Bloody Monday: Layoffs at the financially troubled Georgia Perimeter College

A regular poster sent me a note Friday that layoffs would take place today at Georgia Perimeter Collge.

The poster wrote: “Supposedly senior management and department heads are meeting tomorrow to get instruction from HR on how to drop the axe. In a not so ironic twist, the same people who are making career life and death decisions are mostly the same people who helped {former President Anthony} Tricoli drive us off the cliff.”

The poster was right.

The AJC is reporting this morning that Georgia Perimeter College will lay off 282 people as part of an extensive plan to close what could be a $25 million deficit next year.

According to the news story:

The cuts affect 215 full-time employees and 67 part-time workers, according to a campus-wide email Interim President Rob Watts sent. No tenure or tenure-track professors were laid off. The college employed about 3,110 people, including 390 tenure and tenure-track faculty.

Watts wrote that his first priority “was protecting classroom instruction for students.” All other areas of the college were affected, including administrative support and some internal institutes will close.

“The college must now focus on the adjustments necessary to operate at lower staffing levels. It will not be easy. We will all need to be as flexible and patient as possible while we make the adjustments,” Watts wrote.

Meanwhile, auditors from the state and University System of Georgia are analyzing the college’s books to understand how this financial mess happened. As part of the investigation they are looking into the school’s internal controls and how it recorded and communicated financial information.

The school has been overspending for the past four years, according to previous audits and other analysis The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reviewed. The college used its reserves to close financial holes in the past, but those funds are too depleted to help this time.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

447 comments Add your comment

Howard Finkelstein

June 18th, 2012
10:01 am

Seems the unemployment number 8.2% (true number between 15% and 20%) just keeps growing.

Anonymous

June 18th, 2012
10:06 am

At UWG, they are cutting salaries of some tenured/tenure track faculty to pay for the President’s $42k annual increase in salary.

Chris Mitchell

June 18th, 2012
10:11 am

Internal controls? Suuuurree….

One of the most disorganized places in government.

Furious Styles

June 18th, 2012
10:24 am

Overspending and over hiring will do this to and school, company or organization. It appears they couldn’t get a handle on things.

Old Timer

June 18th, 2012
10:25 am

I haven’t see a financial disaster in the University System like this one since the president of another University System unit (what used to be Floyd Junior College) overspent for student laptops by more than a million dollars and never realized it until the money was gone. That president and his finance head were both soon gone. But this gambit makes that one look like child’s play. How in the world do supposedly responsible people blow a budget in this way? Don’t they have accountants in the University System? After all, it’s not as though these people in the units are dealing with multi-billion dollar budgets.

Anonymous

June 18th, 2012
10:25 am

I wonder why whenever a USG college president makes bad mistakes and fails to preform his/her own duties, USG protects him/her. In reality, even rewards the individual (a nice cushy job for Tricoli at the USG, so he can continue to make more money given to him by tax payers of GA). Why are not folks at the top held responsible for their actions. Is it because the Chancellor is afraid that might happen to him. And we wonder why the public & legislators have such a terrible view of the academy. So much for accountability and responsibility!

Bubba

June 18th, 2012
10:33 am

In general, educators do not make good managers.

Common Sense

June 18th, 2012
10:43 am

“I wonder why whenever a USG college president makes bad mistakes and fails to preform his/her own duties, USG protects him/her.”

Government has a history of rewarding failure.

Greg

June 18th, 2012
10:54 am

How could this happen?

This college does not exist in a vacuum. The state of Georgia needs to look at its own internal controls to determine how it could have allowed this college to run amuk with no oversight. Suddenly, we make this big discovery about years of overspending and no one is asking the obvious questions that need to be answered. Where else in state government is this happening? How broke is the state of Georgia?

catlady

June 18th, 2012
11:00 am

I agree with the anger that the USG would “reward” and “protect” the president or anyone else involved in this disaster. To the BOR: DO YOUR JOB!

there

June 18th, 2012
11:01 am

Hopefully someone will go to jail over this. We are losing real workers, while those at the top, screw up and make the big bucks.

