MCG faculty morale was low in 2008

Administration was called unresponsive

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Well before an Augusta Chronicle analysis found a hefty increase in administration salaries, a survey of Medical College of Georgia faculty found significant dissatisfaction with the administration.

Since the analysis earlier this month, sharp questions have been raised about administrative pay, particularly in light of mandatory furloughs and budget woes.

School officials say they are working on improving communication.

A survey of faculty in 2008 by Morehead Associates Inc., obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act, found "significantly unfavorable" views of the administration, "leading to significantly low satisfaction scores," according to an executive summary of the survey.

Though faculty generally expressed positive views of department leaders, chairmen and chairwomen, there was a perceived lack of responsiveness from the administration, according to the report.

"Communication between faculty and senior leadership is significantly unfavorable," the report said.

A task force on improving communication was one of the things to come out of the report. Among the various recommendations already implemented are regular addresses by deans and senior leaders that are more interactive, a Web site on budget challenges begun in late 2008 that contains more information for faculty, and the regular presence of senior leaders at school faculty senate meetings where they can answer questions, said Dr. Pamela P. Cook, the assistant dean in the School of Nursing and vice chairwoman of the University Faculty Senate.

"Faculty wanted to be communicated with," she said. "They wanted to have the opportunity for two-way dialogue. They wanted to have the opportunity of involvement."

The faculty-satisfaction survey "was really one moving part in this institution's commitment to improving processes of this campus," said Deborah L. Barshafsky, the vice president for strategic support at MCG. "And I really think it is a great example of the spirit of collaboration that exists between MCG administration and MCG faculty to improve both the culture and the operations of the institution. We recognize that only together will we make things better, and we're actively working to do that."

Some of that same dissatisfaction surfaced again, however, after The Chronicle's analysis of administrative salaries over the past five years. From 2005 to the present, there was a 53 percent increase in overall administration salaries, with some administrators nearly doubling their pay in that time.

An informal collection of faculty responses gathered by Cook, also obtained through the Open Records Act, contained a number of sharp questions and rebukes, albeit unattributed:

- "The message has been that MCG is in a budget crunch, all have been asked to do more with less, many have assumed extra roles and responsibilities related to employees leaving and not being re-hired and/or the hiring freeze without any salary adjustments or changes in effort," the report reads. "But now we find out there have been adjustments in administrators' salaries and one reason noted in the paper was a change in work responsibilities. How do these two equate?"

- "This has decreased trust in administration and decreased the belief in any messages going forward. Any gains in communication or trust with administration has been lost."

It also contained a number of questions:

- "Why has our administration grown way out of proportion to our faculty and student population? We have far too many vice-deans and vice-presidents. Growth in research is not a legitimate reason when our number of faculty has not grown."

Cook said some might have falsely believed the raises were given in the past year when they were spread out over time.

Addressing the issue at a faculty senate meeting earlier this month, interim MCG President James N. Thompson said: "I'm here to offer neither an apology nor a justification" for the increase, adding, "We have no argument with the facts that were in The Chronicle's (analysis)."

However, there were some things he wanted to clarify. The current administration includes administrators added as part of medical school expansion, he said.

"That is intentional growth that was funded with a special allocation from the Board of Regents and the Legislature to fund that specific initiative," Thompson said.

There were also some vacancies that would have thrown off the earlier figures, though Thompson did not say how many or what impact they would have had. When he asked for questions, none were forthcoming.

The school is undertaking a comprehensive review that will likely be completed after the arrival of new MCG President Ricardo Azziz, Thompson said. Azziz has said he plans his own investigation of the newspaper's findings.

The issue of fairness does seem to be weighing on the minds of MCG faculty.

At School of Medicine Dean D. Douglas Miller's "State of the School" address, senior research scientist Rhea-Beth Markowitz complained that staff cuts have left faculty to do a lot of their own secretarial work while "witnessing new faculty being brought in with these massive recruitment packages in order to get them to come here. But the current faculty are getting less and less, and morale is very low."

In a 21/2-minute response, Miller said he had discussed those issues with the faculty senate's executive committee and was formulating "very specific plans" to address them.

