Monday, January 26, 2015

More Disgraceful Financial Shenanigans at Chicago State: Wayne Watson Extends His Middle Finger to Illinois Taxpayers, Students and Staff at Chicago State

At a meeting some time ago with faculty from several other Illinois universities, one of the attendees remarked that the reason no one has intervened to put a stop to the Watson administration at Chicago State is because “no one values the students there.” Given the continuing disaster of the Watson administration it seems difficult to argue with that assessment. What follows will detail what should be another fiscal scandal, further proof that one of Wayne Watson’s “accomplishments” has been doling out high-paying jobs to administrators who have put the university on life support. Of course, because this is happening at Chicago State, no one will even notice as Wayne Watson thumbs his nose at Illinois taxpayers and the staff and students at this school.

As I reported a few days ago, the most recent enrollment data I saw put our student population at 4668, a decrease of 2694 students from the number attending the school at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2011. You might think that a 36 percent reduction in the student population might result in some hard choices for a responsible administration. For the Watson administration, those choices are not that difficult: they are now crying poverty as they reportedly take the ax to the remnants of the Economics program and dismantle the HIV/AIDS Research Center. An indeterminate number of employees have apparently already been laid off and more doubtless will follow.

Against this backdrop of austerity we see a dramatic increase in our administrative ranks. Using the most recently created Chicago State Organizational Chart and comparing it with the 2011 Organizational Chart (the year our enrollment peaked at 7362), we see Wayne Watson spending recklessly to insure that he increases the administrative ranks and rewards his loyalists for their services.

The 2011 Organizational Chart detailed 45 administrative positions with titles like Assistant Director, Director, Dean, and Vice President. These university spent at least $4.47 million in salaries for these 45 employees. By 2015, the number had increased by 26.7 percent, to 57 high-level administrators at a cost to the university of over $5.9 million in salary, an increase of 32 percent from 2011. How does anyone charged with leading a university justify this kind of increase in top-level administrators while the school bleeds out?

Even more notable is the increase in the upper administrative ranks. In 2011, Chicago State’s Organizational Chart showed 3 Vice Presidents and 3 Associate Vice Presidents. In 2015, those numbers had nearly doubled, with 5 Vice Presidents and 6 Associate Vice Presidents on the Organizational Chart. In addition, Watson has created a number of other high-salaried positions: the school now has 2 Assistant Provosts; in 2011 we had none. While the number of Deans dropped from 11 in 2011 to 10 this year, the number of Directors increased from 22 in 2011 to 27 in 2015. In total, in 2011 the school employed 6 Vice Presidents/AVPs, 11 Deans and 22 Directors, a total of 39 upper level administrators. In 2015, we have swollen to 11 Vice Presidents/AVPs, 2 Assistant Provosts, 10 Deans, and 27 Directors, an increase to 50 positions (a gain of 28.2 percent). Again, how can this kind of metastatic growth be justified?

Watson has also generously rewarded his administrators for their failures. Reminiscent of a corporate executive who has looted the company and walked away with a large bonus while the employees get screwed, Watson will head into his comfortable retirement after giving away millions of dollars in public monies to his friends and cronies. Altogether, 18 of our current administrators have been at Chicago State since 2011. These 18 persons made an aggregate of $1.875 million in 2011. They make $2.3 million now, an average increase of 23 percent and an average yearly salary increase of just over $23,000. Since 2011, I have gotten roughly a 9 percent salary increase. How about you?

Finally, given the school’s total payroll of around $65 million, the additional $1.4 million Watson has spent on administrators could have been spent on a 2 percent salary increase for everyone in the place. Alternatively, imagine what $1.4 million might do to enhance the learning experience of our students, or perhaps to make critical repairs to buildings with roofs that leak like sieves or toilets that have been inoperable for months. Of course, that would be a frivolous expenditure of money that is necessary to insure that Watson’s cronies enjoy all the economic benefits this failed administration can provide.

Anyone interested in a copy of the latest Organizational Chart, send me an e-mail and I will send one along.

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