Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Executive Harrassment: False Charges of Racism End Free Speech

One of the veteran faculty members in speech at Tommy Tech High School (formerly known as a community college) was the object of the unwanted attentions of two Vice Principals recently. Call it executive harassment.

According to numerous reports that Flagstiffed has received, the speech instructor was teaching a course in which the final speech given by a white student promoted the controversial position that the word “nigger” should NOT be used either by white people or by black people.

Apparently a black student in the class thought that the speech was racist and went running to Vice Principal for Students, Dr. Bivouac Stumbler-Bumbler, to complain. The black student claimed that the white student’s speech said that white people SHOULD use the word “nigger”.

Vice Principal Stumbler-Bumbler took it upon herself to visit the speech class in order to reassure students that the Tommy Tech High School Principal, Dr. Charles Seamstress Ponzi, would not tolerate no high falutin white crackers to upset their pretty little heads with controversial ideas or language. She was reported to have said that the white student’s topic was “unfortunate”.

Vice Principal Stumbler-Bumbler was joined in this executive harassment by Vice Principal for Academics, Dr. Ricky Flimflam.

Here’s the lesson for students: Any false charge of racism will get the attention of the school’s Principal and Vice Principals. Drama will get you more attention than self discipline.

Here’s the lesson for teachers: Watch your back. Anybody can be falsely accused. Don’t expect your leaders to support you. Tell your students how wonderful they are and give them good grades. The problem at Tommy Tech High School is that you are racists who don’t know how to treat urban black students.

(This report was sent to us by HSB. Flagstiffed has checked with our sources for it's accuracy.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Free Expression RIP: TNCC IT Blocks Flagstiffed

It is with great regret that we inform you of the death of Free Expression at TNCC.

After sending several messages to TNCC email accounts with the latest updates on the campus assault of an instructor and the police stonewalling of same Flagstiffed's email began receiving the following messages from the TNCC automated postmaster:

Barracuda Spam Firewall Your message to:
was blocked by our Spam Firewall. The email you sent with the following subject has NOT BEEN DELIVERED: TNCC Instructor Assaulted, Campus Police Stonewalls

Students, faculty and staff fondly remember Free Expression as a disrespectful but lively friend who could always be counted on to make life interesting.

However Free Expression also frightened campus administrators some of which found themselves the center of Free Expression's unwelcome attention.

With the passing of Free Expression TNCC will now officially be known as Tommy Tech High School.

Friends may leave condolence and memorial messages by clicking on the underlined title of this blog article.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Manic Masturbator Assaults Instructor

Teen Wanker Wacks Teacher at Tommy Tech

(Hampton, Virginia) On Monday night, when an Information Technology instructor at Tommy Tech High School entered his classroom he discovered an adolescent (not a student) sitting in front of a computer viewing pornography and masturbating. When the teacher attempted to keep the juvie visitor from leaving in order for campus police to arrive the wacky wacker assaulted the teacher. A case of jerkoff interruptus.

News of the assault began to circulate around the campus the next day but campus police claimed at a faculty senate meeting on Tuesday that they legally could not comment on the incident since a juvenile was involved.

One legal expert characterized that claim as “bogus, sham, ass covering bullshit to cover the sorry ass” of Tommy Tech High School principal Charles Ponzi. Apparently Ponzi is hosting a national meeting on the high school campus next week and wants everything cleaned up before his friends arrive.

Speaking of cleanup, one report received by Flagstiffed claims that the pervie perp left some of his DNA behind which is good for forensics but bad for housekeeping. Note to instructors: Ask your administration if the room has been decontaminated. In the meantime carry some handiwipes with you.

No word yet on the condition of the instructor. One email to Flagstiffed indicated that the instructor had been bitten by the abusive self abuser. Hope the teen perp has been tested for both HIV and hepatitis and that Tommy Tech High School has good liability insurance.

Campus police and the PR department are still stonewalling. The incident has not been reported to the campus at large.

You’d think that in a day and age when nutcase students and campus crime is a concern Tommy Tech’s administration would be interested in informing its public not in covering up. But Tommy Tech principal Ponzi has a long rap sheet of trying to save face rather than facing the music.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Back to School FAQ

Ok boys and girls, everybodies back to school, and Flagstiffed is back from vacation (except when I was checking on and approving your message postings from my undisclosed location) so its time for an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and another open forum.

Who is Flagstiffed? "Flagstiffed" is a friend of your college. The college that made a difference in my life when I needed to take a new direction. You have made a difference to me. You make a difference to many many many many students. I can't thank you enough. Over the years I've kept in touch with former teachers and employees. What they have told me over the past couple of years about your current administration makes me very sad. So I thought I'd give you a chance to tell your story and to air your concerns. And to dish the dirt--not gossip, not rumors but genuwhine 120 proof dirt. The real news, not the fake news in "Fluffstuff" or "Flagstaff" or whatever its called. So really Flagstiffed is YOU!!!