"Our goal is to be advocates of the faculty that are here, that have been here and that are coming and make sure that everybody is feeling that we are engaged in meeting their needs," Miller said.

Though she praised Thompson's handling of the interim duties, Cook said some improvements might come after Azziz arrives.

"With Dr. Azziz, he offers us hope and a new way of thinking and some greater collaboration, greater communication, greater alignment and a new day," she said. "I don't think it totally relies on one person. This is going to have to be a team. He knows we've all been working very hard to build the foundation and the building blocks for him to help move us forward. That's our goal. It is going to take us two to four years to get where we really want to be, which is nationally recognized. And we are going to get there."

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DanK
784
Points
DanK 05/31/10 - 03:24 am
0
0
There is no excuse for the

There is no excuse for the significant raises given to top administrators during the past 3 years. New administrative positions and entire administrative units have been created out of thin air for no apparent purpose. Miller's responses to faculty are empty -- he's interviewing for positions elsewhere. Meanwhile, those in the academic ranks are bearing the brunt of the budget cuts. Vacant faculty positions have been eliminated. Library funding is among the lowest in the country, so many faculty and students have to look elsewhere for the books and articles they need. There is no money for equipment or facilities improvement. Computing services is unresponsive to faculty and pursues agendas of little relevance to actual needs. One must wonder why there would be any interest in increasing salaries to retain those top administrators, who have done such a poor job of setting priorities and guiding the institution. (I do not count the deans of nursing, dentistry and allied health sciences in that group, because they have struggled very hard to maintain their schools with declining budgets.) It's a disgrace and a shame to watch the ruination of this university, which should be one of the best in the South, but is crippled by anemic funding and good-old-boy administrators. Dr. Azziz arrives under great pressure. Faculty and students are looking to him to turn the institution around. So far, he has concentrated on communication only with those same administrators. He faces an immense challenge. Best of luck.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 05/31/10 - 03:42 am
0
0
If you want to have a surplus
Unpublished

If you want to have a surplus of funds, offer medical services for the cost
of whatever your insurance pays and waive the balance. This will get you
an increase in the volume of patients and also will cut out expensive collection agencies and payroll. Cirizens are strapped with high premiums
and still having to pay a lot out of pocket. Frankly, I can't afford to do both, so why have insurance? I have been in MCG several times and the
stay was excellent, but because I owe $500-$600. out of $45000. the
hospital has told me not to come back until this is paid. Make sense to me, without insurance you can get in and pay nothing, DUH!

disssman
6
Points
disssman 05/31/10 - 07:47 am
0
0
Dickworth, don't you just

Dickworth, don't you just feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that the people working on you are totally dissatisfied with their jobs? Recently I read a post by a nurse that indicated she hadn't had a pay increase in about 7 years. I said it then and I'll say it now, if you want a say in your pay join a bargaining unit that can force managements hand. But be careful because we live in a "right to fire" state and any talk about bargaining with management could lead to worse conditions for some.

SouthernPride
0
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SouthernPride 05/31/10 - 08:10 am
0
0
I’ll give you another example

I’ll give you another example of ridiculous salaries. There are journalist in this town making $40,000 or more, and school teachers making $50,000 or more. Now that’s highway robbery. These jobs should pay at maximum $15,000. Furthermore, minimum wage should be cut back to $1.75 an hour.

Really people?! You all are upset because business professionals and medical staff are making hundreds of thousands of dollars. If MCG wanted to reduce cost, they could lay-off up to 70% of the staff making less than $40K. Why? Because there is so much duplication of effort.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 05/31/10 - 08:41 am
0
0
If the journalists work for

If the journalists work for the Chronicle, that's $40,000 too much...

Corwin's ongoing hatchet job on the College has yet to answer major important questions:

What do our admins make compared to other schools?
How many admins do we have versus other schools?
What is the ratio of faculty to admins versus other shcools?
What is the ratio of management to employees at for-profit hospitals and other corporate entities?
What percentage of budget is spent on administration compared to other schools?

Cherry-picked facts and filtered anonymous quotations are blog-level journalism (see Will Folks for evidence). Random anonymous gripes are not much evidence of faculty satisfaction. They are always free to get a job somewhere else. How many have? How does that turnover compare to other schools? What were their reasons?

