Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alvine Schexnider, Skeletons in the Closet

TNCC folks have contacted Flagstiffed about their temporary president Alvin Schexnider who apparently thinks that payback is his mission in trying to bring the TNCC faculty into line. Word on the streets is that he's as bad or worse than Charles A. Taylor. When your only temporary you feel free to do all kinds of harm.

TNCC needs to know that Schexnider has his own skeletons. He's been bouncing around various jobs. Maybe you should find out why and find out what people think of him there.

When he was chancellor in NC he got caught using state funds for personal use. His administration was audited twice. The second audit found that his administration misplaced about half a million dollars. (What is it with these guys and half a million dollars? Look at Flagstiffed's reports on Taylor.) Flagstiffed has reported in detail on Charles A. Taylor's big spending habits. Here's the first auditors' letter about Schexnider (sent to Flagstiffed bya friend at TNCC):


July 16, 1999

Dr. Alvin J. Schexnider, Chancellor
Winston-Salem State
601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Dear Chancellor Schexnider:

The Office of the State Auditor received complaints through the State Auditor's Hotline alleging misuse of funds and violations of purchasing procedures at Winston-Salem State University WSSU). We conducted a Special Review of these allegations in accordance with G.S.§147-64.

In conducting this review, we examined WSSU and WSSU Foundation records and conducted interviews with individuals internal and external to WSSU. Our Special Review resulted in the following findings and recommendations to WSSU Management and the University of North Carolina General Administration (UNC-General Administration).

1. Disbursement from Discretionary Funds
In fiscal year 1997-98, WSSU's Internal Auditor conducted a review of expenditures incurred by the Chancellor from January 1996 through May 1998. We reviewed the Internal Auditor's workpapers as well as the expenditures incurred by the Chancellor from July 1998 through April 1999. Our review revealed that the Chancellor used discretionary funds to pay for some items that could be viewed as more personal than university related. Such items included travel expenses for his children, flowers for his wife, and membership in a fitness center. Although there are no general written guidelines for spending discretionary funds, these funds should be spent on items related to the University. To ensure protection for all parties concerned and an understanding on the part of the general public, UNC-General Administration should consider defining the utilization of discretionary funds.

2. Expenditures for Transporting Children to School
The Chancellor used State funds to pay mileage to a house worker from January 1998 through March 1998 to take his children to school. The total reimbursement for mileage was $416.62. On May 20, 1998 the Chancellor reimbursed the University this amount. According to the Chancellor, he reimbursed the University after being told that the expenditures were inappropriate. He did not reimburse the University, however, for the house worker's time spent to transport his children. Based on estimates received from the Chancellor of the time it would take to perform this task, the Chancellor should reimburse WSSU an additional $495. The Chancellor said he thought he had already reimbursed the University for the house worker's time.

3. Outside Contractors Clean the Chancellor's Residence and Maintain His Yard
The Chancellor's residence, located 8.5 miles from campus, is owned by the University. According to the Chancellor, the former Vice-Chancellor for Finance and Administration recommended outsourcing the housekeeping duties which had been done in the past by a university housekeeping employee. Outsourcing the housekeeping duties at the residence cost WSSU $92.50 per week for three hours of work. WSSU incurs a similar cost by using an outside contractor for landscaping tasks. The Associate Vice-Chancellor for Facilities recommended outsourcing the landscaping duties. Currently, the contractor mows the lawn once a week, performs minor landscaping duties and cleans away ice and snow for an agreed upon contract of $7,385 per year. WSSU should conduct a cost benefit analysis to determine the feasibility of continuing these contracts versus using university staff.

4. Some Items Purchased for the Chancellor's Residence Are Not On the University's Inventory System
A large screen television, a pool table, and a fax machine were purchased for the Chancellor's residence but do not show-up on the University's Fixed Asset Inventory. WSSU's inventory policy states that all purchases in excess of $500 must be recorded for inventory control purposes.

5. Invoices Are Not Always Paid on Time
We examined one hundred checks paid in September 1998 and one hundred checks paid in February 1999 to determine if they were paid by the due dates. In September 1998, WSSU wrote twenty-two checks out of the one hundred examined after the due date on the invoice. In February 1999, the number of late payments increased to thirty out of the one hundred examined. According to WSSU's Accounts Payable Supervisor, she and her staff were employed within the last year. The constant turnover of the staff in the finance area has resulted in the need to constantly train new employees. The Accounts Payable Supervisor said she is writing new procedures for her section, effective July 1, 1999, that should eliminate late payments, as well as any duplicate payments. We are presenting these findings and recommendations for your review and written response. The purpose of the response is to allow you the opportunity to outline any corrective actions taken or planned. We request that your written response be delivered to us by July 30, 1999.