Where do you find the stuff that you publish? Kids, alot of this is available in public domain. Too bad your leaders have covered it up or were too lazy to dig. Alot of this stuff has been communicated to us from folks on the Left Coast (your president has no friends out here, doncha know). But most important: YOU SEND ME STUFF! Thank you for those emails.

How come some people get emails from you with updates? Well, I'm not sure if your ticked off because you DO get mail from me or if your ticked off because you DON"T get email from me. Some names I pick at random (thanks to your Web site). Some names are the names of teachers I admire (they know who they are) or employees I got to know. Some names I just pick at random.

Does the administration know about this Web site? You bet. Your main office in Richmond knows. Your administration knows. Don't you feel better now knowing thatt?

Are you really our college's president or one of his henchmen? That rumor came my way recently. LOL! And then I cried. Thats got to tell you something about the paranoia on your campus. Don't forget kids: Paranoia, like shit, flows down from the top. Get out of the slipstream.

Do news media know about this Web site? Some of them do. Do you really think they give a damn?

If I post an anonymous comment, can it be traced or identified? Nope. I can't tell who you are. Google/Blogger doesn't give a crap who you are. If you send us email though please use a dummy email account that can't be identified.

How do I post a comment? As always, click on the underlined links to post a comment. Click on Flagstiffed email link to send us mail. The comments are moderated, so I have to approve them before they actually appear on the Web. (Some folks were touching a few legal and ethical nerves with their messages, so we want to make sure they everybodyies protected and we can keep this operation going. No "defamation per se" here.)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

August Holiday: Open Forum

Its almost August when everybody in Paris, New York and the Valley goes on vacation. Flagstiffed is posting this open forum for you to post your news and views. This is a moderated forum (like all the others) so when you post your message it won't appear until I've approved it.

Stay cool/kewl!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mental Health Watch: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Good Mental Health
Dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Flagstiffed provides this feature as a public service to help employees deal with a difficult personality type.

The general description of the personality disorder comes from AllPsych and Heffner Media Group, Inc.

We consulted with a professional who has extensive clinical experience in both individual and group psychotherapy settings to offer a commentary that is written in blue italics.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Like most personality disorders, there are many factors that may contribute to the development of symptoms. Because the symptoms are long lasting, the idea that symptoms begin to emerge in childhood or at least adolescence is well accepted. The negative consequences of such symptoms, however, may not show themselves until adulthood.

(Conventional psychotherapeutic models of the narcissistic personality tend to attribute it to a psychic wound inflicted in childhood. For example, an abusive father may produce the disorder in his son for whom the narcissism becomes a form of protection against the father’s emotional assaults. Narcissistic disordered patients are often ACOA [adult children of an alcoholic parent] whose narcissism was developed as a protective shell. Narcissistic adults frequently seek out other narcissistic adults as their mates and partners since they both view the world as a dangerous place filled with people who are out to get them.)

The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder:
1. Revolve around a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and sense of entitlement. (The narcissistic patient frequently surrounds himself with people who flatter or praise him and rebuffs those who criticize or disagree with him.)

2. Often individuals feel overly important and will exaggerate achievements and will accept, and often demand, praise and admiration despite worthy achievements. (The narcissistic patient often displays emblems of success and admiration, no matter how trivial or insignificant, such as awards, certificates, and prizes, or brags about supposed accomplishments, which are often exaggerated or are actually the product of others’ labor.)

3. They may be overwhelmed with fantasies involving unlimited success, power, love, or beauty and feel that they can only be understood by others who are, like them, superior in some aspect of life. (The narcissistic patient blames others for problems for which he is responsible and is unable to accept responsibility for mistakes or to apologize for harm he has caused.)

4. There is a sense of entitlement, of being more deserving than others based solely on their superiority. (In a curious twist, this sense of superiority can be masked by a false pose of humility while simultaneously existing as a symptom of a fundamental insecurity.)

5. These symptoms, however, are a result of an underlying sense of inferiority and are often seen as overcompensation. (Underlying all of the narcissistic patient’s bragging and displays of supposed accomplishments are a deep, abiding, and intractable insecurity, sense of shame, and fear of being exposed to ridicule.)

6. Because of this, they are often envious and even angry of others who have more, receive more respect or attention, or otherwise steal away the spotlight. (The narcissistic personality can become very paranoid, questioning the loyalty and motives of those around them. They also tend to “infect” their associates with the same paranoia and sense of emergency or urgency in stressful circumstances.)

Treatment for this disorder is very rarely sought. There is a limited amount of insight into the symptoms, and the negative consequences are often blamed on society. In this sense, treatment options are limited. Some research has found long term insight oriented therapy to be effective, but getting the individual to commit to this treatment is a major obstacle.