I admit I don't know the answer to any of these questions but after reading Corwin's series of "exposes", neither does anyone else.

Riverman1
84905
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Riverman1 05/31/10 - 08:47 am
0
0
Excellent piece again, by Tom

Excellent piece again, by Tom Corwin. We are gradually finding out so many things MCG wanted to keep hidden. Thanks to CitizenSmith, I believe it was, who suggested this survey be examined. To the posters above, realize we are talking about the medical school and not the hospital.

As Sylvia Cooper said yesterday: "I am aware that not all of the salaries comes from tax money, but since I do not have a breakdown on that and never expect to have it, I go with what I have with disclosure that it is 'regardless of source.' The point of the piece was that taxpayers, students and parents shouldn't have to be the only ones sacrificing during the times of state budget cuts."

There was/is something wrong at MCG with the administrators receiving these huge raises while others, even physicians, were taking cuts in pay.

But as Sylvia Cooper said, they are not about to become transparent about total salaries, where the money comes from and so on.

Sonny Perdue's former aide was hired by Dan Rahn at $175,000 a year in a job position he created that is described as building collaborations with other state agencies. Remember we are talking about state agencies where there are procedures in place and so on as to what they can do.

I'd like to know one thing this lady has actually done since she arrived. This is right out of Robin Williams' playbook of him being paid to "lobby with other state agencies."

I thought we had learned something around here with our state health care institutions diverting taxpayer money when we sent Williams to the Estill federal prison for 10 years.

scoobynews
3855
Points
scoobynews 05/31/10 - 08:52 am
0
0
Southern Pride - Please do

Southern Pride - Please do tell us all what it is that you do for a living? I would love to know why you think the very people who teach children to read, write, and do math should make $15,000 a year. I am one of those that makes over $50,000 a year and I can tell you it still isn't enough to put up with all the crap I have to deal with on a daily basis. Mostly ignorant folks like you! I don't live in a fancy house or drive a fancy car. I have a family to support on MY salary only and we don't have any extra money to spend after paying for taxes, retirement, and benefits. I often run into resentment from the folks that never went on to higher education (college or tech school). Why I have no idea considering EVERYONE has the right to go and can go if they really want to. If you have chosen to take another path that is your right but those of us that have chosen that path don't need to be judged nor do we appreciate someone acting as if we don't "work". I work very hard at what I do. No I am not out digging ditches, lifting up heavy bags, or sweating in the hot son. I admire those that can do that kind of work and in no way DEMEAN them as you have professionals. I chose to go another path and went to college in order to NOT have to do that kind of work. I still owe for the last degree I earned and you know what I never complain when that money comes out of my bank account to pay it. In fact I consider myself blessed that I even have a job and that I get paid enough to house, clothe, and feed my family. BTW thank a teacher somewhere for helping you READ this and TO WRITE what I am sure will be some ignorant reply.

scoobynews
3855
Points
scoobynews 05/31/10 - 08:56 am
0
0
I am surprised at the fact

I am surprised at the fact this is even news. This has been going on for years and years. It will continue to go on too. The top dogs always look out for each other and what they have. I have seen it in every job I have ever had.

Pay What U Owe
5
Points
Pay What U Owe 05/31/10 - 08:56 am
0
0
Scooby - I think he was

Scooby - I think he was joking. The point he made (albeit badly) was that MCG is not having financial difficulties because of it's admin salaries. The bulk of the salaries are in the $50K range where is there is arguably enough duplication of effort to merit staff reductions that would improve the bottom line (I don't know if he's right but I think that's what he is trying to say, not insult school teachers).

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 09:09 am
0
0
A telling remark: "Addressing

A telling remark: "Addressing the issue at a faculty senate meeting earlier this month, interim MCG President James N. Thompson said: "I'm here to offer neither an apology nor a justification" for the increase, adding, "We have no argument with the facts that were in The Chronicle's (analysis)."

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 09:33 am
0
0
There is one thing positive

There is one thing positive about the whole situation. These transgressions occurred under Daniel Rahn's regime. We can correct matters and get a fresh start under Azziz.

I'd love for Rahn to be forced to come back here and explain the exorbitant raises for the administrators and the hiring of cronies at hundreds of thousands of dollars who do nothing.

