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Harm to Workers When Corporate Ethics Ignored

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: February 13, 2006
Latest Update: February 13, 2006

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Why A Top Executive Is Responsible for
What Happens in the Corporation on His Watch

Jeanne posted this message (No. 9920) on transform_dom this morning:

By the way, I tried to post and couldn't last week that Barry Munitz, the former Chancellor of the California State University system, resigned as president of the Getty Trust. YES!!!!! This was the man who headed this system when so much that harmed this school in terms of discouraging and disrespecting faculty, students, and the needs of our students was done.

He resigned "without admitting any wrongdoing," but in a settlement to repay I think it was $250,000 to the Getty Trust, and with NO SEVERANCE PACKAGE of something like 1.2 million that was in his contract. The President of the Board, or Chair of the Board, or whatever said that he was sure Munitz would have liked the severance if they'd offered, but they didn't.

Maybe that's not perfect retribution, but we seek love and peace, and I'll leave retribution to God. (Guess that means I believe in God, but I almost never think in such terms) Anyhow, the Munitz resignation means that sometimes our leaders do stand up and demand an end to the injustices. May we all take succor from that and recognize the importance of continuing to raise our collective voices in support of fairness and justice.

Munitz hurt, through his lieutenants, so many caring and committed teachers I can't even begin to count them, and didn't know of all of them. His shenanigans or those of his lieutenants (I didn't know him, only his lieutenants) [so demoralized me] that I fully understand the descriptions I read of the despair and frustration of the Getty staff. May peace and love and caring and focussing on real education return for all of us."

love and peace, jeanne

Not much time right now. Software issues to work out. But since some of you didn't know Barry Munitz as Chancellor of the California State University System, I need to give you enough background that you can understand my transform_dom discussion message on his resignation, now as President of the Getty Trust. I may have his title wrong. Check it at Harm to Workers When Corporate Ethics Ignored, a backup of the Los Angeles Times article that I mentioned in the post that was lost last week.

When accountability for budget use is ignored in a bureaucracy, even a very well-off bureaucracy (like the Getty Trust), those who are privileged by their membership in the elite administrative group, or their loyalty (and recompense) to those who are in that group, take liberties in providing themselves with what we call "perks." That is, they get more travel, better travel airline seats, better hotels, better expense accounts. They are permitted to fund their "pet projects." The are given access to funds for food and entertainment and showcasing that other members of the staff do not get.

I guess the best way to say it would be right now, it's like having an Abramoff on their side. Lots of us; well, maybe I should say, some of us, won't fudge on our ethics for such small recompense. I don't think I would for even much greater recompense, but since no one ever offered me a whopping Abramoff "advantage," my claim must go untested. When there are cliques, as there are now in so many levels of our government, morale amongst the staff degenerates. You aren't rewarded by the effort you make and reasonable successes; you are awarded for providing what the ruling clique wants.

Details help, so let me give you a personal example. One of our ex-presidents at the college told a visiting vice president that there were lots of other programs (besides one that we had that had been highly successful) that were less "labor intensive." In other words, one of his values (and he was under Munitz) was that a program be non-labor-intensive. It was my program. The message I got was that I needed to produce successful programs that were "quick and dirty," and by "dirty" I mean that they should take advantage of the most skillled students, so that we wouldn't have to work so hard to get those who were less advantaged up to a level where their performance would be equally impressive. I found that demoralizing. Same president called me "whacko," in a fairly open administrative meeting, so, of course, I heard about it.

More details: I couldn't get a computer which I needed to teach with, even though I had been awarded one on a grant application. Some of Munitz' favorite administrators got elaborate technological equipment which they took with them when they were forced to resign. I felt demoralized.

Faculty complained. The president lost his cool and yelled at them according to one of our leading faculty, causing the faculty member to try to pass a Senate Resolution that administrators should respect faculty by not shouting at them.

I tend to raise my voice, so I guess I shout more than I should, but the idea of respecting each other seems like a good one to me. As I seem to recall, that resolution never did get passed. Others complained, too, though I might have been the only one who absolutely screamed at the same president when he floundered at taking effective action when I was assaulted by an upset faculty member. The upset one was a friend of one of the clique, and I opposed the clique. So I yelled. Bad manners, yes. But near the end of my tolerance, yes.

Such things happen when people are pursuing their own self-interest because the chief administrator is following his own agenda and paying less attention to the broader mission of the institution. These are the kinds of things I imagine happened that led to: "Vocal Munitz critic Barbara Whitney said, 'I cannot begin to imagine how happy and relieved the thousand people who work there are." In August 2004 she left her post as the Getty's associate director for administration and public affairs.' . . . 'There has been a lot of damage done, and I have a lot of confidence in people who work in that organization and hope that they'll not be so worn down," she said."

That's how I felt when I read about his resignation: "happy and relieved." Finally, someone had enough power and authority to put an end to the injustice, whatever it was this time. I guess I don't believe in coincidences so much to believe that it's just a coincidence that it happend at the Getty, too. These things are hard to document, because none of us want to wash such dirty linen in public, so we speak in generalities, and suffer recriminations. And once it erupts into major disagreements in which people demand audits, everything gets muddy. It's hard to tell what's really going on. I'd like to see Jim's old resolution passed in the spirit in which he meant it, kind of like we mean it on transform_dom. Let's just respect each other and try to solve the real problems our communities face - that's more than enough to keep us all fully occupied.



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