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?


Anonymous said...

I commend you for your analysis that demonstrates the TNCC organization chart has more Vice Presidents than a bank. The only point I would add is that their personnel strategy regarding instructors is to hire more adjuncts to save on salary and fringe benefits. They want champagne but only at the price of cheap beer.

Anonymous said...

Recommend you forward this entire file to the Newport News Daily Press, WAVY-TV
and WVEC-TV.

Anonymous said...

I read this and then noticed in Saturday's Daily Press .....TNCC welcomes two more Administrators!!WOW...more brass than the White House!

Anonymous said...

Whenever I see a press release from TNCC about Ponzi, it gives me a warm my throat. It's time for Flagstiffed to put newspapers and TV stations on distribution.

Flagstiffed said...

Several Flagstiffed readers have asked Flagstiffed to contact the media about these articles. From other readers Flagstiffed has learned that at least one reporter has been contacted and given the URL for Flagstiffed.

In Flagstiffed's media experience the best reporters (the few and the proud) are overwhelmed, under budgeted, and driven by editors circulation agenda, and the worst reporters (the majority) are lazy and not the best and brightest.

Flagstiffed's readers are going to have to make the difference in bringing these problems to the attention of the appropriate people. Flagstiffed can only report what we have researched or what readers have sent us.

All postings are anonymous and untraceable. Emails sent to Flagstiffed kept in strict confidentiality.

Anonymous said...

I don't care if he boldly goes where no man has gone before as long as goes . . . boldly or not.

Anonymous said...

Well known at the Daily Press is the fact that the reporter assigned to the "College" cannot come on campus unless accompanied by the Special Assistant to the President, no college employee is allowed to talk to the media without prior approval by the President's office, and the reporter's hands are tied unless someone is willing to "go on record" which no one is willing to do for fear of retribution. Don't blame the Daily Press for what the czar has done to repress the truth.

Anonymous said...

The State legislators approved 4% salary increases for cc faculty and staff. A select number of college admins were extended another 1% at the President's choice. How many part time employees who were laid off in May and June would welcome 5% rather than 4%? 5% of nothing is still......

Anonymous said...

No one will go on record. What happended to anonymous sources? Support staff always feel vulnerable and the support staff association doesnt really advocate for them. Midlevel managers are all hunkered down just trying to survive the Reign of Error. (this too shall pass!!!) The faculty have the greatest security of all the employees (name one who has lost their job) but they lack guts. They love to complain but won't do anything to make things better.