Friday, June 05, 2009

A&M Chancellor disses A&M President

I’m not sure what is going on with this situation but I can already tell that I don’t like it.
The Chancellor of Texas A&M University System is apparently having a nasty fight with the new Texas A&M president, who just happens to be the first female and first Hispanic to ever serve in that position.
The chancellor is former Republican State Rep. Mike McKinney, who served for several years as chief of staff to Gov. Rick Perry before launching a new career as an academic administrator. The president of A&M is Elsa Murano, the former dean of Agriculture at A&M who was named president after Robert Gates left to become Secretary of Defense.
Now one year into her new job, Murano has apparently run afoul of McKinney and the Board of Regents.

Newsflash for Chancellor McKinney! If you are going to let personnel matters like this splash over into the media, you had better have more than a hand-written five-page review that looks like it was filled out at the last minute to back you up.

The five-page review - which was sent to the A&M system’s board of regents - was done by Texas A&M University System Chancellor Mike McKinney, who wrote that Murano “fails to assume responsibility for decisions” and criticized her for being “too slow” when it came to decisions.
It lacked specifics and was handwritten rather than typed. A page allowing for him to write down goals for the president, as well as a summary of her strengths and areas needing attention, was left blank...

So the part of the evaluation where he was supposed to write out and explain all the poor scores he was giving her was left blank. What is he? A moron!?!? First off, I hate those kinds of stupid evaluations where they assign arbitrary numbers between 1 and 5 in cookie-cutter categories. I hate them. But the worst is getting a low score that is not explained. If McKinney couldn’t be bothered to explain his low scores in full and complete sentences then he is not doing HIS job as a manager.

This sounds to me like the “evaluation” was thrown together at the last minute as a CYA operation by the chancellor.
Murano, meanwhile, did take the time to type up a 10-page response to the poor evaluation and she makes several salient points about the sparcity of the review and its seperation from reality.

“Given the complete disconnection between Dr. McKinney’s perception of my performance as president and all the evidence to the contrary, I can conclude that this review was not based on facts,” Murano wrote. “One need only consider that if it was an actual reflection of the job I have done as president, there would have been an incredible outcry from the entire university community.”

So what is it that Murano did or did not do to merit the wrath of the chancellor? That is not real clear. McKinney apparently scrawled a few comments on the review like
“Does good job on things she likes. Very poor on carrying out board system decisions with which she disagrees.”
So what does that mean? He doesn’t give any examples and no further explanation. Does he think the president is just supposed to roll over and acquiese to any decision by the board regardless of whether she agrees or not? Is the president just a functionary, a step-in-fetch-it for the chancellor and the regents? And when she didn’t immediately jump and say “How high” when he snapped his fingers, he is now ready to throw her out of office and absorb the position of president for himself?
I think McKinney has got some more explaining to do. Because right now I agree with the former speaker of the faculty senate:

“I’m just kind of shocked at the nature of the document,” said R. Douglas Slack, after reading the performance review. He is a former speaker of the faculty senate.
“It looked to be hastily done. It doesn’t look like something that was well thought-out. It’s a contrast to the president’s well thought-out response.”

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