USM CFO Threatens Management Team Member,Unacceptable to WIFOL

Fears are rife at the University of St. Martin that the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Kenneth Nolan, whose tenure has been riddled in controversy under the Lockie Johnson-led board, will be de-facto president in the absence of the USM president, Josianne Fleming-Artsen. 

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Nolan is a retired American national who was brought in to fill the Financial Controller position and a work permit requested for him as such, after the board forced Richard Courtney, a local, out of the position. Subsequently, to the surprise of the staff, the board announced Nolan as the CFO, a post that was created for him. In this capacity, Nolan executed tasks and functions without the proper work permits ever being issued, and it is still questionable whether he holds a valid work permit for the CFO post.

On Monday, Fleming-Arsten sent the staff a memo indicating that, in keeping with past practices, the dean would be acting- president in the absence of the president. (Currently Joyce Watson, whose appointment is also riddled in controversy, holds the dean position.) Since the memo had no particular context or instructions, as the president was not expected to be absent for another three weeks, it caused speculation among the staff that the board might have requested Fleming-Artsen’s resignation after a recent article in the media. This is the second time that Fleming-Artsen has disappeared during a crisis at USM without appropriately informing the staff.

Over the year that Nolan has been at USM, he has been threatening staff and actively trying to get rid of the Management Team. WIFOL strongly objects to these kinds of intimidation and threats of our members.

Staff’s perception of Nolan as the de-facto president is based on his treatment of Management Team members as subordinates, referring to himself as "senior management," while all MT members are supposed to be equals, with the exception of the president. Furthermore, Nolan does not share written reports with staff or the rest of the Management Team, he attends meetings when he feels like without consequence, and he responds directly to correspondence addressed to the president.

The staff likens Nolan’s behavior to that of plantation owners during slavery. The latest example of this came on Thursday, in an email in which he, again, threatened a local professional after the staff member, who is also a member of the Management Team, raised questions about procedures in communication at USM. In response to the email addressed to the acting president, Nolan dictates to the Management Team member that "Your job is to do what you are told to do and stop questioning everything. Your behavior is approaching insubordination. Keep it up and you will be out the door!"

In the past weeks, the working environment at USM has become tenser, and instead of the board intervening, it seems that the board is part and parcel of the strife, as decisions continue to be made by the dean and the CFO, excluding key staff members, including the president.

In WIFOL’s opinion, the current board lacks the vision to align USM with the new constitutional status St. Martin is vying for, where St. Martiners will be taking on more responsibilities for their own affairs. Therefore, WIFOL is again calling for the resignation of the Lockie Johnson board and the appointment of qualified, visionary people, who are capable of guiding USM in the benefit of the St. Martin community, and we call on the CFO to immediately cease threatening and intimidating workers, otherwise, WIFOL will be forced to take the appropriate industrial action to stop this kind of written and verbal abuse.