(The narcissistic patient abhors situations where he appears to have made a mistake, blames others for his personal problems or for problems that he has caused, feels himself to be the object of undue scrutiny, and in some instances exhibits a paranoia in which he imagines others are out to get him. He is unable to acknowledge the extent to which he is the cause of his own problems or the extent to which he causes pain and suffering in others. Therefore, when his disorder causes others distress, he is unlikely to acknowledge the pain and suffering that he has inflicted on others, much less to apologize, to remedy, or to change. Seeking treatment requires an individual who has some degree of self-awareness, empathy, and ego strength, which the narcissistic personality typically lacks.)

Prognosis is limited and based mainly on the individual's ability to recognize their underlying inferiority and decreased sense of self worth. With insight and long term therapy, the symptoms can be reduced in both number and intensity.

(Narcissistic personality types can be very dangerous to those associated with them. When asked how one should deal with a narcissistic personality, the clinician’s best answer is, With as much distance as possible!)

Copyright © 1999-2003, AllPsych and Heffner Media Group, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Anatomy of a Deficit (Part Four)

Swing a Cat, Hit a VP

Employees who read Flagstiffed have reported concerns about the number of administrators that the college has and as we have reported in a previous article they are expensive. So we asked one of our readers to look into the matter to make sure that we report the facts. Here is that reader’s report:

The most expensive part of the college’s budget is personnel services, including salaries and benefits. However, as college enrollments and income have increased, you would think that the college would invest in more full time faculty. But you’d be wrong.

For several years we have noticed a disturbing phenomenon. Enrollments at the college have increased over the past decade, but the number of full time faculty has remained about the same. The number of administrators has increased over the past decade, but the number of full time faculty has remained about the same. If enrollments are increasing, wouldn’t it make sense that the numbers of full time faculty would also increase proportionately?

Let’s do the numbers. We’re going to use FTES (full time equivalent students) because that’s what the college’s appropriations are calculated on.

3,745 FTE students
23 college administrators
0 vice presidents
0 associate vice presidents
About 100 faculty

4,879 FTE Students
29 college administrators
0 vice presidents
0 associate vice presidents
About 100 faculty

5,201 FTE Students
39 college administrators
8 vice presidents, a provost, and a special assistant to the president (a cabinet post)
5 associate vice presidents
About 100 faculty

So in ten years, enrollment at the college has increased about 39%, the number of administrators has increased about 70%, and the number of full time faculty has remained about the same.

Let’s compare those executive numbers with a nearby neighboring college. In 2005-2006, they enrolled 15,613 FTE students (three times more students than our college). So how many executives do they employ? They have a provost for each campus (four provosts) and five vice presidents, a total of nine cabinet executives. If they used our ratios they would have a cabinet of about 24 executives!

Does it make sense that increased enrollment during a decade requires only the same number of full time faculty but a vastly larger number of administrators? How does the college afford those executive and sub-executive salaries, not to mention administrative support staff (clerical workers) for each? How can the college justify increasing administrators while full time faculty numbers remain almost constant?

The secret behind this increase lies in the fact that most administrators at the college are just passing through town. The college is a stepping stone on their way to bigger and better executive positions. And one of the ways to pad your resume before you move on out and up is to increase the number of “direct reports” under you on the organizational chart. Faculty and staff who have served on the myriad of executive and sub-executive search committees this past year have reported that statements about the “direct reports” who worked for applicants figured prominently in applicant’s job application letters and resumes as well as in interviews.

Increasing the number of executives in the cabinet and increasing the number of associate vice presidents, deans and directors reporting to vice presidents does not serve a growing student body. The increase only serves executive incumbents when they seek advancement by moving to other colleges. In some circles it is known as “featherbedding” or feathering your own nest. Here at this college it should be known as “ka-ching!”

What’s the cost? Based on data from the VCCS, vice presidential salaries at college our size can range from $94,000 to $125,000; provosts, $96,000 to $128,000 (both VP and provost salaries are based in part on FTES); and associate vice presidents, $56,000 to $105,000. Tack on 50% more for each to include the cost of their benefits. Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

And you wonder why there’s a budget deficit?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Anatomy of a Deficit (Part Three)

Business Econ 101

{This is the third in a series on the college's financial difficulties. Flagstiffed has relied on reports from people with knowledge of the situation. Some sources have confirmed other sources but Flagstiffed has not asked the college's administration for comment.}

At a town hall meeting for employees, later in an email to employees, and after that in an article in a local newspaper, the president’s story about the college’s deficit kept changing. One version of events provided by the president (the deficit is the product of the college’s success with growing enrollments) can be easily discounted with a simply lesson in business economics, which has been provided for us by a business economist whose analysis was sent to us by one of our readers:

Putting an additional student into an empty desk for a single 3 credit course adds more than $225 to the college’s revenues. Yet, the marginal cost associated with that additional student is relatively insignificant---unless there are no empty seats to be had. However, that's not the case at the college. Very few classes are full (i.e., without a single empty desk in the room). So, in the vast majority of cases, adding another student to a class will generate a fair amount of revenue without incurring any significant additional costs.

