Questions aired at faculty meeting
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 00:09
At the first faculty meeting of the academic year on Thursday, Prof. Harry Mairson (COSI) publicly raised concerns about the hiring last month of Steve Manos to the position of chief operating officer.
In a section of the meeting reserved for comments or questions directed at University President Frederick Lawrence, Mairson came to the microphone and told President Lawrence that he was “surprised and concerned” about the appointment. He raised three central objections to the hiring of Manos: process, finance and respect.
In terms of process, Mairson expressed worries about the lack of a search committee in the hiring process, and described what he sees as a “transparency issue.”
Mairson also cited financial worries, saying that “[Manos] was reported to be paid elsewhere a very substantial sum in his last year in such a role. We’re also told, and all believe, that hard financial choices need to be made. There are some conflicting signals.”
Finally, he said, the decision showed a lack of respect to the current senior vice presidents for finance and operations, referring to Fran Drolette and Mark Collins, though Collins’ official title is senior vice president for administration. He referred to the so-called “golden rule,” and asked whether Brandeis has treated “these senior officials the way that we would want to be treated.”
President Lawrence responded to Mairson’s remarks systematically, answering each concern in turn.
He defended the process behind the hiring, saying that his “record on process and searches speaks for itself,” and that this search “required a kind of delicacy that made it inappropriate to have a public process.”
Financially, Lawrence said, he pays very close attention to the compensation of his senior team, and he added that “[Manos’] compensation is not what it was his last year at Tufts [University].” Manos was compensated $356,618 during his final year at Tufts, according to Tufts' federal tax filings.
Figures for the current compensation of University employees are not publicly available.
Finally, Lawrence said that he personally discussed the appointment of Manos with both Collins and Drolette, both of whom he said he holds in “very high regard,” though he declined to elaborate on the details of those conversations.
The meeting also included the faculty’s standard business, such as reports from Lawrence and Provost Steve Goldstein ’78 on the progress of the ongoing strategic planning process that has been the center of much attention in the past year.
Lawrence said that the process is in “high gear,” and that the focus is shifting from brainstorming onto beginning to “tighten the spiral” and come up with a framework for the plan.
Lawrence also reported that the search for a new senior vice president for communications is moving along, and that the search committee has had a wide range of input and “seen some exciting candidates.” He also said that he envisions the new vice president to be more of an “outside-looking” role that focuses on marketing and branding, rather than the inside-looking, crisis management role, which has more accurately described the position in recent years.
There were also 22 new faculty members introduced, from a range of departments. Among them were the new chair of African and Afro-American Studies, Chad Williams, and the new poet-in-residence, Elizabeth Bradfield (ENG).
Finally, the new head of the faculty senate, Prof. Eric Chasalow (MUS), introduced himself to the gathered faculty and proposed a few ideas for how he plans to incorporate himself into his new role. The former head of the faculty senate was Prof. Timothy Hickey (COSI).