Pay What U Owe
5
Points
Pay What U Owe 05/31/10 - 09:42 am
0
0
I am beginning to think

I am beginning to think Riverman *is* Tom Corwin.

1 - Thompson words are telling. He is not debating the FACTS. Those are solid numbers from a state database. He did not agree with the INTERPRETATION.

2 - If one was not lazy, one could look at the Institutional Faculty List on the web page for all those administrators listed. If one did that, one would find that Rahn hired virtually none of them and that most are external hires.

The idea that these administrative changes reflect some vast conspiracy of cronyism under Rahn is bizarre.

Brad Owens
4583
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Brad Owens 05/31/10 - 09:44 am
0
0
Funny how the folks that DO

Funny how the folks that DO the work hate seeing cuts when admin is expanding.

No wonder 'morale' is so low.

No news here,

Brad

SouthernPride
0
Points
SouthernPride 05/31/10 - 09:53 am
0
0
Scooby- I am a working

Scooby- I am a working professional (went all the way in higher education). And truth be told, I don’t think I am compensated enough for my work given all that I sacrificed (and yes, I make damn good money). You missed the point (you sure you teach people to read?). When people give up years of their life and pour tremendous efforts into their education and jobs they deserve great rewards. I’m not demeaning those that dig ditches, as I had loved ones that dug ditches to support me through my educational efforts. So I certainly appreciate those people. What I find hilarious are those individuals that come on here and want others to cut their salary because they feel it’s “too much.” However, if the tables were turned and someone offered those that complain about high salaries a $250K a year job, they would take it and leave everyone else in the dust. Altruism is not human nature (as it has been shown in numerous human behavior experiments). It is simply class envy. As the old saying goes, if you ain’t the lead dog, the view never changes.

Brad Owens
4583
Points
Brad Owens 05/31/10 - 09:54 am
0
0
Pay what you owe, I am

Pay what you owe,

I am begining to think you *work* in the admin at MCG.

These salaries are INSANE. I don't care what folks get paid in other states. Those 'other states and cities' are not Augusta. Just look at cost per sq foot of homes in San Fran, Atlanta, New Your, LA, and Chicago.

The fact is, we cannot AFFORD them now.

Brad

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 10:01 am
0
0
What was bizarre was that

What was bizarre was that Rahn could create an administrative job at the salary he determined and pick the person he wanted for that job. We are talking about a state institution for goodness sakes. That needs to be investigated.

It's obvious the ball is starting to roll now with Corwin's great stories and Sylvia Coopers' exquisite points. Finally, the public is finding out the truth.

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 10:34 am
0
0
SouthernPride, more than a

SouthernPride, more than a few of us on here do pretty well financially, but that is totally off the point of the story. I know some of those posters and some know me.

What the Chronicle and the public are demanding are answers to why the administrators were given huge raises while many were taking pay cuts.

Paywhatyouowe, you bring up possibilities, but expect others to do your legwork. Can someone please check if the moon has water in the deep craters for me?

This argument that they were simply trying to catch the administrator salaries up to those comparable with others in the country is bogus. Do those who actually do the research: the physicians, scientists, technicians and clerical staff generally make less than those in the rest of the country? Don't we need to catch them up, too, instead of cutting their pay? Plus, NIH research grants were not increasing even though the salaries and number of administrators were.

Brad Owens
4583
Points
Brad Owens 05/31/10 - 10:39 am
0
0
SouthernPride, You said, and

SouthernPride,

You said, and I quote, "When people give up years of their life and pour tremendous efforts into their education and jobs they deserve great rewards."

Key word I disagree with here is "DESERVE."

No one DESERVES anything they didn't EARN. Having degrees, even costly ones, doesn't mean you DESERVE anything. If you work hard and EARN the rewards they will come.

You think that these admin folks DESERVE to be paid TEN times what the actual working pros get at MCG just beacuse they have a certain degree or a few extra years of training? The fact is, in a free market you are paid what you are WORTH and that is usually based on the amount of PRODUCTIVITY and VALUE you bring to the business you work for.

