Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Three Personalities of Wayne Watson: The Mystery of Our Ludicrous President's Police Vehicle Solved

Wayne Watson is a complex individual. He seems to have several identities. The first is Wayne Watson "distinguished" "educator" and recipient of a number of awards for his educational greatness and stellar leadership. Here is a photograph of that Wayne Watson:

However, hidden deep inside that "dignified" character is a secret policeman, a brawling wannabe yearning to possess the power of life and death; the ability to carry a gun and wear a badge; the capability of instilling fear and extracting grudging respect from those he runs across. Unfortunately, there are no photographs of Watson in that guise, we can only speculate about his appearance when he assumes that role. Here is what he might imagine:

Since Watson already has a full-time job and since he's too old to enter the police academy, he has to settle for the next best thing. He drives a car fitted with emergency equipment. Through the wonders of the Freedom of Information Act, we are able to examine how this came to be. Please allow me to explain.

In November 2011, the university police purchased a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe for the president's use. As you can see from the information below, the total purchase price of he vehicle came to $33,500. Notably, the university demonstrated some frugality as the Tahoe came as a used (or pre-owned as contemporary dealers seem to prefer) vehicle. Our president was not satisfied however. According to sources in various university offices, Watson insisted the vehicle be modified to include police emergency lights (as well as a siren), etc. The university moved expeditiously to accomplish this as it received a quote for the work on February 9, 2012 and issued a purchase order for $2838.95 on February 14. The purchase order for the vehicle and invoice and purchase order for the police equipment follow:

This equipment on Watson's car allows him to assume his third identity: Wayne Watson, Superhero. Imagine the excitement of taking Cheri Sidney out in your souped-up police car. Imagine turning on the red lights and siren, using the speaker, flashing your headlights. What power! Move those "little people" out of the way. What a thrill! Here's what that might look like in Wayne's mind:

Of course, there is a downside to all this euphoria. Sometimes the car gets a little banged up. That's apparently happened as on at least two occasions, the Batmobile, sorry, the president's car, has had to have a little body work done. Not too much, only a little under $5,000 worth, but enough to be annoying:

These driving misadventures have given the police department pause and they are considering purchasing a replacement vehicle for Wayne, something more appropriate to his driving ability and maturity level. Here it is in action (note Wayne will still have the lights):

I ask all of you fair readers to ask yourselves the following questions: 1) how many university presidents insist on or have an official vehicle equipped with emergency equipment? 2) how many university presidents employ their significant others in six-figure positions, even after they have lied on their applications? 3) how many university presidents continue to employ their significant others even after those lies are exposed? 4) how many university presidents continuously hire unqualified cronies and pay them exorbitant salaries? 5) how many university presidents use the students as pawns to further their anti-dissent agenda? 6) how many university presidents continue to employ a chief academic officer who has committed the most serious offense possible against academic integrity? 7) how many university presidents have to hide behind lawyers and politicians to defend themselves? 8) how many university presidents have the demonstrated propensity for vindictiveness that Watson possesses? 9) how many university presidents have consistently demonstrated behavior that can be charitably described as adolescent? 10) does the situation at Chicago State really reflect "normal" or even acceptable behavior at institutions of higher education?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

George Orwell's Napoleon Would be Proud: How We Do Investigations on Wayne Watson's Animal Farm.

“Some animals are more equal than others.” George Orwell in Animal Farm.

The UPI-Faculty Contract’s Article 5 contains language pertaining to disciplinary sanctions and termination and lays out the due process rights for employees alleged to have violated “employment obligations contained in the Board or University policy, rules, regulations, or in the UPI/BOT contract . . .” One of the due process requirements is a “pre-sanction” meeting which 5.1b of the UPI-BOT contract describes as: “[a] meeting with the employee to notify the employee that a sanction is being considered, to present the alleged violation and related documentation . . .” What is not included in the contract, or anywhere else that I can determine, is how the university moves from allegations to a pre-sanction meeting. What are the university policies relative to the conduct of personnel investigations of complaints that do not fall into the category of EEO complaints (the policy is here: Included among EEO violations are sexual harassment complaints. University policy defines sexual harassment as:

[T]wo categories of behaviors. . . “quid pro quo” refers to situations in which a tangible benefit (a grade, a job, a promotion) is contingent upon the performance of sexual favors. This occurs in situations of unequal power such as supervisor/subordinate in the workplace or faculty/student in the classroom. The second category, “hostile environment,” refers to patterns of behavior or incidents (including verbal, non-verbal, physical, or other) which may seem harmless as individual events, but which may be considered intimidating, hostile, or offensive when taken together.

Intimate relationships between faculty and students, as well as between supervisors and subordinates raise serious professional concerns. When one party has power over the other, the relationship is inherently unequal. The faculty member or supervisor cannot be certain that the relationship is truly welcomed or consensual. If the relationship deteriorates, possible allegations of “quid pro quo” harassment may arise. Furthermore, others who perceive preferential treatment between the parties to the relationship may feel themselves in an offensive environment.

