Friday, May 4, 2018

Lots of Money for Administrators: Is Wayne Watson Still Here?

The presidential search is hopefully nearing its conclusion. Who will we get? The future of the university almost assuredly depends upon the Board making the best choice at this time. Two of the candidates qualify as academics and are qualified based on work experience. The third has no academic experience, but knows the situation at Chicago State well. Her selection would likely end the employment of several Watson holdovers and may even result in a long-needed comprehensive audit of the financial operation of the university under the Lilliputian Leader’s “team.”

The threat to the Lilliputian Leader’s enduring hold on the university seems real to a number of his apparatchiks. There seems to be a move afoot to pressure local politicians and the Board to hold a new search. These Lilliputian Leader’s loyalists are alarmed over the possible selection of “Z” Scott as CSU’s next president and are working assiduously behind the scenes to insure that does not happen. It’s all about protecting people who have demonstrated their loyalty to the little guy and his corrupt regime. We’ll see how it all comes out.

Of course, there is no need for changes her at Chicago State. After all, we’ve made great strides this past year. One person on campus with actual ideas was run out of here after being undercut by the same folks who sabotaged the Calhoun presidency. Since the most recent interim leadership team began running the university, we’ve operated very much like we did for the past 9 years or so.

First, despite the need for a forensic audit, and despite the Board’s approval of such action in March 2017, the university claims there’s “no money” to do such a thing. Really? We are again poor-mouthing which provides a convenient excuse for inaction when we don’t want to be exposed to the light. Well folks, as always, we have money for some things here at Chicago State.

On January 31, 2017, the university employed 484 full-time, permanent workers. That number included 141 administrators and 343 faculty and staff (144 faculty). The salary expense for these employees came to just over $32.4 million, with $11.25 million for administrators, $11.36 million for faculty, and $9.8 million for staff.

We finally got a state appropriation in mid-2017. During that year, we saw a number of infrastructure problems develop at the university, students in the dorms had to be relocated because their rooms had neither head nor hot water. Meals had to be trucked in at times. Over the winter, we had disastrous water leaks from broken pipes in the Williams Science Building and New Academic Library. The parking lots on the south side of the campus continue to crumble into dust, and one of the elevators in Williams has been out of service since around August 2016.

These problems stem from years of inattention and a failure to commit funds to necessary maintenance. Since we had no money for an audit, perhaps it stands to reason we had no money for preventative maintenance. So, as we watch, the university tumbles down around us.

However, we have been able to find money to continue one of the former president’s favorite pursuits: swelling the administrative ranks here at Chicago State.

On March 9, 2018, our full-time employee complement had grown to 541, an increase of 57 employees. Interesting since our enrollment continues to decline. In spite of disastrous enrollment numbers, we forged ahead with the effort to increase our administrative ranks. The entire increase of 57 employees came from administrators. Now at Chicago State, we have 198 administrators and 343 faculty/staff (139 faculty). Administrative salaries are now over $15 million and constitute 40 percent of our total salary expense for full-time, permanent employees.

We just never learn.

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