Thursday, March 14, 2013

Another Kind of Cronyism

On March 1, 2013, the Chicago Tribune quoted Wayne Watson as saying that there was "no cause to terminate him based on 'any type of personal relationship that was improper.' " However, Chicago State University's Human Resources Policy states clearly that his relationship with another university employee is, in fact, improper. The policy reads:

"Managers and supervisors may not be involved in close personal relationships with another employee if they are able to influence or make decisions regarding his or her hiring, salary, performance evaluation, advancement opportunities or any other conditions of his or her employment. Please note that this goes beyond simply refraining from relationships with employees directly in the manager’s chain of command. If you find yourself in this situation, consult with HR for advice. Handling decisions like these appropriately promotes a professional work environment and complies with University policies." I guess Wayne Watson neither read that part of the manual nor had anyone tell him of its existence.

Certainly, Cheri Sidney has benefited materially from her relationship with Wayne Watson. She was hired in 2009 for a new senior management position (Assistant Director of Human Resources) for which she had inadequate qualifications. Despite her lack of qualifications, the president subsequently promoted her to her current position, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, at her current salary of $110,004. Frankly, this hiring and promotion provides a textbook example of how cronyism works in public institutions.

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