In the absence of any personnel investigation policy, the university administration apparently may structure investigations based on the whim of the investigator. In a proper investigation (personnel or criminal), the investigator begins with the complaint, proceeds through the process of gathering evidence (which may prove or disprove the complaint) and arrives at a determination as to: 1) whether or not the offense occurred and is actionable; 2) whether or not the accused (or respondent) committed the offense. Simply put, the investigator goes where the evidence takes the investigation. At Chicago State, the reality of investigative procedure is somewhat different. It seems to proceed like this:

The first determination is on what track the investigation will proceed. In order to decide this, the investigator must discover which party is a friend/stooge of Wayne Watson or has been of useful service to him or other members of his administration. If the complaint is against one of Watson’s circle of friends/acolytes/stooges/sycophants or even Napoleon himself, it can be dismissed or trivialized. We have seen numerous examples of this: Wayne Watson’s inappropriate and policy violating personal relationship with Cheri Sidney, which, you may recall, moved Glenn Meeks to express his concerns to the Board of Trustees that the relationship might result in a sexual harassment complaint (see the second paragraph of the definition above). The lies told by Cheri Sidney and Tyra Austin on their resumes/applications (offenses which should have resulted in termination for both) which have not been an impediment to their hiring and/or promotion(s). The falsehoods in Angela Henderson’s application/resume which also served as no impediment to her advancement at Chicago State and the demonstrable plagiarism in her dissertation which Watson has ignored. In these cases, despite the serious nature of the allegations against various employees, it seems doubtful that an investigation even occurred. Early in this blighted administration, ethics complaints from James Crowley were simply ignored. In fact, based on whatever sham inquiry the university (or the Board) conducted into the various allegations, only the two persons attempting to protect the institution’s integrity: Glenn Meeks and James Crowley, suffered termination because of these “investigations.”

In contrast, if someone aligned with Watson is the complainant, the “investigation” must proceed immediately, with the possibility of termination always looming. Former Chicago State employees like Rachel Lindsey Mary Butler and Carnice Hill can discuss what happens when you cross the dictator or one of his favorite cronies. The investigative procedure to be followed in these instances is this: the investigator(s) makes a determination that the accused is guilty of whatever behavior the Watson ally alleges. S/he gathers evidence supporting that determination, ignoring any material that may be exculpatory or contradictory (including evidence that the allegations lack truthfulness). During this stage of the investigation, it is extremely important to contact only the accused and those making the accusation(s) on Watson's behalf. Any other potential witnesses must be ignored because their contradictory accounts would only muddy the waters. The account(s) provided by the Watson allies must be privileged over any and all other accounts. The investigator may also use audio or visual aids in the investigation, being careful to come to the “proper” conclusion about what these sources reveal. In conducting interview(s) with the accused faculty or staff, the investigator(s) must always attempt to advance the administration’s narrative of events, even when the interviewee provides an alternative perspective or points out the errors in the “accepted” account. The ability to put words into someone’s mouth is an extremely useful skill, enabling the investigator to arrive at her/his pre-determined verdict.

The Watson administration is replete with persons behaving in cowardly, unethical and even dishonest ways. Watson and his bunch arbitrarily use university policy and procedures to attack their enemies, while ignoring them when their friends and associates are the subjects. Heedless of the consequences, these attacks subject the university to potential liability (as the Crowley decision demonstrates, awards for unethical and retaliatory behavior can be quite substantial). Retaliation is the stock-in-trade of this president and his administration (particularly against the school’s most vulnerable groups) and given their ability to conduct investigations that result in Kangaroo Court-like disciplinary proceedings, this abominable administration has cynically destroyed any semblance of “justice” on this campus.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Part II: Watson's Hiring Handbook: Crony Hiring Redux or Let's Throw More Tax Money Away on Another Frivolous and Unnecessary Administrator

As I said upon concluding my previous post on this topic, the university’s yearly reports to the Illinois State Legislature do not include any reference to new positions for either the Director of the Master of Public Health Program or for an Interim Assistant Dean in the College of Health Sciences. Below are the 2012 and 2013 (fiscal year) ISL forms for reporting the university’s intent to fill existing vacancies and detailing its requests for new personal services positions:

The university also catalogs all new hires on the yearly ISL forms. For Damon Arnold’s 2011 hiring, the university reported to the legislature that Damon was a “replacement” hire, indicating that he had been hired into an existing budget line. Of course, since Watson had created the position for Arnold sometime in late Summer or early Fall of 2011 and since Arnold became the one and only occupant of the position, calling his hiring a “replacement” hire is simply inaccurate. Below is the ISL form for fiscal 2013 showing Damon’s hiring on October 3, 2011:

In fact, hiring anyone in October 2011 to administer the M.P.H. seems completely unnecessary. When Arnold began his job as a “program director” the program--which had received IBHE approval in June 2010--included four students and no staff, hardly taxing the resources of the Health Studies Department or the College of Health Sciences. There was no discrete budget sub-unit listed in the university budget, the M.P.H. program simply existed within one of the departments in the College, like most other graduate programs at the university. In the nine months Arnold “directed” the program, it grew to 12 students. Last fall, 17 students were enrolled in the M.P.H. program. I believe that there are a number of people at this university who “direct” graduate programs with more than 12 students. To the best of my knowledge, none of them receive $140,004 for their efforts. Below is the entry from the 2013 Chicago State University Factbook (23):

To summarize, Wayne Watson hired Damon Arnold on October 3, 2011 at a salary of $140,004. Watson hired Arnold into a position for which neither a job announcement nor funding existed, necessitating the hasty creation of a job announcement as well as the movement of money from other accounts to cover Arnold’s hefty salary. Arnold’s responsibilities included providing “administrative, academic and intellectual leadership,” (typical empty Watsonian rhetoric) for the program. Thus, Arnold received $35,001 for “leading” each of the four students enrolled in the program.

The money for the exorbitant salary Watson paid Arnold for a position with virtually no responsibilities likely comes from appropriated funds that Chicago State has lying around in various accounts, sort of like a "slush fund" for the university's upper administration. A comparison of Chicago State's appropriated budget with the Western Illinois budget reveals some fundamental differences in the preparation of those documents: Western Illinois' budget is available on the school's web site, Chicago State's is a closely guarded secret, printed only in numbered books that are distributed to specific university employees. With a Fall 2013 enrollment of 11,707, Western Illinois serves 205 percent of Chicago State's enrollment of 5701. However, Chicago State's budget for fiscal year 2014 totals nearly two-thirds of Western's budget (nearly $84 million for Chicago State compared to $127.6 million for Western Illinois). Chicago State's budget for salaries of $63.2 million stands at 60.3 percent of Western's $105 million appropriation. There are a number of other glaring differences between the budgets for the two schools.

