"Constructive" Monologue

In Which Doug Murray Tells Us We're Stupid

Does the punctuation in “…Dr. Yowell and the board felt it a ‘fiduciary’ responsibility…” imply that they did not feel it was a fiduciary responsibility? What does “…keeping the ‘ Edison’ tradition alive." mean? Is poor punctuation the administration's new method of obfuscation? Just in case, the following is annotated for clarity, accuracy, rage, sarcasm, common sense, and fun.
Mr. Brad Reed, Academic Senate Chair
March 31, 2009
Academic Senate of Edison Community College
1973 Edison Dr.
Piqua, Ohio 45356

Dear Mr. Reed:

I received a copy of your March 27, 2009 communication to President Yowell informing him of the “no confidence vote”. Because of the nature of the notification from Dr. Yowell [a bit of tone-deaf managerial hackery to be sure, which in any case came from nervous subordinates, not Yowell; KY lacks the courage to address the community himself.], your response was not totally unexpected, but certainly disappointing. However, I assure you and the Senate that his notification of possible program cuts was done with the full knowledge and support of the Board of Trustees [Hardly assuring]. As you and the Senate both know, board policy [where is this board policy written or expounded?] and the union contract require President Yowell to give a 90 day notice regarding possible changes in employment. [Wrong. These policies concern intended changes, not possible ones. Notifying employees of any possible change would be absurd, and in the present case is nothing more than pure speculation--if no one knows how the budget process will turn out, then why would Yowell drive the Edison family's morale even lower by giving notice to people who might not be fired, instead of waiting until numbers were in and making targeted cuts if needed? By their own admission, KY and the Board have no clue how things will turn out...what if the numbers come in higher than expected? Also, CBA covered, or "union" workers at Edison are faculty only, and cannot be dismissed without cause and due process, or a reduction in force, neither of which were invoked, nor the procedures accompanying them followed. The ninety day provisions deal with intent to renegotiate the CBA. Last we checked, it takes two sides to negotiate. Also, worth noting the CBA didn't stop KY from attempting to fire at least one tenured faculty member in retaliation for the vote of no confidence.] With the current uncertainty of state funding legislation, both Dr. Yowell and the board felt it a “fiduciary” responsibility to let everyone know that cuts may be necessary once more is known. [This is not what was communicated to us. All yearly employees were cut before anything was known. The administration has said it may re-hire once more is known. Law and custom do not generally make allowances for half-firings, or semi-layoffs, of state workers. If one is given notice that one's contract is not renewed, that is sufficient notice of termination. A new contract for that person is effectively a complete re-hiring. HR best practices and the laws of the State of Ohio don't allow for "heads up" notice of maybe-firing. Where was the Strategeric Director of Human Resources on this? Someone at her pay grade should certainly have the experience, credentials and confidence to save the Administration from such embarrassments.]

While I understand many Edison employees feel anxious and vulnerable after the notice, as a member of the Edison community [KY's office and the Executive Dining Room do not a community make, sir], I find it hard to believe that you and others that voted “no confidence” arrived at such a conclusion after having done your homework [Believe it. That KY would order underlings to engage in preemptive firing of most of the college en masse--the human resources equivalent of The Columbine Massacre--before having any concrete notions of the budget process' outcome, is, in itself, profound evidence of poor leadership, judgment, character and sense on both men's parts; what confidence existed, and there was but little, was dashed by that rookie management blunder]. Are you aware of all the current bi-annual “educational cost” budget considerations going on in Columbus? [The state never passes a budget when Edison renews contracts. The administration usually waits to make cuts until more is known, as would've been sensible in this case, if sanity and good leadership had prevailed. And of course we're aware of budget considerations. KY never makes mischief, or inflicts some crazy, unneeded policy on us, or sets some half-wit between us and him, that he doesn't cite the budget, someone in Columbus, or AQIP. Though, to be fair, budget considerations don't seem to affect KY's AIG-like executive perks, his travel accomodations at 4-star resorts, his lust for caviar and fine champagnes in private receptions for the Board, or the hiring of his unqualified, semi-credentialed buddies to executive level positions where they can expose the college to ridicule and legal liability through silly politics, bad faith, or astonishing ignorance] I know you have been given most of the information. [Brother, we're living that information.]

Like most organizations [We're a college. Say it. We have traditions, intentions and expectations different from most organizations. If you're thinking of Edison as, strictly, a business, you're going to make dumb moves, as with the kind-of-maybe-firing of most of the college], the board and Dr. Yowell are trying to determine how to fulfill the “Edison” mission with fewer available dollars. [By your own admission, you don't know that. And have you asked the faculty, who are brimming with ideas? Yeah, I didn't think so.] Your vote of “no confidence” doesn’t help the situation [neither does your myopia regarding KY] and seems as if it was an easy answer made in haste [Nope. The HR Columbine at Edison was the last straw on a heavy load; Edison's faculty, almost to the member, resent KY's clumsy management, his obsessions with widely
discredited continuous improvement schemes (which might have worked, oddly enough, if used to improve the institution rather than cover its flaws, bloat its administration and instill terror in retail-level staff), his bald nepotism, his mistreatment of loyal Edison family members like Phil Lootens and Denny Myers, the mistreatment of administrators and faculty that have caused a devastating Exodus to Sinclair and the private sector, his megalomaniacal building and expansion schemes, his...whatever. You get the picture] . Your understanding would have been greatly appreciated during the decision making process. [We weren't involved in, or apprised of, the decision making process, so we couldn't give our understanding. We were informed at a surprise meeting, and the information we were given wasn't, and still isn't, understandable.] As a former instructor at Edison, and a supporter since its inception in 1973, I too believe in keeping the “Edison” tradition alive [What's with the quotes? Everywhere?]. Dr. Yowell has my full confidence and the confidence of the board in seeing that it does. [Oh. Well then. Wait, seriously? Then forty-four of us were probably wrong.]

Other than to acknowledge that I read your entire communication, I will not comment further. Based upon my experience and first hand knowledge of Edison’s planning, budgeting, communication, training and educational delivery systems, it is my opinion that your justification points are totally without merit [You haven't even warmed the Chairman's seat up yet. Talk to us in a year or two. Or, maybe, talk to us at all.] I believe in constructive dialogue and can only assume that there were other reasons for your vote. [
Ironic quotation marks would have finally been appropriate in his last sentence. Instead of engaging us in the constructive dialogue in which he believes, Mr. Murray summarily dismissed our concerns with pompous condescension and petty insults, tactics which we at The Illuminator absolutely abhor, and to which would never descend, so help us. As for other reasons, please see the previous paragraph.]

Doug Murray, Chairman
Board of Trustees
Cc: Mr. Larry Dragosavac

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