While we have addressed the issues at WSSU in this management letter, it seems prudent for General Administration to review the need for developing policies and guidelines for the spending of discretionary funds. Adherence to such guidelines would ensure consistency and benefit all the chancellors within the system.

We wish to thank you and your staff for the cooperation extended to us during this review. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact this office at 919/733-3217.

Ralph Campbell, Jr., CFE
cc: Dr. Molly C. Broad, President
UNC General


Anonymous said...

I attended the college-wide meeting held last Tuesday, and can only think of one word to describe the events of that meeting: tragedy. The "President" managed to drive the faculty and staff farther apart by touting his position as saviour of the college and jobs for all, while lambasting the faculty for their concern over being the ONLY constituents of the college who are getting a pay cut ("that train has left the station"). Nurnberger announced that none of the budget cuts planned last fall would be implemented due to the stimulus funding EXCEPT ONE: the faculty will still be getting a cut in summer pay. Faculty have repeatedly asked for an explanation. Administrators and staff will not get a pay cut. Shex response: "You should be happy you have a job". (Imagine the staff applauding and vocalizing here.)

These meetings Shex is having serve no other purpose than to fulfill his agenda of "appearing" to work with the faculty, when in reality he is perpetuating the rift between faculty and staff. Shex announced at the faculty meeting that he is a "trained mediator", but his approach to fixing the issues on our campus did not include any mediation skills. With faculty, he has yet to seek the common ground or to meet in the middle, instead, choosing his biggest hammer and beating the faculty down en masse before the entire college community Tuesday. Can you hear the staff applauding? Good job Schex. The staff hate us more than ever.

STAFF!! The faculty are NOT your enemies, in fact, the faculty have stood up for your rights, successfully, more often than you know. They have asked for new staff members in areas that are understaffed. They have asked for help when you are overwhelmed, and in cases when help was not forthcoming they have pitched in to help you themselves (for no additional pay!). And remember the summer P-14s were laid off? It was the FACULTY'S idea to start a support fund for those staff members. And who contributed to that fund? FACULTY!!! Don't let this President manipulate you!!! Talk to us, we are here for you, we would hope you are here for us, and all of us are here for the students.

So Shex, when you are looking for faculty support for your special projects----and you WILL need faculty support---- you may not find anyone willing to work with you. Because there is no working WITH you there is only working FOR you.

Collegial governance? Languishing at TNCC thanks to you, Shex. You consistently are publicly rude to our FS president; you refuse to recognize the Faculty Senate as the voice of the faculty. Individidual faculty who do have the courage to ask questions are rebuffed without a straight answer, that is, when you deign to answer. Since you are a "because I said so" leader, you changed your strategy to "divide and conquer", ignore us as a group and instead speak TO faculty individually at brown bag lunches where you invite us to speak openly but you KNOW we will not for fear of retaliation. We all see too well that hammer poised...but the appearance is that you are working with us, so your goal is satisifed. As for faculty, you could save the college the $ you are spending in paper invitations and bag lunches; we will attend (we are afraid not to), and be polite and professional, but nothing substantive will come of these brown bag lunches.

Good job, Dubois. You've chosen an individual who was to clean up the mess at our college and the mess is worse than ever! Where do you get these people? Or do you just detest us that much?

When people feel respected and valued for what they do, they will work very hard to maintain that respect. Faculty do not feel valued and defnitely don't feel respected. That will affect students and in the long run, the college.

What a tragedy.....

Anonymous said...

Why should we expect Shex to behave differently from King Charles? The Divine Right of monarchs precludes accountability to mere mortals!

Anonymous said...

Shex is no more than one more punishment from the mighty King Chancellor. As long as he is in power, TNCC will be in the shape it has been in for several years which is not a good place to work. Someone should start a blog on the Chancellor. I'll bet TNCC is not the only institution to receive his vengence.

Anonymous said...

If TNCC has no recourse with the Chancellor's Office, perhaps evidence of the Chancellor's failed leadership should be sent straight to the Governor's Office. If the lack of confidence in the Chancellor reaches that level, I am sure the public can demand action from the honorable Chief of the Commonwealth! I am at a loss as to what "crime" TNCC has committed to be punished with the blithering idiocy of Taylor and Schexnider. Both are fiscal incompetents. Both are suffer from severe narcissism. Both have never spent enough time in classrooms to really know what faculty actually do; yet, they are the first in line to berate the faculty about how poorly they do their jobs! Please! Please! Can there be an effort mounted in Richmond to save our school? SOS!!!