Both budgets include appropriated amounts that are, in effect, discretionary. Western Illinois' budget includes $5.3 million for "contingency" and vacant positions. Chicago State's operating budget features discretionary expenditures of $7.4 million, or 40 percent more than the amount in the Western Illinois budget. As a percentage of the total budget, Western Illinois' discretionary appropriations come to 5 percent of the total personal services budget, less than one-half of Chicago State's 11.7 percent. Here, I must admit that it is possible I am misconstruing the significance of the budget entries, but it seems like in comparison with Western Illinois' two categories of discretionary spending, Chicago State possesses eleven. Western Illinois' budget includes a "contingency fund of $3.1 million (compared to Chicago State's $2.9 million), and vacant positions totaling $2.2 million. In contrast, Chicago State has two categories of vacant personnel positions: 1) vacancies for specific budget lines, listed as "pending hires," which total nearly $1.9 million and a category of "personnel budget", mainly non-specific budget lines (some are associated with a specific class code) in various budgetary sub-units that total nearly $690,000, bringing Chicago State's total of funds available for seemingly "vacant" positions to over $2.5 million. The money for Arnold's 2012 promotion to Interim Assistant Dean came from these types of funds. Chicago State also has what looks like money earmarked for discretionary expenditures tucked into accounts called "reserves" and "pools" for the Deans of all the school's colleges. These amounts are separate from the monies in the "pending hire" or "personnel budget" categories. As I said before, I am not a budget expert, but it seems like Chicago State has a lot of spare change just lying around.

Watson’s hiring of Arnold raises a number of questions for me. How can a $140,004 salary for someone with the responsibility for a program with only four students and no staff be justified? Why did Watson create two new (and unfunded) positions in which to place Arnold? Why is there no record of the university requesting appropriated funds for his current position? Is Arnold’s current position now funded or is the university still moving money around to pay his salary? In a college with basically stable enrollment since Fall 2009 (940 to 955 in Fall 2013) is another highly-paid administrator necessary? In addition to the Dean and the Assistant Dean (both interim appointments) the university’s 2014 budget still includes $81,586 for two additional positons: Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Program. Perhaps that money is still needed to partially fund Damon Arnold’s salary.

I am not suggesting that Arnold played any role in the various machinations that brought him to Chicago State; I have no evidence to that effect. I am also not suggesting that my interpretation here is the only explanation for the way Watson hired Arnold. If there is an alternative account, I would be pleased to hear it and I would be happy to have any factual errors I have made corrected. Absent those potential corrections (and perhaps even in spite of them), this looks to me like a crony hiring. As I said about Tyra Austin’s 2012 hiring, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is likely a duck.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Part I: Wayne Watson's Hiring Handbook: How We Scam the Illinois State Legislature at Crony State University

At the Chicago State University Board of Trustees meeting on December 13, 2013, Dr. Damon Arnold, the Assistant Dean of the College of Health Sciences, gushed enthusiastically about Wayne Watson, saying “The reason I came to CSU . . . is because of the leadership of Dr. Watson . . . I think president Watson is doing a phenomenal job. . .” Just last month, Dr. Arnold pontificated about his belief in the importance of the “chain of command” and excoriated Watson’s faculty critics for their failure to follow Watson without question. Talking about own career, which included considerable military service, Arnold said: “If I did not support my chain-of-command, I would not be standing in front of you today . . . You guys really ought to start checking yourself out . . .” (recordings of Arnold’s comments are available on the Chicago State Board of Trustees portion of the CSU web site).

Although I have no reason to doubt Dr. Arnold’s sincerity, and I am not suggesting that he is a “crony” of the Chicago State president, he nevertheless came to Chicago State through a remarkably irregular process that offers a textbook example of patronage or crony hiring. In fact, a recent FOIA response from the university reveals the various steps involved in a “rigged” hiring: no competitive application or hiring process, the creation of a well-paid and unfunded new administrative position, documents created in order to cover the administration’s tracks and provide the imprimatur of legitimacy for the process, the complicity of a number of university offices and a desire to keep secret the identity of the responsible parties, and a shell-game to make unfunded positions appear as appropriated budget lines. The ultimate result: a newly-minted, highly-paid administrative employee, one who can be expected to be a “loyal soldier.” Surely, Arnold has not disappointed.

Because there has been controversy over various hirings at Chicago State since the beginning of the Watson regime, it seems appropriate to review the way a legitimate hiring occurs. First, there is an extant budget line for the position; second, a job announcement details the qualifications for the position, third, the university accepts applications from candidates for the position; fourth, designated university employees (not always members of a search committee) winnow the applications and come up with a list of candidates to interview; fifth, authorized university representatives conduct interviews and recommend candidates; sixth, the appropriate administrative official makes a hiring decision and tenders an offer to the applicant. As we have seen on several occasions here at Chicago State, in a number of hirings, this process has not been followed properly. In Arnold’s case, however, Wayne Watson did not even make a pretense of adhering to established hiring protocols.

Requested budget appropriations apparently proceed from the requestor through the Office of Budget and Resource Planning at Chicago State to the appropriate administrative officials and ultimately to the Board of Trustees for approval. Requests for new funded positions and their appropriations appear on the annual reports that Chicago State files with the Illinois State Legislature. The two sources of funding for appropriated expenses are the State Education Assistance Fund (which includes grants) and the Income Fund (which includes tuition revenues). Positions that are not part of the university’s annual approved budget are unfunded, which means money must be transferred from an existing account to pay the salary of anyone hired into an unfunded position.