This socialist idea that you DESERVE something just because of any reason other than what you are WORTH will not work and I say it is part of the problem. Never base a person's pay on their education but instead on what they bring to the table to add VALUE to the business.

These jobs are overpaid and if the WORKERS face cuts, so should the bloated admin clerks' pay.

Brad

Southern Sailor
0
Points
Southern Sailor 05/31/10 - 10:44 am
0
0
Riverman1 was a spurned

Riverman1 was a spurned suitor of Sonny Perdue's former staffer, I am convinced.

Pay What U Owe
5
Points
Pay What U Owe 05/31/10 - 10:49 am
0
0
Um ....Brad. I don't think

Um ....Brad. I don't think you know what socialism is. How can you make the arguments that admins don't deserve the salaries and yet workers deserve to make some reasonable fraction of the top? Who decides what salaries are at MCG? Do you not think it's the market? Why must admins be held to some ideal of difference between top and bottom and yet "workers" are entitled to some pre-determined share of the pie? Workers of the world, unite? Are you a communist? Where is the local liberatarian mafia when you need it?

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 10:50 am
0
0
Pay, actually, I'm the one

Pay, actually, I'm the one pointing out facts, without the middle school name calling even. I remember the last time Corwin wrote and I commented you went absolutely hysterical with one post after another having to be removed. It's obvious the inquiry is continuing and deepening. So relax and let's keep it on topic.

Again, the only arguments I've heard from the administrators is that they were trying to catch themselves up to the national average in salary. So we decided to do that at the expense of the others who were just as underpaid? As Brad said, this is not a high cost living area.

The point about hiring new administrators to gain NIH grants for dang sure hasn't panned out either.

Creating the position for someone and hiring her at $175,000 a year "to build collaborations with state agencies" is simply hilarious and I don't think they will even try with that one.

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 10:51 am
0
0
Southern Sailor...haha.

Southern Sailor...haha.

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 11:00 am
0
0
"not your bitter vendetta

"not your bitter vendetta against Rahn because you didn't measure up that staffer that shot you down's standards."

I realize you probably have typos there, but I'm not sure what you mean. Clarify. You said I haven't asked questions? That's all I've done and I've answered every argument out there. Read back.

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 11:01 am
0
0
"Tom Wannabe" See there you

"Tom Wannabe"

See there you go again. Come on, let's keep the discussion on topic.

Riverman1
84905
Points
Riverman1 05/31/10 - 11:04 am
0
0
Brad, I have a pretty good

Brad, I have a pretty good idea of what you make and you probably do better than SouthernPride even without his education these days. You did it the real hard way.

ClaraBell
8
Points
ClaraBell 05/31/10 - 11:29 am
0
0
It happens at all levels. New

It happens at all levels. New blood comes in to Augusta. Individuals who are positive and energized. They bring new ideas and believe that Augusta can achieve greatness by branching out beyond the CSRA. Generally these newcomers are bullied and badmouthed by the old-timers until they are worn down and leave.

Just My Opinion
5704
Points
Just My Opinion 05/31/10 - 12:18 pm
0
0
Tom, your next article should

Tom, your next article should be on the extremely low morale at Doctor's Hospital. I have some friends who work there and they have all told me about how the nurses, technicians, assistants, etc. are never listened to by their supervisors. They say that the "higher-up" adminstrators are only guilty of putting up with the incompetent middle-management, even though they know what is going on and choose to look the other way. For example, I know 2 women who work in the surgical unit and they say that their "tyranical boss" (her words, not mine) has run off so many people that they are constantly short-staffed and they can't understand why Personnel hasn't done an investigation to find out the root problem. Just goes to show you that the grass is not greener on the other side and that all jobs have their problems. But, Tom, I do think there's meat in the situation at Doctor's Hospital's low morale!

citizensmh
0
Points
citizensmh 05/31/10 - 06:11 pm
0
0
Ridiculous salaries for the

Ridiculous salaries for the 'big wigs' at the expense of everyone else should not be tolerated. Comparing this info to other institutions is nice, but if other institutions are doing this then they are corrupt too.

The big wigs at MCG have obviously caught on to these articles, and I imagine that is reflected in some of the commentary here.

What will really be done about this? The very idea of an internal investigation is a joke.

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