Anonymous said...

Our prayers are only that Taylor does not come back and that this interim disaster (er, Schexnider)does not remain on campus after September. If, in fact, Schexnider remains and is named the president of the college, please remember those faculty, staff, and students in thought and prayer. TNCC will have ceased to exist at that point. There is just so much sane people can stand when it comes to harassment, prejudice, and outright lack of civility from the school's leadership (with a few exceptions).

Our local Daily Press online bears witness to the frustration from students with the situation at the school. Just read the comments attached to the online articles currently referencing TNCC. If we lose our students, there is no reason to keep the doors open. Taylor just opened more doors (i.e., the Southeast Center) without focusing on the very campus under his nose. Schexnider rarely makes an appearance out of his office around campus, so I really doubt if he knows what a gem he actually manages! It is so sad a situation, you can either laugh or cry. I am tired of doing both. I just want TNCC to return to a place where students, staff, and faculty are treated with respect and the campus is a safe environment in which to work and learn.

Anonymous said...

Here's the advice of one successful college president, Richard Meyers, to college presidents (and I guess it applies to chancellors):

First ask yourself why you decided to serve. Is it service or self-aggrandizement?

1. Honor your predecessor(s). Don’t take the oft taken path to blame everything on the past president(s) in hopes of seeming like a savior. Better to honor the successes of your predecessors and then build on those to raise the bar. In the spirit of community and inclusiveness invite past presidents, faculty and staff to major events and lower costs for them if they need it, to be able to attend.

2. Honor the faculty. Think about making the elected chair of the Faculty Senate a member of your administrative team or cabinet. This will bring down barriers.

3. Don’t love yourself. You are not omnipotent. You have not been anointed. You have not been crowned. What you have been given is the mantle of leadership best exemplified and successful by servitude to others through humility. Do you need an entourage to walk around the campus? Do you ever just walk into the student cafeteria and sit down to break bread with the students? Do you really need to be a member of multiple private clubs, and do you judiciously use these memberships? Do you refer to everything on campus emanating from you, or is it a result of the efforts of the team?

4. You must have a philosophy and passion to serve others while striving to make society more equitable. If you’re serving so you can have an expense account and/or to make a large salary, you need to get the hell out of the Academy. To amplify my thoughts, I’ve been appalled with the growing emphasis on money and its role in education from presidential salaries to institutional endowments. Why should university endowments be larger than the gross national products of many countries? The business functions of such universities emulate the business world, and the educational mission is not only diluted, but sometimes lost.

5. Speak out. Use your position as a “bully pulpit.” This was the traditional presidential role, but presidents became cowards (pragmatic?) when donors objected to some presidential topics. For every donor you may lose by speaking out, there is another donor you’ll gain by your leadership. Step forward and orate! Have you ever tackled the subject of conflicts of interest by board members? Taken a stand on the legal age of drinkers? Spoken out for or against a war? Taken a stand for diversity by your actions and not just by your words, and urged others to become a frontline fighter for social justice before it was fashionable to do so? Have you looked at the issues confronting your students in an ever-more conflicting and competitive world and taken a stand on these issues publicly? Can the faculty, staff and students say that you talk the talk and walk the walk? You are a leader. Take advantage of your position and act like one.

6. Diversify your interests. Don’t become a workaholic. Music, sports, hobbies, volunteering and passions far away from the usual presidential responsibilities will maintain the emotional demands of your position while letting you focus on the appropriate topic in a timely manner. I’m a performing jazz clarinetist (watch out Woody Allen) and a long range motorcyclist in two of my other worlds.

7. Give back to society. You’ve been fortunate. A lot of others haven’t. Humility in a leader is highly desirable and is developed by focusing on the needs of others; why not start or further develop your humility by volunteering to help the less fortunate. There are thousands of opportunities still waiting. I personally work in a nursing home, hospital or retirement home once a month. I feel I have been spiritually served while at the same time making life more livable for others. Giving to others is a wonderful reality check.

8. Exercise. Physical fitness on a daily basis will help you to maintain the physical needs of your position.

9. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Get out of your office!

10. Travel. Find out about higher education in other countries. Never stop being a student.

11. Keep your sense of humor. There’s always something, probably a lot of things, to laugh at in what you do.