In a proper hiring, a vacant position is listed on the university budget by position number (A prefix for administrative, F prefix for faculty) as a “Pending Hire.” There is also a dollar amount listed as the appropriation for the position. Each appropriated position includes both a position number and a class code. These numbers identify each individual position within a specific budgetary sub-unit. When a new employee is hired into a vacant position, her/his name becomes attached to the extant position and class code numbers. Positions created in an extraordinary (or improper in some cases) way feature new position and class codes. During the past several years, Watson has created new positions out of whole cloth at least nine times for five different persons, with the cost to the university being substantial: In 2009, Watson hired Cheri Sidney into a non-existent (until the university created it) $90,000 per year job. He subsequently promoted her in 2010 to another non-existent position at $95,004, and in 2011 to another non-existent position at $110,004. In 2012, Watson hired Tyra Austin into another non-existent position as Assistant Director of Financial Aid at $55,000 per year. This position still had not been funded as of the most recent internal operating budget, resulting in a total cost of $110,000 in unfunded salary. In 2012, the Criminal Justice hiring resulted in three persons being hired at a total cost of $233,010. The original budget appropriation for one position in Criminal Justice amounted to $51,000. Thus the unfunded amount for the three new faculty came to $182,010. In October 2011 (fiscal year 2012), Watson hired Damon Arnold at a salary of $140,004 into a non-existent position as Director of the Master of Public Health Program in the College of Health Sciences.

In addition to having to come up with the money to cover new hires, the university must comply with EEOC and Affirmative Action laws which ensure equality of opportunity in employment. In the state of Illinois, the Human Rights Act (775 ILCS 5/) requires in hiring:

In previous rigged hirings, the administration at least made a cynical attempt to appear to comply with the provisions of the Human Rights Act. There were job announcements and even putative searches. However, in Arnold’s case, Watson dismissed with even the pretense of following the law. The Arnold hiring unfolded like this:

In the Summer of 2011, Damon Arnold held the position of Director of Public Health for the State of Illinois. His 2010 salary in that position totaled $147,350.05. For some unfathomable reason, Arnold was obviously in the process of negotiating with Wayne Watson for a job at Chicago State University. On August 26, 2011, Watson sent Arnold a letter that began “I am pleased to inform you that you have been appointed to an administrative position as Interim Director of the Master of Public Health Program in the College of Health Sciences at Chicago State University (CSU), effective September 1, 2011. . .” Watson's letter follows. (You'll notice that signatures and dates have been redacted although those are not exempt from disclosure under Illinois FOIA law. I am in the process of obtaining unredacted copies of these letters and the other documents the university supplied in response to my FOIA request):

Watson’s August 26 letter precedes the job announcement for the Director of M.P.H. position by more than a month. In fact, Human Resources did not create a job announcement for Arnold’s position until September 30, 2011 (a simple inquiry to Human Resources revealed the date of the announcement). This announcement, which Human Resources created on a Friday, specified an “anticipated start date” of the next day: October 1, 2011. However, Watson waited until Monday, October 3, 2011 to actually hire Arnold, who submitted his application for the position at 4:10pm that same day. Not exactly the “equal opportunity for all state residents” described in the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Interestingly, Watson’s appointment letter informed Arnold that “As a program director, you will report to Dr. Sandra Westbrooks, Provost . . .” Since the M.P.H. program exists in the Department of Health Studies, an academic sub-unit of the College of Health Sciences, it seems appropriate that Arnold should have reported to the Dean of the College. In fact, the Dean had no idea that Arnold’s hiring was imminent and was not copied on Watson’s offer letter to Arnold. Although the university failed to provide the public budget change records pertaining to Arnold’s original hiring, a possible reconstruction is possible. No budget line existed for the position—there was no indication of a pending hire for the position of Director of M.P.H. in the original 2011-12 budget. Thus, with Arnold’s hiring, the university had to come up with funds to cover the annual salary Watson offered Arnold: $140,004. The university created a new position, number A32600, class code 6553. In fact, the original 2011-12 budget for the Health Sciences Dean’s Office included a total of $171,590 appropriated for two pending hires: an Associate Dean and a Director of Graduate Programs. Ultimately, it seems likely that $91,194 of Arnold’s starting salary came from a partial re-allocation of monies from these two budget lines along with $1200 from another budgeted position, leaving a shortfall of $48,810 for Arnold’s salary, which the university made up from some other source.

The next fiscal year, the budget inaccurately showed the Director’s position as an appropriated budget line. In fact, on June 29, 2012, Arnold received a promotion from Watson to Interim Assistant Dean at the same salary. The funding for Arnold’s new position should have come from a simple re-allocation of funds already earmarked for the Director’s salary. However, since this position had not actually been funded, the university had to transfer money from other appropriated budget lines to cover the salary expenditure. The Budget Change Form for Fiscal 2013 shows a $4 dollar transfer from one line, a $90,000 transfer from another and a $50,000 transfer from a third (this amount is crossed out, in effect creating a shortfall of $50,000). These reallocations come from the Dean’s office in Health Sciences and the University Provost. The $90,000 from the Dean’s office comes from an account with an original appropriation of $50,000, indicating that an additional $40,000 had to come from another (at this point unknown) budget line to increase the total to $90,000. Thus, the money for Arnold’s new position did not come from funds already allocated to the Director’s position, but from other appropriated sources. Arnold’s position as Director of M.P.H. then disappears from the budget. All these monetary machinations closely resemble a shell game, with the university transferring money to fund positions that appear to be appropriated but in actuality are unfunded personal services positions. Watson's letter offering Arnold the Interim Assistant Dean's position and the fiscal year 2013 Budget Change Form re-allocating funds for Arnold's salary follow. You will note that the Dean of the College of Health Sciences did not sign the Budget Change Form.

The university’s yearly reports filed with the Illinois State Legislature reveal that Chicago State has made no requests since fiscal year 2012 for budget lines for either the Director of the Master of Public Health Program or Arnolds’s position as Interim Assistant Dean. The next post will discuss this in greater detail.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Another Day's Sailing on the Ship of Fools

“The public be damned.” Quote attributed to William H. Vanderbilt, son of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt.,2294710

Right under the noses of Illinois legislators and taxpayers, Wayne Watson is building a monument to himself here on the South Side of Chicago. He is in the final stages of constructing an administrative behemoth at Chicago State University; a colossus that ensures scores of people jobs with lofty titles and high salaries. These are the highlights.