ScienceTeacher671

June 18th, 2012
11:09 am

Dr. Craig Spinks on this blog has been urging independent audits of many of our educational institutions for as long as I’ve been on the blog.

It looks like a really good idea. Accountability would be also.

Digger

June 18th, 2012
11:18 am

If you’re an educator, perhaps it’s time to rehearse the following line: ‘Would you like fries with that?’.

NTLB

June 18th, 2012
11:30 am

With college fee and tuitions rates skyrocketing every year, how is this feasible? Another result of Georgia’s ongoing bureaucratic corruption. The “good old boys” are their greedy antics continue to steer this state and its residents into continuous poverty.

Marney

June 18th, 2012
11:34 am

Last fall I sat in the budget committee subcommittee mtg of the DeKalb school board, where they received the results of the annual state audit. Glowing accolades for how much quicker and easier the audit had gone that year compared to years past…. Fast forward to now and we have “oops we forgot we would have to pay back the bond for SPLOST III”, and “OMG we are over budget by 45 mil and tracking to finish the year 8M in the hole”…

An audit is not an “audit”, and will not achieve what you seek. But at least we now have someone who successfully held the CFO position in an equivalent sized system in a different. I bet the guy is starting to regret taking the job.

barneyfife

June 18th, 2012
11:42 am

What goes on at some of Georgia’s college and universities is nothing short of criminal. From outrageous salaries for presidents, tenured faculty, and flat-out misappropriation of funds will blow your mind. With Georgia #1 in the Nation for the largest increase in tuition/fees since 2008, one really has to wonder. And we wonder why HOPE is flat broke. Since these schools accept Fed $$$, why is the FBI not conducting a forensic audit of all Georgia institutions?

Capsized in DeKalb

June 18th, 2012
11:46 am

Marney,
DeKalb County School district has almost $100,000,000 million deficit versus the (former DeKalb Perimeter) Georgia Perimeter College of $25,000,000.
Georgia Perimeter is NOW undergoing an audit into previous years financials for wrong doing by the state ATTORNEY GENERAL!

Why won’t the AG come to the school system that is 4 times larger than the university’s?

Why won’t our District Attorney, after 2 Grand Jury’s recommended to investigate the school system this year, investigate our corrupt and fraudulent school system?

Governor Deal, are you listening? DeKalb is calling for help? The students need your help!

NTLB

June 18th, 2012
11:47 am

@baryneylife, Georgia State U got into into big federal trouble in the past year. There tuition rates increases were found to be excessive and were questioned by the feds. They now have to prove to the feds how proactive they are being in order to avoid more questionable tuition increases.

Sensationalistic

June 18th, 2012
11:49 am

There is so much profit to be made working for the government.

Solutions

June 18th, 2012
11:55 am

In my opinion, DeKalb is the most corrupt county in the metro area, both in education and in general government. Property taxes are outrageous in Dekalb, the return on those taxes making the bite even worse. Yet there is a constant cry for more money for education, as though education is the remedy to low IQ, low morals, and criminality! Stop pouring my tax dollars into education, it is a bottomless hole, and an excuse to steal more and more of my wealth. Remember, the power to tax is the power to destroy. I hope the deficit spending management of Georgia Perimeter College are arrested, indited for fraud and theft, convicted, and sent to prison for a good long time. After that, the current and former “CEO’s” of DeKalb deserve the same treatment, imho!

JacketFan

June 18th, 2012
11:56 am

I’d ask that folks show some respect and keep the snarky comments to a minimum. This is an awful day – bout to go down to help a colleague who is well-respected and hard-working move out of her office. This is the fault of a small group of people who have been handled. The people being cut today had NOTHING to do with these mistakes. It’s incredibly sad and unfair.

Solutions

June 18th, 2012
11:57 am

NTLB – Since when does Washington have to power to impose price controls on colleges and universities?

