|The omnishambolic Glenn Roquemore, permanent IVC President|
Maybe it had one interesting part. At one point, a senate officer discussed college fiscal matters. He reviewed various grim factoids.
When he finished, I asked him a series of questions—about a topic that has dominated senate discussion for nearly a year, namely, the great "fiscal panic" of 2012-13. In asking my questions, and in the brief subsequent discussion, I essentially argued a thesis, namely,
IVC President Glenn Roquemore oversees an omnishambles.That was indeed my thesis, though I didn’t use that particular term. Found it this morning.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “an omnishambles is a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.”
Yeah. That's the right word all right.
How can this situation have come as a surprise?, we all wondered. Don’t you people plan for the possible future? Don't you ask yourselves if we're prepared for stuff that might happen? What, you didn't know that expenses were creeping up but revenue was flat?
Next: it soon became clear that, despite an agreement Roquemore made with the Academic Senate that the college would hire 10 faculty that year (IVC decided to spread out hires over three years; meanwhile, Saddleback hired en masse), he gave every indication of preparing to unilaterally cancel all hires as a money-saving measure. (That's Omnishambolic moment #2, in case you're keeping count.)
Naturally, faculty were angry. After all, there’s more going on at the college than hires; and, in any case, hiring faculty—just to replace those we've lost!—should be a priority! No?
Plus what about the agreement?
When senate leadership caught wind of Roquemore’s disposition to ixnay the ireshay, they immediately hit the alarm button; they did everything they could think of to derail the Heedless (and seemingly Headless) Rocky Express.
THE BUDGET SOLUTIONS RECOMMENDATIONS GROUP. That resulted in creation of yet another committee: the Budget Solution Recommendations Group, or BSR. Meanwhile, the college would tentatively pursue a handful of hires.
And so it was that BSR commenced meeting to try to determine the facts, budgetwise, and to identify possible solutions beyond simply pulling the plug on faculty hires. Near as I could tell, they were a good group and they did good work.
GLENN'S SINGULAR PROCESS F*CKUP. Meanwhile, various due dates relative to possible faculty hires came and went, and Roquemore failed to take the usual steps at the district (for advertising with HR, etc.). When Glenn's intentional (or doofusular?) foot-dragging was discovered (over the holiday break [December '12], as I recall), Glenn was compelled to rush the paperwork through, though deadlines had already been long passed. (That's omnishambolic moment #3, I suppose. I'll stop counting.)
In the end, there were a handful of searches and interviews. At least one of those (physics) seems to have hit a snag: no hire. So, in the end, Glenn pretty much got what he wanted.
Meanwhile, BSR continued its work.
QUESTIONS STILL NOT ANSWERED. At the senate (during Fall '12, Spring '13), we would receive reports about BSR’s progress. Our senate reps on BSR (and other BSR members) would raise simple questions about college funding and expenses, but Roquemore and his budget guy were often unable to answer them. “We’ll get back to you,” they would say. The clock ticked. BSR waited.
Yesterday, I pressed the matter. Did they ever answer your questions? Senate officers then asserted that “we still don’t know where all the money was.”
That's just great.
At yesterday's senate meeting, I suggested that "incompetence" is the right word to describe Glenn and Co's conduct. There was some cringing and gnashing of teeth. It was as though Glenn were our Titular Tot to love and hug and protect—even from richly deserved criticism.
Still, I'm sure no one in the room supposed that Glenn was anything but the total f*ckup that he is.
WHAT'S BECOME OF BSR'S RECS? I pushed on. I asked if BSR finally issued recommendations, whether those recs have been published, and whether administration has accepted and implemented any of them.
Yes, BSR made its recommendations. Long ago. Ah, but, beyond that, there are no clear answers to my questions.
How can that be? But it BE all right.
But it gets worse. Senate leaders acknowledged that at least one BSR recommendation seems to have been embraced, namely, the maintaining of a reserve. At present, our reserve is $1 million. Good!
ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK. Ah, but again, there was a problem. Very recently, our reps worked on various "scenarios" with Rocky’s fiscal guy, and it soon became clear that, on many of these, the reserve would soon dwindle and disappear to nothing. Wasn't that a problem? – A big one?
Only faculty on the committee noticed this. Not administration. Not Glenn's Budget Boy.
“Oh.” Hadn’t thought about that, I guess.
It seemed to some, I guess, that I was laying too much blame on our fiscal officer. After all, he's doing the best he can!
But that wasn’t my intention. I said essentially that, in my view, it is the President’s responsibility to have contingency plans for possible (and especially probable!) scenarios. The President is supposed to make sure the planning gets done! Right? –Right?
(Trustees, are you listening? But of course you're not.)
AWKWARD. It was an awkward moment at the senate in silly old BSTIC 101 on a hot Thursday afternoon in silly old Bovine Freakin' Valley College, home of the Pinheaded Permanent President, a geologist named Rockmore, who, long ago, sold his soul to BeelzeGoo to become an administrator.
VPI Craig Justice was in the back of the room, listening to all of this. He didn’t have much to say.
* * *IT WAS FOURTEEN YEARS AGO TODAY. Well, as it turns out, I found an old post from our newsletter, The ‘Vine, reporting an event on this exact date 14 years ago. It’s a transcript of a meeting about a budget omnishambles overseen at the time by IVC President Raghu Mathur, the man (at Mathur’s urging) Glenn Roquemore replaced a dozen years ago.
Reading this, one thinks: golly, things don't change much at IVC, do they?
No, they don't.
Isn't it time for a change?
Check it out:
Vigorous Finger Pointage: Mathurian shenanigans at the 8/30/99 Board Meeting
Participants in that fascinating long-ago discussion: VC Gary Poertner [then serving under Chancellor Cedric Sampson], IVC Ac. Senate Pres. Peter Morrison, budget person Beth Mueller, trustee Dave Lang, trustee Don Wagner, and trustee Dorothy (“Dot”) Fortune.
• Budget crises looming for Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges - October 5, 2012
• Last week's college forums mentioned looming fiscal issues—but apparently soft-pedaled them - October 6, 2012
• Agnostic - October 11, 2012
• The Great Fiscal Squawk of 2012: now sans ambivalence - November 2, 2012
• College-Wide Forum at Saddleback College (featuring the Chancellor and three trustees): any questions? - November 7, 2012