Since 2008-09--the last year before the beginning of the disastrous Watson era--to 2013-14, the university’s appropriations for salaries have grown 14.1 percent, from just under $56.6 million to nearly $63.2 million. Of course, the largest portion of the appropriation came from salaries for instruction, which rose 3.0 percent during that period. Predictably, the most explosive growth in salaries has taken place in the upper administrative ranks. Specifically, in the positions categorized as Assistant Director (or equivalent positions) and above. Here are the figures:

In 2008-09, the president’s office employed 12 upper-level administrators, in 2013-14, 18. A 50 percent increase. In 2008-09, the salary of those 12 employees totaled just over $1 million. In 2013-14, the 18 employees earned $1.7 million, an increase of 71.4 percent.

In 2008-09, the financial operations of the university included 9 upper-level administrators earning just over $800,000. In 2013-14, the number had risen to 13, a 44 percent increase, and their aggregate salaries had grown to 1.3 million, an advance of 59 percent.

For the same time period, Enrollment Management more than tripled in size, growing by 318 percent from 11 upper level administrators to 35. Their salaries rose 332 percent, from a total of $775,000 to nearly $2.6 million.

Finally, Academic upper level jobs decreased by 3.7 percent from 54 to 52 during the past five years although the aggregate salary rose 9.6 percent from just under $4.5 million to $4.9 million. During this time period, enrollment declined by 16.6 percent, from 6820 in 2008 to 5701 in 2013.

Overall, the figures are:

Total upper-level administrative positions 19.2 percent increase (99 to 118)
Total upper-level administrative salaries 30.7 percent increase
$8million to $10.5million
Total salary appropriation 11.6 percent increase
$56.6million to $63.2million
Enrollment -16.6 percent (6820 to 5701)

Even more striking, if you remove the academic upper-level positions, the figures look like this:

Total upper-level administrative positions 46.7 percent increase (45 to 66)
Total upper-level salaries 57.5 percent increase
$3.5million to $5.6million

Underscoring the administration’s commitment to increasing the number of upper-level administrators, hiring during the past fiscal year included: two new attorneys at $100,008 apiece; an Assistant Provost at $110,004; two Directors at $142,004; a Controller for $130,008; a Dean at $135,000. Altogether, the new administrators cost the university $717,032, an average of $102,433.14. At the same time, the university hired seven new Assistant Professors. (All this material is available in the FY 2009 and FY 2014 Internal Operating Budgets of Chicago State University)

In addition, the Watson administration is exhibiting a garrison mentality. In tandem with his efforts to increase the upper administrative ranks, Watson’s obsession with loyalty has resulted in the “rebranding” of Chicago State as the newest city college. A look at the university’s most recent organizational chart reveals that of the eleven administrative positions reporting directly to the president, six are now filled by former City College administrators or close friends of Watson. In fact, five of the six have either long-standing professional or personal ties to Watson. The six include: Farah Muscadin, who worked at City Colleges after Watson departed, who holds two positions—Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Interim Dean of Students; the plagiarizing Provost Angela Henderson, a long-time Watson crony; our stellar General Counsel Patrick Cage, a man who apparently never met a free expression he did not want to stamp out—a man whose malaprops and legal nonsense have subjected the university to national ridicule; the Ethics Officer Bernetta Bush, a long-time Watson supporter; the newly appointed Interim Internal Auditor Michael Mayo, who served as the “audit partner” between his firm and City Colleges during Watson’s tenure as Chancellor; the new Interim Vice President of Enrollment Management, our old friend Cheri Sidney who lies on her application with apparent impunity and who has finally ascended to that coveted position after LaShondra Peebles went on leave; and Police Chief Ronnie Watson, a long-time Watson colleague who more than likely played a role in providing Wayne Watson with his pseudo-police car. To be sure, it is a group of administrators who have distinguished themselves by bringing the school to the brink of disaster. (This material available on the university website in the 2015 ISL Forms).

Truly, that group has given us an administration akin to a hole in the ground into which we throw the taxpayers’ money. The welfare of the university, and the public, be damned.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hey Governor Quinn: as Hermene goes so goes the nation?

So our gutless Governor who has been known to cast aside his responsibilities to the poor little sister school of the ILL STATE system --taking out reforming boards of trustees (2013), condoning the patronage culture of Emil Jones U (2009-2014)-- may find that the political clout of the southside Chicago pols that he so covets may be slipping from his fingers. If their shill Hermene Hartman (and beneficiary of the Watson largesse here at CSU and at City Colleges) is now supporting Quinn's opponent is there a crack in the alliance? And does that mean there is a chance the Governor may take some interest and do something about the shenanigans at Crony State?

I know, I know...but one can hope. Have a look at the two articles from the Sun Times last week.

Sneed: N’DIGO mag chief backing Rauner says, ‘I am not a paid mouthpiece’

Sun Times, April 16, 2014

Nice work if you can get it!
It’s no secret that Hermene Hartman, publisher of N’DIGO magazine, has been
pitching GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner big-time in the black community.
It’s no secret Hartman announced via her magazine that she has switched to the Republican Party because “it is about the man and his plan,” and was proud to cast her vote for Rauner.
But what Hartman did not shout from the rafters was that her company, Hartman Publishing, was paid a cool $51,000 by Citizens for Rauner to run four events for the candidate in February and March.
“Don’t be beating up on me, Sneed,” said Hartman, whose company received a
payment of $25,000 in February and $26,000 in March for consulting.
“Why can’t I get paid?” she opined, citing Dem strategist David Axelrod as an example.
“Axelrod gets paid, doesn’t he? What’s wrong with that?”(Axelrod, who is no longer a journalist, does not write editorials in his own magazine promoting his employer.)
 “Besides, the money was fees for four events and street teams to get out the vote in the primary,” she said.
“We also had to pay for food and tables and chairs.
“Besides, the African-American voter in the state of Illinois always goes for the Dem party and puts all their eggs in one basket,”she added. “Our vote is taken for granted, and it shouldn’t be.
 “We have a two-party system, and one whole party is not participating.
“I believe it’s time for a change and am looking at things objectively and honestly,” said Hartman, who had just pitched Rauner’s candidacy on WVON radio.
“I am not a paid mouthpiece,” she added.”Remember, I endorsed Rahm Emanuel for mayor rather than Carol Moseley Braun.”