Can you imagine a CEO in the business world telling shareholders that a firm's financial problems stem from having too many paying customers? Who would accept such nonsense at face value? Yet, that's exactly what the college’s president has done. If an organization's marginal revenue greatly exceeds its marginal cost at its current level of output, is it likely that it would lose money by expanding output a bit more? Given this scenario, shouldn't we suspect waste or fraud---or, at least, managerial incompetence---if an organization DID lose money under these circumstances?

We don't really know how much of a student's tuition the college gets to keep. But, given the minimal marginal cost of adding a single student to a particular class (i.e., providing a syllabus, a Class Schedule booklet, a student email address, and some "employee" time processing the registration and payment), it's a certainty that the college should be coming out ahead. A brand new student who goes through placement testing and counseling would be more expensive; but most of them end up with full loads, so they'd each generate $900+ in revenue their first semester.

What readers should find amazing is that in Fall, 2002 (less than five years ago), the college was charging $40.46 per credit hour for tuition. And they didn't seem to be going broke. They’ve raised tuition more than 79% since then (to $72.50 per credit hour)---and now they can't make ends meet! Where is all that "extra" money going?

If an organization has plenty of customers but still gets into financial difficulty, mismanagement is the likely cause. Fifty-three of the lowest-paid college employees had their hours cut with virtually no advanced warning. Some of them live paycheck-to-paycheck. Now we learn that summertime adjunct faculty will not get paid until July 1. Could you make ends meet if your take-home pay was cut in half tomorrow or you paycheck delayed by half a month? Administrators will never know. And there are many administrators at the college.

Next time: Swing a Cat, Hit a VP

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Anatomy of a Budget Deficit (Part Two)

Train Wreck

{This is the second in a series on the college's financial difficulties. Flagstiffed has relied on reports from people with knowledge of the situation. Some sources have confirmed other sources but Flagstiffed has not asked the college's administration for comment.}

Put simply there appears to be two causes to the college’s current deficit. The administration created a budget whose income and expense projections were bogus and the current budget management was not able to do cash projections in order to insure that cash on hand matched expenses. Freight train meets passenger train on the same pair of tracks.

The president has reportedly claimed that mismanagement by a previous administration and previous uncollected monies owed to the college are to blame for this deficit. But uncollected debts are only a problem if you make bogus projections about how much youre going to collect on those “receivables” and then include those bogus projections as anticipated income in your budget.

The administration insisted on doing both despite the fact that at least one employee (no longer employed there) at the time reportedly warned them not to use those numbers. And now it faces a big budget hole that its trying to fill by temporarily cutting parttime employees, delaying adjunct faculty paychecks, delaying paying vendors and delaying purchases and hiring until next year (which is just postponing the inevitable to the end of next year). Perhaps the president hopes to have a new job in another state by the time the collection agency comes calling on his current college.

What really confused college employees was that for months the president and his finance staff had been reporting good news. Problems in the business office had been fixed. Numerous audit findings had been corrected. Something that the president was calling a “Dream Team” had visited the campus and now everything was OK.

But wait, theres more. college employees report that in recent months they also heard nothing but good news about record enrollment increases. Those increases look good on paper and they looked good when the budget included them as income. But not all enrollments are fully paying enrollments, yet the administration’s budget counted them anyway. Now he’s saying that record enrollments caused the deficit. Huh? One explanation, according to several employees, is that the enrollment numbers were not accurate or were not an accurate reflection of tuition income. Apparently the college has been claiming something called “dual enrollments” that make the numbers look better but that aren’t bringing in the tuition. Plus one of Flagstiffed’s readers has pointed out that enrollment numbers calculate APPROPRIATIONS which aren’t income. Paying enrollment, these employees have reported to Flagstiffed, have been flat, not rising.

But thats only part of the problem. A bogus budget is definitely going to end in a train wreck, but a good budget manager is like a sharp eyed railroad engineer who can put the breaks on the train as soon as he sees trouble ahead. At the college that did not happen. A whole new budget and business office staff hired over the past year apparently have not had enough time to get a handle on regular cash projections, according to sources with knowledge of this subject. Information databases apparently don’t talk to each other either creating problems with billing. One database runs registration. Another older database runs the accounting. In one instance, it has been reported that over $100,000 owed to the college for services that it has rendered to clients has not been billed. Other substantial unbilled accounts have recently been reported.

The timing of the “discovery” of the deficit, just after the arrival of a new vice president of finance, can’t be coincidental. Several sources report to Flagstiffed that he discovered the problem. Why didn’t the previous VP for finance and the college’s board see this and intervene sooner? In fact, it has been reported that one board member resigned in disgust at what he saw coming down the train tracks.

