Perception posing a problem to university, employees

Many people believe perception is reality. If that is the case, then Chancellor Phil DiStefano and the CU administration didn’t do itself or CU employees any good by not being transparent in regards to administrative rehires or pay raises. Several of the retired administrators who were rehired are good friends of mine and I believe rehiring them was a good thing to do by the CU administration. I’m not upset that these quality individuals were rehired, but how they were rehired needs to be transparent to the general public.

The problems lately with Chancellor DiStefano are his lack of communication with CU employees and the media. He should have been clear to the media that by rehiring these administrators, the university is saving money. What the media should have asked Phil are the following questions: Are you currently training new administrative staff to fill these positions when they do retire? The media should have asked, were these positions opened up to the general public when these administrators actually retired?  And finally, the media should have asked if there is a criteria or policy set up as to whom can retire and be rehired for a particular position? The state currently allows 10 positions where retired employees can be rehired – who determines who gets rehired and for what positions? Right now, the “perception” is Chancellor DiStefano is rehiring highly paid administrators (his good old boys). These good old boys are now double dipping and making a ton of money working only seven months at the expense of the taxpayers. I am aware not all of this is true but that is the “perception” the general public is receiving from our top administrative leaders.

Chancellor DiStefano started the media ball rolling when he gave raises out to some of the top administrators and stated these funds did not come from raising student fees. OK, then where did they come from? Once again, I have no problem with the raises but just tell the public where the (over 150K) raises came from?

My final concern is that these issues have once again exposed those of us who pay into PERA. We recently made some great strides in the Colorado Legislature in regards to retaining PERA benefits. Unfortunately, many people in the general public “perceive” our PERA retirement as a form of overcompensation for years of average service. Now, those of us who are close to retirement and have worked honorably for the university have to live with the current “perception” that our administrative leaders are double dipping, nontransparent, use the state system to your advantage, top-heavy administrators! For the future, all I can say is good luck on raising student fees, asking for additional money to compensate CU employees and keeping PERA stable. The “perception” on these issues does not bode well for the university or its employees.

Kristopher J. Schoech
Recreational Services