 So is more Rauner campaign money forthcoming for Hartman Publishing?
 “Yes, well . . . there is nothing formal yet, let’s put it that way,” she said.
Stay tuned.


Rauner's Best Friend that Money Can buy
Neil Steinberg, Sun Times, April 17, 2014
The machine,” political guru Don Rose said, years ago, “could get 30 percent of the black votes for George Wallace over Martin Luther King.”
Though we don’t have to raise hypotheticals. When the actual Dr. King actually did bring his open occupancy marches to Chicago, there was no shortage of black aldermen willing to rise in City Council and denounce King as an unwelcome outsider, their strings pulled by Richard J. Daley.
Let me be clear: As a general rule, individuals will sell out the interests of their groups in return for personal benefit. It isn’t just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go. The Republican Party will deny global warming until the ocean laps at Pittsburgh simply because doing something about it crosses the immediate profit of the coal burners and oil companies and carbon spouters who write the checks. No tobacco company has any trouble finding people who, at a hefty salary, stare into the camera and say no, all that lung cancer stuff is just fiction.
Still, knowing this, I had to smile, broadly at Mike Sneed’s item Thursday on Hermene Hartman, publisher of an obscure Chicago African-American periodical, N’DIGO, who pocketed $51,000 of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s bottomless pail of money and then decided, my God, he’s the man to back, the billionaire with a heart of gold that beats in time to the hopes of the black community. She wrote a lengthy tribute to Rauner’s “fresh approaches,” never mentioning the money she pocketed.
That’s not a “fresh approach.” That’s the oldest, stalest, machine, buy ’em-a-beer-and-get-’em-to-the-polls approach.
Though before I get down to the business of mocking Hartman, I should admit my own bias. Not monetary, but emotional. I’m the guy who, in 2011, wrote a column making fun of Hartman for running a poll that, she claimed, showed Carol Moseley Braun would beat Rahm Emanuel. The poll was conducted among readers of her paper — African-American women, mostly — and while 27 percent did pick Braun, 23 percent chose Emanuel. To me, that clearly meant not eventual victory for Braun, but that Emanuel was taking nearly a quarter of black women, and he was going to crush her.
In doing so, I also took a few choice shots at the local black leadership, which dithered about a “consensus candidate” and pointed out, with respect, that Harold Washington hadn’t actually accomplished much as mayor (two readers argued this, citing sidewalks he put in front of their homes).
Hartman’s minions picketed the paper. You can see the video online. Protesters, with signs, demanded that I be fired as a racist, for pointing out the truth.
Were this mere personal payback, I hope I’d manage to resist. But there is the larger issue here, of Rauner buying not just Hartman but a community. Lots of ministers with roofs to repair. I’d like to hear from any black Illinoisan — who’s not in Rauner’s direct employ — who thinks that arrogant rich guy is the man to run the state. And yes, Rev. Meeks, letting him jet you to his Montana ranch for a fly-fishing weekend, wine and dine and flatter and promise God knows what, counts as employ, though Hartman cut a better deal. Bad enough to sell out; worse to sell out for scraps. (Asked by Mark Brown about how he met Rauner, Meeks laughed and said, “When I saw how much money he was worth, I said, ‘Sure, let the guy come on.’ ”)
And come on Rauner has, checks flying.
Will it work? That all depends. As much as people like to be bought, they still chafe at seeing their leaders bought. I don’t think Rauner has raised himself so much as brought Hartman low, or lower, which I would not have thought possible.
Gov. Pat Quinn has flaws. He’s sleepy and shambolic, buffeted trying to keep the state together. But say what you will of him, he doesn’t have to buy friends. Rauner is going to run TV ads until your eyes shrivel, saying how being rich, having no experience in government, he’s the man to lead us. He’s saying we should trust him. But I don’t trust him. Then again, I haven’t been paid $51,000 by his campaign — please don’t offer; I couldn’t take it. My boss would get mad.
Here. I’ll give Hartman more sympathy than she ever gave me: She’s trying to save that rag of a paper, made a deal with the devil and is ashamed to admit it. I would be, too. Not much help for $51,000. Which leads here: If Rauner is willing to throw his own money away like this, what’s he going to do when he gets his hands on ours?

Charlotte says:  "Do I hear $52,000?...Anyone?"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Day in the Life of Wayne Watson, Prez of Chicago State

For those of you who enjoy images, I offer a pictorial account of a typical day for Wayne Watson as the president of Chicago State.