The saddest thing to report is that the college’s administration was warned last summer and again last winter that the budget was not achievable, according to informed sources who have communicated with Flagstiffed. The college’s administration was warned of other financial problems 2 or 3 years ago, according to those same sources. It was warned of potential audit problems 3 years ago, according to other sources. However, sources report that the president chooses who he trusts-usually his cronies-and listens to those who tell him what he wants to hear. They report that he doesn’t like people who stand in his way; he makes them go away. Poof!

Next time: Business Econ 101

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Anatomy of a Budget Deficit (Part One)

Budget by Ponzi: A Designer Deficit

Several week after the president of the college, announced that his administration suddenly discovered that his 2006-2007 budget had a big hole, amounting to nearly a million dollars, people are still scratching their heads. How did such a big deficit suddenly appear? Who discovered it? More important, why didn’t somebody discover it sooner? Was noone able to predict it? What caused the deficit? How can the college keep this from happening again?
The fact that the college president has provided different versions of this problem, has people even more confused and angry. At first they were told it had something to do with unpaid money due to the college but uncollected by previous admininstrators. Then they were told that it was a normal end of the year budget adjustment. Then they read in the paper that the deficit was the result of having booming enrollments (that the administration reportedly had been bragging about for months).
To repair this years budget deficit the administration proposed to delay purchases and hiring until the new budget year (and postpone paying the piper again, some employees wondered). To cut the hours of parttime employees (who can least afford it) and then to delay paying adjunct faculty.
Based on reports provided by a variety of sources (some unconfirmed at this time) with knowledge and experience in the subject, Flagstiffed staff have put together the following report. We will provide you with this report in several installments. It’s complx. It’s unfolding. It sounds a little bit like a scheme cooked up by Charles Ponzi, the guy who paid first investors with the cash paid by later investors. We don’t want your eyes to glaze over so we’ll break it down for you in bite size pieces. Follow the money, (like Deep Throat said to Bob Woodward) over the next couple of installments.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hey Big Spender!

Some things in life are free. For everything else there’s Charles A. Taylor. Wherever he has held a college executive position Taylor seems to leave others with the bill for his lavish tastes.

Community Colleges of Spokane
While chancellor here, Taylor arranged a junket to attend a conference in Africa, although it is not clear what business or educational partnership exists between eastern Washington and west Africa. He took his wife along, because he explained they expect a man to be accompanied by his wife, who has important functions to perform. He got into trouble for having used a college credit card to pay for his wife’s airfare (though with board approval) for $2,000.

In order to rent administrative office space at an offcampus waterfront location, Taylor spent nearly 2 million dollars from a “reserve” fund, an expenditure that was only discovered by the trustees after his departure. The CCS administrative offices were moved off campus into the Riverpoint One building that had been purchased by the CCS Foundation for nearly 9 million dollars. Taylor had assured the trustees that state money and cash from the CCS budget wouldn’t be used to maintain the building, but he didn’t say anything about using the reserve funds. When Taylor had proposed moving CCS offices to Riverpoint One he claimed that other tenants would pay the rent for CCS.

Trustees there had given him a $15,000 bonus shortly before they fired him.

After Taylor was fired from CCS, Taylor’s successor David Habura had to reduce administrative costs and services to the three CCS entities in order to recover the money. According to Habura “To the best of my knowledge and by all indicators, the trustees were not aware of the situation and are as dismayed as I am”. Habura also said that CCS was facing over three quarters of a million dollar deficit at the end of the fiscal year. Included in that deficit was a half million dollar rent bill for the new Riverpoint One office space, a $200,000 cost overrun from moving into that building, $70,000 for marketing, and $36,000 in other expenses.

Peralta Community College
After being fired at Spokane, his arrival at Peralta was expensive and controversial. According to Will Harper in the East Bay Express, Taylor followed a notorious figure who had been fired by the Peralta Board, named Ronald Temple. Harper wrote that you “can only hope the board of trustees negotiates a better deal with the next chancellor it hires. It is troubling, though, that a leading candidate to replace Temple as interim chancellor is a guy Temple brought in himself upon the recommendation of CampusWorks, the consulting firm founded by an ex-con and Temple associate. He is Charles Taylor, who came to Peralta last May to serve as the interim vice chancellor for administration and finance. And in typical free-spending Peralta fashion, the district paid $18,000 back then for its new interim vice chancellor to permanently move to the Bay Area from Washington”.

While at Peralta, Charles Taylor oversaw a major construction project. Because of his mismanagement, change orders for the project cost the college half a million dollars, only discovered after Taylor left, according to a report to the Peralta board of trustees made by Peralta General Services Director Sadiq Ikharo (reported by Berkeley Daily Press).

