Employee survey: PCC execs seen as subpar

2013-11-15T18:15:00Z 2013-11-15T23:23:18Z Employee survey: PCC execs seen as subparBy Carol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Pima Community College may have a new chancellor, but employees don’t trust those surrounding him, a new internal survey shows.

Recently asked to critique the performance of the school’s senior executive team, substantial portions of workers who responded rated members as untruthful, unreasonable, inconsistent and otherwise lacking in leadership skills.

The results suggest “the leaders aren’t leading,” PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert said in an interview.

“It’s no wonder we have morale problems,” he said. The survey is part of his plan to fix that, he added.

The college is trying to shed a two-year probation sanction imposed by its accreditor, in part due to poor executive performance. PCC’s top leaders created a “culture of fear” that poisoned the organization, the accreditor found.

The survey was emailed to employees in September, two months after Lambert started work at the school.

Workers from across the college were asked to evaluate, as a whole, Lambert’s 17-member Cabinet, which includes several executives hired or promoted by disgraced former chancellor Roy Flores. Flores resigned last year after eight women accused him of sexual harassment.

More than 1,400 employees received the survey and nearly 660 answered it. Among their responses:

— Asked if Cabinet members are truthful, 29 percent agreed and 21 percent disagreed.

— Asked if the Cabinet members admit errors and work to fix them, 17 percent said yes and 38 percent said no.

— Asked if executives build and maintain trust, 22 percent agreed and 37 percent disagreed.

— Asked if they apply policies fairly and consistently, 23 percent said yes and 38 percent said no.

In many categories, a substantial portion of respondents described themselves as “neutral” — neither agreeing nor disagreeing — while another large chunk said they couldn’t make an evaluation.

Rita Flattley, a spokeswoman for PCC’s faculty association, said some parts of the college are well-led, such as the east campus where she works.

But overall, she said, if top executives were graded like PCC students, many would flunk out.

“I’d give them a C-minus or maybe a D,” Flattley said in an interview.

Lambert said the results confirm the heavy toll the Flores years took on the college. It was common for the former chancellor to surround himself with inexperienced, underqualified people, he said.

“A lot of them don’t know the appropriate way to interact, and now we’re seeing the impact of that,” he said.

Lambert said further workplace surveys are planned.

He said he’s trying to work with deficient executives to bring them up to par. Those who can’t change their behavior will have to be replaced, he said.

Since June, five PCC administrators have resigned, retired or were fired from their six-figure posts.

Reporter Carol Ann Alaimo can be reached at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

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