Wayne Watson drives to work most days in his ersatz police cruiser. However, he doesn't drive too well and sometimes has a little fender-bender on his way to the office. Nothing too serious, just a little ding:

On the days he gets in without incident, Wayne Watson starts things out with a staff meeting. He likes to keep abreast of things. Lots of harrumphing at these events. He then interviews every candidate for any position at Chicago State:

Of course, he only hires quality employees to work here. Here's a look at one of the offices staffed with Watson appointees. Note the high level of activity and the advanced technology:

Micro-managing the hiring process takes much of his morning and soon, it's off to lunch. Since he doesn't go out of the building without being accompanied by a number of his fellow administrators, this can sometimes cause embarrassment. On occasion, someone doesn't like the lunch fare:

After his lunch, it's back to work. Here, the CSU legal staff is working on an edict they've been given by Watson:

While waiting for legal's decision, Watson takes a turn around the campus in the police cruiser. He particularly likes the adrenalin rush of the high-speed pursuit. Unfortunately, those chases sometimes end poorly for our prez:

After taking the time to cover up any evidence of the accident, it's back to the office, only to find out during his dinner that legal has bad news: He can't fire Phil Beverly yet and that damned repression forum went on after all. He's not too happy about that:

After recovering his equilibrium, he heads home, secure in the knowledge that he's left Chicago State in great shape for the next day. As he activates his lights and siren for the drive home he thinks he smells smoke. Dismissing the scent as imaginary, he doesn't even look in the rear view mirror as he smiles and heads for the mansion:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Look Up in the Sky! It's a Bird? It's a Plane? No! It's Wayne Watson, Junior G-Man!

As a person who for more than two decades worked as a real-life sworn peace officer, I know the importance of law enforcement. In particular, if laws are on the books, they have no effect unless they are enforced. In order to discharge their responsibilities, law enforcement organizations often operate on two levels: the visible plane, with marked cars and personnel in uniform and the surreptitious stratum, with unmarked cars and persons dressed in “plain clothes.” On both levels, the police vehicle, marked or unmarked, plays a critical role in enabling law enforcement agencies to fulfill their legal responsibilities. I will return to this shortly.

As most of you know, Wayne Watson and his administration continue to make valiant efforts to destroy any dissent on this campus and to selectively punish those persons who openly disagree with them. They have been unsuccessful in stifling open discourse to this point. Although Watson has made a herculean attempt to dictate standards of "civility" on the Chicago State campus, his project has been thwarted by poorly conceived policies and a lack of robust enforcement for those “laws” that are already on the books (see the Chicago State University “Code of Excellence”). It seems that a number of persons at Chicago State possess no will to enforce Watson’s various imperial fiats. This is a problem for our Napoleonic president.

However, Watson and his administrators have had some success in their selective enforcement efforts, especially against the most vulnerable elements of the university community. Watson has frequently demonstrated an arbitrary and capricious application of the “law” that only applies to his “enemies.” Undergirding this practice is Watson’s vision of “integrity” which to him apparently means total agreement with anything and everything he (Watson) says. Simply put, if you are in with Wayne, you can engage in any kind of behavior without consequences: lying--no problem; cheating--no problem; obtaining a degree under false pretenses--no problem; abusing staff--no problem; accusing opponents of all manner of degenerate behavior--no problem. So, the “laws” Watson wants enforced apply only to his foes. A number of persons obviously find that kind of selective enforcement problematic.

For an administrator with a manic desire to micro-manage--someone imbued with an almost religious belief in vindictiveness and retaliation--this condition must be intolerable. The only solution might be to do it yourself. The question is, how? Well, our resourceful leader may have found a way. At least he has the requisite vehicle to begin his law enforcement efforts.

There are a number of statutes that delineate what constitutes an emergency vehicle in the state of Illinois and how certain colors of lights are restricted to those vehicles. These laws are from the Illinois Compiled Statutes:

These statutes detail the prohibition against the operation of red and blue lights except for designated vehicles:

Now let's take a look at the vehicle Watson often drives. The U prefix on the license plate marks the vehicle as a state-owned vehicle, although not as a designated police vehicle (although it is entirely possible that through some loophole, the SUV receives that designation--remember where we are after all). Anyway, take note of the car's grill:

As you can plainly see, the SUV Watson frequently drives is equipped with both blue and red lights behind the grill. At least for me, this raises a number of questions Why does the president of a university require emergency lights on his vehicle? Does he plan to make traffic stops on or off campus? Is the vehicle also equipped with a siren? Perhaps he can use the lights to blow through those pesky red lights and stop signs that litter the city. Or maybe he plans to begin enforcing the various codes that his underlings are unable or unwilling to enforce. Imagine being pulled over by Wayne Watson after you engaged in "uncivil" discourse at a meeting or in some other venue. Imagine the consequences of your "incivility," the punishment for the trauma you inflicted on innocent liars and cheaters for example. These musings give rise to other questions: what authority does Watson possess that allows him to operate that kind of vehicle? Is he a junior G-man? is he a junior Deputy Sheriff? a junior policeman? Although I am endeavoring to obtain answers to some of those questions through the Freedom of Information Act, they remain unanswered.

Perhaps it is time to look at Wayne Watson in a new light. Pay close attention the next time you see him, notice if he flashes any identification. For normal operations you might see something like this:

However, if he's "deep undercover" he might display a different badge (only if forced to, undercover cops are always reticent to identify themselves). Perhaps something like this (note especially the "special investigator" designation):

So, be on the lookout for Wayne in his new role as the Sheriff of Chicago State. That this "university president" is becoming more of a caricature everyday and has no compunction about exposing himself to additional ridicule for being a wanna-be policeman by driving a vehicle equipped with emergency lights seems inexplicable to me. I can tell you that virtually all law enforcement professionals would find this situation both laughable and pathetic. Someone please save us from this never-ending farce.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Suppressing Dissent Chapter 2: Our Tinpot Dictator Tries and Fails

“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.”
― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Some important additional information about the administration's most recent attempt to stifle free expression on this campus. On April 8, Safiyah Edwards of the Office of Meetings and Events sent the following memorandum to Paul Gomberg:

You might notice two things: first, the administration believes it should be able to approve the content of presentations on this campus. Their argument is apparently that Paul booked the room under "false pretenses," even though his request gave notice that the topic was subject to revision. I am sure if the topic had changed to a forum on the greatness of Wayne Watson the room would not have been cancelled. Second, the final sentence of Edwards' memorandum prohibits Gomberg (or anyone else) from holding the forum "on the campus of Chicago State University . . ." I guess it is alright to have Louis Farrakhan or Bakri Osman Saeed appear at Chicago State, but it is not alright to have a forum on the excesses and misdeeds of the Watson administration. Really?