Current Activities
The expenses that he wanted to make for his inauguration at his current employment included extravagant printing costs and other items that at least one planner objected to. His insistence on a full color Presidents Newsletter and annual report (featuring numerous photographs of him prominently) is another luxury, as well as metal pins with the new college logo and other PR giveaway items. An expenseive “rebranding” campaign required the production of new media and print materials, such as stationery, business cards, name tags, and the like. The recent cancellation of the employees award banquet required the college to pay a penalty. He is also reportedly the defendant in a federal employment suit associated with his presidency at the college though it is not clear if there is a civil monetary suit involved.

Recent reports by several campus sources say that Charles Taylor requested the installation of a shower in his executive suite that would of cost $30,000. Fortunately, somebody got smart and called the Virginia employee fraud, abuse, and waste hotline to put an end to that little home improvement. However, it is reported that the construction estimate was expensive.

The college is also planning to purchase an off campus office building where it is currently renting office and classroom space (maybe to move all its executives?) and has just broken ground for a building for a second campus in Williamsburg.

Then there’s the VP bunch. Student enrollments have grown under the Taylor presidency and so have the number of Vice Presidents and Associate Vice Presidents, and recently a first ever Provost, and they are very expensive. These include a Vice President for Academic Affairs, a Vice President for Student Affairs, a Vice President for Finance and Administration, a Vice President for Information Technology, a Vice President for Institutional Advancement, a Vice President for Workforce Development, a Provost for the new campus in Williamsburg, and a Special Assistant to the President. There are six Associate Vice Presidents. They pull down the biggest salaries in a college and they each require secretaries (top dog Taylor has two secretaries Flagstiffed has been told).

But despite huge enrollment increases in the past ten years and increases in the number of Vice Presidents and Associate Vice Presidents, the number of fulltime faculty has not increased by much, as reported by several of Flagstiff’s readers. Administration is more important than teaching, they say.

This information has been provided by current and former employees.

Somehow, it doesn’t add up.

Want to find out more? Suggested reading:

Audit finds CCS erred by ‘loaning’ state credit, by Virginia de Leon, Spokesman Review, June 22, 2001
Settlements Drain CCS, Taxpayers, by Virginia de Leon, The Spokane Spokesman-Review, September 30, 2001
CCS Finds Reserves Depleted, by Virginia de Leon, The Spokesman-Review, November 8, 2001
Who’s to blame by Pia K Hansen, The Pacific Northwest Inlander, November 8, 2001
Report of Whistleblower Investigation, CCS, #01-133, May 22, 2001
Chancellor’s windfall, severance hangover, by Will Harper, East Bay Express, March 5, 2003.
New Vista College Campus on Track for 2006, Berkley Daily Planet, April 26, 2005

Friday, May 11, 2007

Legal Notice

One of Flagstiffs readers took the desparate meassure of contacting state officials. According to this readers posting this is what the state official wrote:

I don't know how you got my name, but I'm actually glad you did. I serve as System Counsel and Assistant Attorney General to the Virginia Community College System. It's not often that someone will be as bold as you by publishing defamatory remarks directly to a lawyer. It's clear you don't have a clue about how local board members are chosen and your false statements,which you are using in an attempt to malign Chancellor DuBois' character, could be actionable as defamation per se. This is a warning to you to cease and desist with passing on such false information not only about Dr. DuBois, but also about Dr. Taylor. If you do not, be aware that the VCCS will consider taking legal action. You're not as anonymous as you think you are.

Rita R. Woltz
System Counsel
Virginia Community College System
(804) 819-4906

Flagstiff does not know if this message was in fact written and sent by the person named. However Flagstiff would never on purpose encourage or permit violations of civial or criminal law. This website is for the purpose of providing published facts that may help college employees understand there current situation. The public forum that allows readers to post comments is not there for defamatory remarks. Just the facts, m'am. No names, please. Protect yourself.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. --U.S. Constitution

Defamation and libel

In law, defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation.

In many, though not all, legal systems, statements presented as fact must be false to be defamatory. Proving a defamatory statement to be true is often the best defense against a prosecution for libel. Statements of opinion that cannot be proven true or false will likely need to apply some other kind of defense.

In most legal systems the courts give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant. In criminal law, he or she is presumed innocent until the prosecution can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; whereas in civil law, he or she is presumed innocent until the plaintiff can show liability on a balance of probabilities. However, the common law of libel contains a kind of reverse-onus feature: a defamatory statement is presumed to be false unless the defendant can prove its truth. In New York Times v Sullivan (376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710 (1964)), the United States Supreme Court changed this traditional feature of the common law with respect to public figures, and ruled that in cases where a public figure was libelled the burden of proof would be on the libeled person (the plaintiff).

Defamation law in the United States is much less plaintiff-friendly than its counterparts in European and the Commonwealth countries.

