaled $16.6 million in fiscal 2015, up from $9.7 million in fiscal 2010. Given Watson’s proven abilities as a manager, is it any wonder this school is gasping for breath?
If you are still with me, I will make some additional observations on our fiscal affairs. I have broken down the salary expenditures into several sub-categories and figured them for various sub-units. Here are the most important findings: Since 2009, the President’s office has increased its appropriations by $6.9 million or 70.5 percent. In the same period, Academic Support’s appropriations have dropped by $1.5 million or 12 percent; Administration and Finance’s appropriations have declined by $2.2 million or 46.6 percent, the various Academic Departments have experienced an increase of $2.3 million or 9.8 percent; Enrollment Management’s appropriations have diminished by $612,000 or 14.1 percent; and the appropriations for Unappropriated funds (student fees, other revenues, etc.) have increased by $1.06 million or 16.5 percent.
Altogether, Academic Support and the Academic Departments have seen a slight increase in their total appropriations, a 2.3 percent increase from $36.8 million to $37.7 million. Obviously, a spending priority at Chicago State is the expansion of the President’s operations.
A look at the employee categories reveals some interesting facts: The total salary appropriation has risen 9.5 percent since 2009. Appropriations for administrative salaries have increased $1.5 million or 8.1 percent, faculty by $1 million or 3.9 percent, clerical by $2.2 million or 13.1 percent. Most noteworthy, appropriations for Extra Help or Student Worker salaries have increased $1.2 million or 92.9 percent. Also remarkable, in 2009, 30.6 percent of the appropriations for clerical salaries were in the President’s office, in 2014, that figure had risen to 51.1 percent. Obviously, the salary expenditures for clerical, temporary and student employees will decrease after the round of layoffs sure to come, but it seems telling that the university has dramatically increased the salary appropriations for those two categories of employees. In fact, 83 percent of the $5.9 salary increase since 2009 has gone to administrators, clerical, temporary and student employees. Since these persons enjoy few protections, it seems possible that the administration is committed to hiring more people it can intimidate and exploit. I feel confident that the coming layoffs will, sadly, decimate the ranks of the clerical, temporary and student employees while leaving the well-compensated administrators (certainly the ones who qualify as Friends of Wayne or Friends of Friends of Wayne) free to continue the destruction of our school. Perhaps after the administration has crushed these vulnerable employees it will be time to hire another administrative hack to join the legions already employed here.