WIFOL seeking meeting with gov’t mediator on USM

To conclude WIFOL’s response to the Board of Directors (BOD) of the University of St. Martin’s (USM) "progress" propaganda, WIFOL is noting that nothing has changed at USM, the BOD continues to refuse the union’s request for a meeting to resolve the Management Team issue, whereby the Management Team can continue to perform its regular duties, therefore, WIFOL has requested intervention of the central government mediator, Kenneth Lopes.

WIFOL is again countering the position of the BOD in the April 17, 2009 advertisement in the Daily Herald, and notes that, charily, the first part of this response was not reported by a number of media houses.


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Firstly, we condemn the Board of Director’s (BOD) attempts to denounce the Management Team, which has existed for over 10 years, and which is comprised of young, competent, local professionals. While the BOD claims it is dedicated to the principles of transparency and responsibility to the community, it misleads the community and empowers expatriates to harass, disrespect, and threaten the local staff daily.

Implementing Strategic Planning for USM: The latest so-called strategic action plan by the BOD has revealed nothing new, except to piggy back on the proposals presented by staff and others in the community in relation to the Social Economic Initiative (SEI) and the acculturation program for foreign workers. While the BOD picked up and ran with these proposals, the BOD is conducting discussions with "external consultants" without the involvement of the relevant staff and departments.

Redesigning the financial operations at USM: There is no transparency at USM! Only certain people, who all belong to the new clique, have access to information about USM’s operation, and these people are deliberately withholding information from the Management Team and other staff members. How ethical is it for payroll and other functions to be outsourced to a company affiliated with a board member? When this is done, what then becomes the function of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who is supposed to assume these functions for such a hefty salary?

Creation of an Endowment Foundation: The endowment fund has been in place for a number of years, and the BOD should now disclose exactly who is being paid from this fund and what the current status of the fund is.

Reviewing Human Resource Management: The BOD should disclose who the Human Resource consultant is, whether she has any connection to any board members, and where private employee data will be stored. From all indications, this selection points to a conflict of interest, and the confidentiality of staff information could be compromised.

"US" in USM? The BOD keeps mentioning the "US" in USM, yet the staff keep questioning who the "US" refers to because they feel left out at this time. This is why members of staff are questioning the relevance of the name University of St. Martin because they feel the institution should now be called "University for St. Martin."

Who Owns USM? The totalitarian actions of the BOD suggest that the BOD does not have to share information with the staff. If this is the case, one has to question who USM truly belongs to, if not the people of St. Martin?

Why All the Secrecy at USM? If the BOD has nothing to hide, why then is the BOD not sharing information with all the staff? Why is the BOD not involving the staff in helping to chart the direction of USM, for which the BOD clearly has no vision?

Now that the BOD has put in place a parallel management structure, consisting of Dean of Academic Affairs Ron Pribble, Financial Controller Kenneth Nolan, Jr., Librarian Mark Paul, and Accreditation Officer Joyce Watson, it is imperative for the BOD to clarify the status of the existing Management Team.

WIFOL maintains its position that the Management Team of competent and qualified locals should be put back to work as the Management Team. In this regard, the BOD needs to clarify whether the Management Team has been demoted and whether the duties and responsibilities of Management Team members have been reassigned to the so-called Leadership Team or the parallel management team.

WIFOL further maintains that USM and St. Martin’s future lie in the nation’s young people, and that they should be given the opportunity to exhibit themselves as role models.