This is because the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives strong protection to freedom of expression, which arose from the tradition of dissent in the American Revolution. For most of the history of the United States, constitutional protections of freedom of speech had no impact on the traditional common law of defamation inherited from the English legal system. This changed with the landmark 1964 case of New York Times v. Sullivan, in which the Supreme Court of the United States announced constitutional restrictions to state defamation law. The court held that where a public official was defamed, the plaintiff had to prove not just that an untruthful statement was made, but also that it was made with "actual malice" - that is, with knowledge of falsity or with reckless disregard for the truth. The "actual malice" standard was subsequently extended to public figures in general, and even to private figure plaintiffs seeking punitive or presumptive damages.

Defamation per se

All states except Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee recognize some categories of statements are considered to be defamatory per se, such that people making a defamation claim for these statements do not need to prove that the statement was defamatory. In the common law tradition, damages for such statements are presumed and do not have to be proven. Traditionally, these per se defamatory statements include:

* Allegations or imputations "injurious to another in their trade, business, or profession"
* Allegations or imputations "of loathsome disease" (historically leprosy and sexually transmitted disease, now also including mental illness)
* Allegations or imputations of "unchastity" (usually only in unmarried people and sometimes only in women)
* Allegations or imputations of criminal activity (sometimes only crimes of moral turpitude)


State of Virginia Department of Accounts Employee Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Contest: Find a New Excuse for the Deficit

Just in time for the weekend. Our faithful reader Marge Inavera has suggested another weekend contest: Find the college administration a new excuse for the deficit.

The administration has already offereed several different versions of why there's an almost million dollar deficit (uncollected receivables, the incompetence of previous administrations, too many students) and we're sure that we're going to see more.

So lets help the college administration out with new explanations. Click on the headline above to post your anonymous submissions.

Marge suggests this one to get things started: In this Star Trek episode, Klingons have invaded the college and plundered its bank account. You can alwys blame Klingons. Make it so.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Half-Million Dollar Baby: Questionable Fiscal Management

According to published reports, Charles A. Taylor was abruptly fired as chancellor of the Community Colleges of Spokane where his management prompted numerous former employees to file discrimination law suits, resulting in nearly half a million dollars awarded to the former employees (at taxpayers’ expense, none from Taylor’s pocket).

After his dismissal, the board of trustees discovered that a reserve account of nearly $2 million had been drained to less than $200,000 by the time of his departure. Most of that was spent on the rental of office space in a new office building, the downtown Riverpoint One, a waterfront property along the Spokane River.

The board also claimed that Taylor had not told them about other financial decisions, such as purchasing (for half a million dollars) a student registration and book ordering system . . . that didn’t work.

Taylor frequently likes to depict himself as the object of unfair scrutiny and biased oversight. For example, after an audit revealed an irregularity in which he used a Community Colleges of Spokane charge card to pay for his wife’s airfare (nearly $2,000) on a “business” trip that he was making to Africa, he was quoted as saying “I’ve been under more scrutiny than any other CEO for doing the same types of travel or making the same administrative decisions.” After being summarily fired from the Community Colleges of Spokane, Taylor characterized the dismissal as “absolutely unfair.” The inability to admit his own management blunders seems to characterize his executive employment. It’s always somebody else’s fault or the result of bias against him.

After he left Peralta Community College District in Oakland, California (to become president of a community colllege in Virginia) the Berkeley Daily Planet reported that a construction project that Taylor had overseen required numerous change orders that were the result of his mismanagement.

Peralta General Services Director Sadiq Ikharo told the Peralta Board of Trustees that a little over half a million dollars had been spent for “change orders” on the $65 million Vista project. Vista College President Judy Walters told the trustees that she would present them with a package of new requested “change orders” and blamed the need for those changes on former Peralta chief operating officer Charles A. Taylor, who she said “cut off communications between Vista [the college] and Ratcliff [construction project designers Ratcliff Architects] in November of 2003. We knew back then that these changes were needed but for whatever reason, Charles Taylor told Vista representatives they couldn’t talk to the architects.”

There has never been evidence of deliberate fraud, but a pattern of fiscal problems is alarming.


Want to find out more? Further reading:
  • Audit finds CCS erred by ‘loaning’ state credit, by Virginia de Leon, Spokesman Review, June 22, 2001
  • Settlements Drain CCS, Taxpayers, The Spokane Spokesman-Review, September 30, 2001
  • CCS Finds Reserves Depleted, The Spokesman-Review, November 8, 2001
  • Who’s to blame by Pia K Hansen, The Pacific Northwest Inlander, November 8, 2001
  • Report of Whistleblower Investigation, CCS, #01-133, May 22, 2001
  • CCS leaders’ spending outpaces WSU, EWU by Virginia de Leon, Spokesman Review, February 1, 2002
  • New Vista College Campus on Track for 2006, Berkley Daily Planet, April 26, 2005

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Va Employee Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline

The Virginia Employee Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline



The State Employee Hotline is a toll free telephone number available Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Calls to this number are anonymous and non-traceable.