Solutions

June 18th, 2012
12:02 pm

JacketFan – Without the deficit spending, your friend may never have had a job at Georgia Perimeter College to begin with, so in that respect she may have been the beneficiary of massive mis spending. Are we suppose to mourn when your friend’s gravy train comes to an end, a gravy train we are forced to fund via our taxes?

old cool cat

June 18th, 2012
12:03 pm

Yes, JacketFan, the saddest part in this mess is that some hard-working folks are getting hurt. Yes, the president is gone and yes, he won’t have a job with the system after July 1. Yes, some of these people getting pink slips are part of the slush of unnecessary hires. Yes, many of these, through no fault of their own are about to be unemployed. Are the ones who wasted the money going to be held accountable? Probably not. Will those with super-inflated jobs such as many in OIT get cut or at least have salary reductions? Probably not. Six little people will get laid off but one fat cat will keep the outrageous salary. Now that is sad, but it also government at work.

Prof

June 18th, 2012
12:04 pm

@ Anonymous, 10:25 am: “…(a nice cushy job for Tricoli at the USG, so he can continue to make more money given to him by tax payers of GA)…”

I seem to remember reading in the AJC that Triocoli’s contract will not be renewed July 1. If that’s true, he won’t have that “nice cushy job at USG” for long.

GFY

June 18th, 2012
12:06 pm

This problem should (and most likely was unless collusion and fraud) have been recognized in the annual audit performed by the State Auditor (Russell Hinton). Problem would be if no one within the USG acted upon the red flags the auditors were raising at the time. It would be interesting to hear from the auditor in charge of this particular system as to whether there were issues in each of the past few years (an annual audit is required each and every fiscal year).

GFY

June 18th, 2012
12:08 pm

Good question raised about the problems at Dekalb County School System…..where is the outrage and the investigation? Taxpayers in Dekalb are being forced to grab their ankles………

Prof

June 18th, 2012
12:10 pm

@ Solutions, June 18th, 12:02 pm: “JacketFan – Without the deficit spending, your friend may never have had a job at Georgia Perimeter College to begin with, so in that respect she may have been the beneficiary of massive mis spending. Are we suppose to mourn when your friend’s gravy train comes to an end, a gravy train we are forced to fund via our taxes?”

Out of common humanity, we might mourn when someone is suddenly fired with about one month’s warning for reasons that are out of that person’s control.

Paulo977

June 18th, 2012
12:11 pm

On a more hopeful note……………………….
A rally at Fernbank to save the science center from the avaricious hands of those who would benefit by its closure!!!

NTLB

June 18th, 2012
12:12 pm

@ Solutions, correction, a STATEn audit revealed this about Georgia State University. Mia culpa.

Paulo977

June 18th, 2012
12:19 pm

Solutions

Yet there is a constant cry for more money for education, as though education is the remedy to low IQ, low morals, and criminalit
__________________________________________________

Not sure that it can help a half witted way of thinking!!!!!!!!!

Outthere&scared

June 18th, 2012
12:20 pm

I am racking my brain trying to understand how they are determining who stays and who goes. Is the ousted VP of Finance secretary gone/laid of? There are people who still have their jobs who knew exactly what has been going on. Nine people from our department have been let go. Our department is crucial for making sure enrollment is met. The students are going to suffer no matter what Watts says.

GAPerimeterStudent

June 18th, 2012
12:28 pm

Save some money and review the professor evaluations and fire the numerous professors who aren’t quite up to par. There are many lazy, bad, burned out professors here. Let me know if any suggestions are needed.

Solutions

June 18th, 2012
12:29 pm

Paulo977 – Only the taxpayers will benefit from the closing of the money pit known as Fernbank, it is more than time to get the staff of that parasite off backs of the taxpayers! Fernbank is a typical socialist make work project that wraps itself in the flag of educating the young, but is really only benefiting its bloated staff. Close it and raze the building to the ground so that it may not be reopened in more financially flush times, yes I even urge the salting of the soil so nothing will ever grow there again. Just think of me as a bitter taxpayer….

Solutions

June 18th, 2012
12:33 pm

Prof, that is a month more warning than I would give them!