However, the event went off as scheduled, although in a new venue. For that we have Dr. Rita Kucera to thank. In the finest tradition of collegiality and respect for free expression and academic freedom, Dr. Kucera took steps to ensure the event's success. Thank you Rita.

Of course, not everyone is pleased that the event occurred. Our Lilliputian dictator in the Cook building is reportedly "hopping mad" that he was unable to suppress the forum. Nevertheless, he provided a textbook example (if somewhat ineffective and inept) of repression. Thanks for underscoring our point so well.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A letter to colleagues from Paul Gomberg

I sent the letter that follows to my colleagues in the Department of Criminal Justice, Philosophy, and Political Science. The letter concerns the unsuccessful attempt to prevent the forum "Repression at CSU" on Wednesday evening and plans for a party for me to say farewell to the many people at Chicago State for whom I have deep affection and respect.

Dear colleagues,

As many of you know I will be retiring at the end of this semester. I began teaching at Chicago State as an adjunct in 1985. So I have spent most of my adult life teaching here, and Chicago State has become part of who I am.

The Department of Criminal Justice, Philosophy, and Political Science had been planning a party for my retirement to give us all a chance to say farewell. However, given the role played by the department’s official chairperson Marian Perkins in the (unsuccessful) effort to  stop Wednesday evening’s forum “Repression at CSU,” I am asking that the department NOT be the sponsor of any retirement party that may be held for me. (Is it not ironic that the CSU administration and Perkins attempt to stop a forum on repression?)

Let me explain the events leading up to Perkins’ phone call and letter; I have pasted the letter at the end of this message. On February 10th I sent to the department a room reservation form requesting the library’s 4th floor auditorium for a March 19th forum on mass incarceration and sexism (with the topic subject to “revision, refinement, and clarification”). I did not hear back from the office of meetings and events until March 4th. On March 5th I received an approval, but I felt that this late approval gave us insufficient time to organize a proper forum.  On March 14th I requested an April 2nd date, but when by the 20th I had still not secured an approval, I requested another postponement until April 9th, and this date was approved.

By that time several things had happened. On March 7th Willie Preston was arrested when he attempted to speak in the public comments section of a Board of Trustees meeting; the charges were trespass and “violating an order of protection.” Then there was a court hearing for Preston where eight of us showed up in support of him. We had put out a leaflet pointing out how Angela Henderson’s court order of protection against Preston was based on the racist stereotype of the violent young black male, which plays an important role in mass incarceration. I had proposed that the topic of the forum be changed to “The New Jim Crow Comes to Chicago State,” but in a discussion held after the court hearing we decided that the forum should not focus solely on the racism of Willie’s case but be broadened to include other administration efforts to stifle dissenting voices  of students, faculty and staff. So we decided on the title “Repression at CSU.” This decision occurred  March 24th.

When, on April 7th, publicity began to appear for the forum with its new title and topic, I received a phone call from Perkins and the email below reviewing the call’s contents. Because of her role in the efforts to suppress the forum, I do not want her to honor me on my retirement.

I greatly look forward to these last weeks as a teacher at Chicago State. For 29 years I have tried to do a good job. I greatly respect so many of the students, other teachers, and campus workers I have known. So many students strive so hard despite so many difficulties—many of them due to the vicious racism of U.S. society. I respect so many of my fellow teachers who are trying their best to give to students what they have to offer. I respect so many campus workers who likewise do their best. I look forward to saying a very fond farewell to all of you.

With very fond regards to so many,



To: "Dr. Gomberg" <>, Paul Gomberg <>


Subject: Message from CJPPS Department Chairperson Marian E. Perkins, J.D. - Re: Room Reservation Request for an event or activity to be held on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Date: Apr 7, 2014 8:11 PM

April 7, 2014

Dear Professor Paul Gomberg:

         Hello! This e-mail is a memorialization of  the telephone conversation that we had this evening, April 7, 2014 at approximately 7:50 p.m. I made the following statements:

          1. There is a duly executed and approved Chicago State University Room Reservation Request Form for a panel discussion on "Mass Incarceration and Its Impact on Families & Women" that was originally scheduled for March 19, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in The New Academic Library Auditorium (4th Floor);

         2. An extension of this Room Reservation Request for a panel discussion on "Mass Incarceration and Its Impact on Families & Women" was granted by The CSU Office of Meeting & Events for the date of on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in The New Academic Library - Auditorium (4th Floor) and

        3. A Flyer has been distributed around the CSU campus that states that the event or activity: "Repression at CSU and Panel to Address Student/ Faculty Concerns" shall be held on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in The New Academic Library where there is no Room  Reservation Form approved for that particular event or activity on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

     You stated to me during our telephone conversation on April 7, 2014 the following:

     1. The topic: " Mass Incarceration and Its Impact on Families & Children" will not be discussed at the CSU event or activity scheduled for April 9, 2014 in The New Academic Library - 4th Floor (Auditorium) and

    2. You further stated that you and the group planning this event instead chose to change the topic from "Mass Incarceration" to "Repression at CSU" and did not amend the Room Reservation to reflect that event/ activity change.

         I stated to you that the event or activity: "Repression at CSU and Panel to Address Student /Faculty Concerns at CSU" that you have organized for April 9, 2014 in The New Academic Library - Auditorium (4th Floor) without departmental approval or sanction may be cancelled.  I further stated that it should be cancelled because there is no departmental approval or a duly executed Room Reservation Form for the event/ activity" "Repression at CSU"  scheduled to be held on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9: 00 p.m. in The New Academic Library.

         If you have any questions, or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.


Marian E. Perkins

Professor Marian E. Perkins, J.D.


The Department of Criminal Justice,

      Philosophy & Political Science