Types of Fraud To Report

* Illegal or Fraudulent Conduct
* Waste of Funds
* Abuse of State Property or Resources
* Gross Mismanagement
* Gross Neglect of Duty

Who Can Call The State Employee Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline?

Significant instances of fraud, waste, and abuse may be reported to the Hotline by any classified, at-will, contract, part-time, or full-time state employee.

What Happens When You Call The Hotline?

You should have the following information available when you call:

* Circumstances of the incident.
* The agency and the subject(s) involved.
* Identify any evidence that is available.
* Identify any available documentation and location.
* Dates, times, names, places.
* Credible witnesses.
* In essence, the who, what, when, where, why, how, and how often factual information

How Are Callers Protected?

You will never be asked to provide your name when you call the Hotline, nor is your call traceable. There should never be an attempt on anyone's part to try to identify the caller. Or, if someone is suspected of calling the Hotline or if the caller is found out, there can be no retaliation or retribution. If there is, it is a violation of policy and the Executive Order and we take it seriously in order to protect the integrity and credibility of the Hotline. Retaliation against anyone for calling the Hotline is also reportable through the grievance process.

What Should Be Reported And What Should Not Be Reported?

The State Employee Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline is designed to report significant instances of fraud, waste, and abuse that may occur in Executive Branch Agencies. The Hotline is reserved for reporting:

* Illegal or Fraudulent Conduct
* Waste of Funds
* Abuse of State Property or Resources
* Gross Mismanagement
* Gross Neglect of Duty

What Is Considered To Be Fraud, Waste, Or Abuse?

The intentional deception perpetrated by an individual or individuals, or an organization or organizations, either internal or external to state government, which could result in a tangible or intangible benefit to themselves, others, or the Commonwealth or could cause detriment to others or the Commonwealth. Fraud includes a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading statements, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is intended to deceive.

The intentional or unintentional, thoughtless or careless expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, use, or squandering of Commonwealth resources to the detriment or potential detriment of the Commonwealth. Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs as a result of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls.

Excessive or improper use of a thing, or to employ something in a manner contrary to the natural or legal rules for its use. Intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, maltreatment, or misuse of Commonwealth resources. Extravagant or excessive use as to abuse one’s position or authority. Abuse can occur in financial or non-financial settings.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Expensive Executive: Big Law Suits

Big Law suits

According to published reports, Charles Taylor's treatment of employees have resulted in lawsuits that have proved costly.

For example as chancellor in Spokane he demoted a former president (Diana van der Ploeg) after a public disagreement and she filed suit which was settled out of court in the amount of $180,000 in favor of the plaintiff, from public funds, not from his own pocket. A third of that settlement had to be paid by the college, the rest was paid by the state.

All told, the Community Colleges of Spokane reportedly paid out nearly half a million dollars to settle suits. CCS spent nearly $192,620 from its budget to address complaints from former and current employees, including two administrators. Another $255,000 was taken from the state’s tort claim fund.

Except for Tad Conrad, CCS Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, who was with CCS for 28 years, the rest of CCS’ top administrators were recent hires. Ron LaFayette and Jennifer Roseman, both over age 40, filed age discrimination claims against Charles Taylor and CCS. Roseman received a contract buyout and a settlement of $97,000. LaFayette, who is now President of North Seattle Community College, received $60,000 for dropping his age discrimination claim.

Another five who filed complaints or lawsuits against CCS but later settled are: Laverne Foxley (unlawful retaliation claim, $130,000); John Larue (age discrimination claims, $11,500); Colletta Young (age discrimination claims, $4,120); William Rambo (alleged violation of civil rights, $125,000); and Jill Swanson, part-time faculty, discrimination claims, $20,000).


Sources for this article include CCS correspondents (what goes around comes around--aint email great!) and published news articals (take a look at The Spokesman-Review on September 30, 2001, Settlements Drain CCS, Taxpayers and Community College Week on March 18, 2002, Wash. College, former president settle suit) .

Monday, April 23, 2007

College President Announces Deficit, Nearly One Million Dollars

At a hastily convened emergency meeting of the employees of the college the college president announced that his administration had discovered that they face a budget shortfall in the current fiscal year of $800,000, according to employees who attended the meeting on Friday, April 20, 2007.

College employees say that they were surprised by this news because the college's administration had been providing them with optimistic evaluations of the college's finances which had been under a cloud for the past year after several state and federal audits.

Remedies will include reductions in servces to students by cutting back hours of operation and employment of part time staff, restrictions on official travel, and delaying purchases until the new fiscal year in July.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Why "Flagstiffed"?

"flag" a standard, a signal, an emblem, a marking device attached to an object to attract attention
"stiffed" to cheat someone, to fail to give something that's promised

This blog has been created to allow folks to discuss important issues in higher education. No names please to protect you and the good work you do.