JacketFan

June 18th, 2012
12:35 pm

@Solutions – Tax dollars only account for about half of the institutional budget and number is decreasing every year. This particular individual was in her job since before Tricoli, so, no, she wasn’t one of the newly-created positions to which so many on here are referring. Not that it matters seeing as there are newly-created positions there were created out of need, such as those Outthere&scared referenced. I know how some folks out there love to look for any excuse to bash higher education, I’m guessing you are one of those. All I ask is that you have a little class and keep the attacks focused on those who deserve them (Tricoli, Carruth, etc.) and not on those who did not play a role in this nonsense.

the prof

June 18th, 2012
12:36 pm

@GAPerimeterStudent……..I’m certain you would start with those that gave you the well deserved D’s and F’s.

there

June 18th, 2012
12:37 pm

Well at least one of “Anthony’s” cronies is gone.

Solutions

June 18th, 2012
12:41 pm

Prof – You certainly seem to enjoying judging and grading our responses on this blog, too bad you completely lack grading power here! You may be the Supreme Being in your little classroom, but in the wider world, your word is no better than anyone else’s word, and if you are not a property owner, somewhat less valid than that of a property tax paying property owner.

Solutions

June 18th, 2012
12:47 pm

JacketFan – The other half comes from tuition and fees, mostly funded by student loan debt, the total of which approaches one Trillion dollars, with the taxpayer left holding the bag when the little deadbeats default. Already they are whining for “loan forgiveness.” No on my watch, especially since some are urging cuts to social security to fund this bailout. If a bailout comes about, I urge it be funded by a 50% tax on all college and university pensions, especially those invested in TIAA-CREF!

Prof

June 18th, 2012
12:54 pm

@ Solutions. Karma, Solutions, karma. The one who crows over someone else’s undeserved misfortune, will soon…..

Susie

June 18th, 2012
12:57 pm

I am SO HAPPY that they didn’t hire me! Thank you God! On the outside of that it’s sad that so many people lost their jobs.

jim dandy

June 18th, 2012
12:59 pm

How did we go from 185 projected layoffs to 282 actual layoffs. Oh I get it, the guys at the top hold on to their jobs by firing two guys at the bottom.

Solutions

June 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

Prof, there is no scientific basis for Karma, despite Karl Jung’s protestations!

NTLB

June 18th, 2012
1:15 pm

Absolute power corrupts ALL, including EDUCATION:

“According to Barrett, states with stagnant political environments often encourage corruption. Governments with high levels of corruption tend to have a political party — either the Democrats or Republicans — in power for a long time. The states that have had a “machine” in place for a long time often tend to be the most corrupt. Machines tend to want to protect themselves.’

1. Georgia

• Overall grade: F (49)
• Public access to information: F
• Legislative accountability: F
• Political financing: F
• Ethics enforcement agencies: F

http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/27/10812551-states-with-the-most-lax-anti-corruption-laws?lite

Jobless Tonight

June 18th, 2012
1:21 pm

My boss called this afternoon and asked to see me when I come in today. I guess I’m one of the 9%. : (

Old timer

June 18th, 2012
1:26 pm

I would bet, those that are being laid off….are not the ones with the fat salary. They will be the ones in the trenches dealing with student problems.

William Casey

June 18th, 2012
1:35 pm

@SOLUTIONS: What “gravy train” do YOU ride? I know several professors and they sure aren’t riding any “gravy train.” They work hard and have had no salary increase since about 2007. It’s easy to be critical of others while hiding behind a cowardly pseudonym. The latter does not apply if you work or the University System and might face reprisals. I doubt that this is the case.

William Casey

June 18th, 2012
1:37 pm

NTLB has the grades about right.

Candora

June 18th, 2012
1:37 pm

1. Salary caps: No person at GPC should be paid more than $100,00 per year.

2. Justice: Tricoli and Carruth should be arrested and should be held financially accountable. The proceeds from selling the cars and houses of these criminals should be given to the college.

3. The BOR should also be held accountable for allowing this mess to occur. They should all be let go.

4. BOR salaries need to be capped, too. Look at http://www.jobnob.com/board-regents-university-system-georgia-salary to see their ridiculously high salaries.