Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to Kick An Employee to the Curb: No Surprises Here, the Contemptible, Boorish Watson Administration Does Personnel Relations

The following comes from Dr. Janet Halpin, late of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's office, soon to be one of my faculty colleagues in the GSHAA Department. This is a blow-by-blow account of her recent experiences with our stunningly inconsiderate and incompetent upper administrative staff. This is the way Wayne Watson and his administrative buffoons treat employees who have dedicated themselves to serving the students at this university. Now, of course, there will be a completely new group of administrators learning their jobs in the university's biggest college. There have not been anything but interim Deans and Associate Deans in the College of Arts and Sciences since the departures of Rachel Lindsey and Victor Sorell. Although Janet graciously neglected to mention any names, I'm sure some of the characters in this somewhat ironic account will be identifiable. Shame on this despicable administration and the people who treat other people like they are refuse.

Employee Relations Master Class: giving an employee the boot
This is one of CSU’s new methods of kicking an employee to the curb:

1. Insist that the PCN (Personnel Change Notification) for the new academic/fiscal year be submitted by the program in a timely way, because missing deadlines results in the employee not being paid.

2. Leave the PCN in the queue without signing it and sending it on; when asked why, say “It is on hold.”

3. Appoint another employee to the position, but (I suppose) ask them not to talk about it in case the incumbent finds out they will not be retained in the position.

4. As the truth becomes clear, let the employee conduct the interesting, bemusing, astonishing, Kafkaesque process of finalizing activities and closing out relationships.
a. Employee: Hi, I haven’t ignored your email seeking confirmation of my presence at the meeting about the project we have been working on for two years and which will be mandated across the country next year, but I don’t think I will actually be employed on Tuesday.
[Overworked chair of very important project]: Oh, we’ll really miss you. Can we have lunch some day?
Employee: Yes, absolutely. I’m really sorry about leaving you in the lurch, but we have great people here in the College of Arts and Sciences, and one or more of them will step up. (We discussed a few people who would indeed be great.)
b. Employee: Hi, IT? I think that today will be my last day, so I need to arrange for a technician to come and wipe the computer, which belongs to the College.
IT: Don’t you know today is your last day? Hasn’t anyone told you?
Me: Sorry, I know this is awkward, but no. It’s just that I’m pretty sure that someone else will have the position on Tuesday, but I’m concerned that all my Outlook and personal files are in the computer.
IT: They’re all securely held under your userid and password, so you don’t have to worry on that account, but I’ll call you back in a few minutes with the trouble ticket, and someone will come on Tuesday probably. Should I say I’m sorry? or is this okay with you?
Employee: Thanks. No, it’s fine. I had planned to work all summer and take a short vacation in September after the fall semester had begun, the switch gear changes were done, at least the emergency ones, and the new interim dean had settled in. But, I’ve neglected my house and my own well-being the last few years, so I’ll have a relaxing summer doing that kind of activity. It’s great, actually.
IT: Okay. Enjoy the summer.
c. Employee: Hi, [Human Resources rep.]. I’m pretty sure today will be my last day, and I’m very concerned about my health benefits. I heard from others whose administrative positions ended in June that they were without coverage till they resumed Faculty status in mid-August.
HR: Are you sure today’s your last day? We kind of need official notification.
Employee: Well, I haven’t been notified by anyone, but I’m fairly sure that my appointment has not been renewed. Is there a way I can maintain my coverage? I recently had a routine test and both the clinic and my health provider have contacted me to have it done again.
HR: No, that’s okay. When we get official notification, we’ll sort it out, and you may get a bill directly from the State for your premium. Go ahead and make your appointment.

5. Because you know that this is a fairly well-organized individual, you can be confident that they will stop by Office Max for some bankers’ boxes, and pack up all the personal binders, textbooks, monographs, etc. and deliver some to their old department, and take the rest home, so as not to be in the way when your new person arrives.

6. Finally, at 2:00 p.m. Central Time, on Monday, June 30, 2014, have one of your flunkeys call the employee. (The employee was actually available in the office to take the call because, after placing the last box in the trunk of the car, she came back to update the voice message on the phone and automatic response on email.) Here is the script for the very clear, unambiguous, no question about it confirmation that the employee has been kicked to the curb:
Flunkey from Academic Affairs: “Hi, I called to ask if you would be willing to be paid for 30 days to help with the transition.”
The conversation lasted about three or four minutes, and the flunkey from Academic Affairs had reason to point out to the employee at one point that she had said “This type of conversation should have taken place several weeks ago, not at 2:00 p.m. CDT, on June 30, 2014,” three times!
Well, sorry for running on. And this is not very pleasant. But here’s a picture of me earlier today with my origami kayak. It was a beautiful Canada Day celebration for me. See you in August.

Dr. Janet Halpin
Professor of Geography

On a somewhat more positive note, Janet is taking advantage of her new-found freedom to enjoy herself:


  1. CSU is falling apart at the seams. How many more of these stories are there across campus?
    Good to have you back in the faculty Janet.

  2. thank you for your dedication to working with integrity and honor. It means a lot to those of us struggling through this administrative cadre of incompetents.

  3. Janet, you've been paddling in that river of shit too long; enjoy kayaking in some clean water.