Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Red River College: Hirer + Hiree = Bad Hire

Good Day Readers:

The hiring of Stephanie Forsyth raises many more questions than it answers. Let's start with the hiring process per se. Presumably it went something like this. The College's Board of Governors struck a Search Committee from among their own which may have, in turn, retained an executive search firm specializing in these kinds of hires.

Next, it seems reasonable said search firm put together a short list of candidates - 4 or 5 for consideration of the full Board. One would assume the successful candidate, in this case Ms Forsyth, was scrupulously vetted for excellence as a college administrator, as well as, a record of integrity beyond reproach. So what went so terribly wrong? Did Stephanie Forsyth:

(1) Go off the rails after arriving at Red River College?

(2) Those responsible for the hiring decision did not undertake sufficient due diligence?

(3) A bit of both?

It seems those who made the decision that cost taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars should also be held accountable but will they? Further, will the College's upcoming report on the Forsyth fiasco be thorough, complete and prepared by an independent third-party? You'll have your answer if more heads roll.

Now that a new search is underway will any changes in the hiring process be implemented to ensure taxpayers don't have another expensive ....-up.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Forsyth's contract details create more questions

By Nick Martin
Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stephanie Forsyth was required to give RCC four months' notice. (Boris Minkevich/Winnipeg Free Press)

Stephanie Forsyth's contract required the former president to give Red River College four months' notice if she wanted to leave early.

Conversely, if RRC decided to fire Forsyth without just cause, the contract still obliged the college to give Forsyth four months' compensation and further benefits for eight months unless she first found another job.

Both sides could end the deal at any time by mutual agreement.

The college's board of governors did not respond Friday afternoon to questions about which clauses of Forsyth's contract applied to her departure.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation obtained Forsyth's contract through a freedom-of-information request under a favourable ruling from the provincial ombudsman and has now posted it online at http://www.taxpayer.com/media/RRC-Contract.pdf.

Forsyth ended her almost-four-year tenure as president Aug. 31, about two weeks after advising the college she wanted to "discuss moving on." She signed a five-year deal in September 2010.

Red River says it did not fire Forsyth and did not give her a push, but she also did not resign; board of governors chair Richard Lennon said repeatedly this week Forsyth "stepped down" by mutual agreement.

RRC has refused to provide details about why she left, other than for personal and family reasons, and won't say if it paid Forsyth anything in severance.

"It's surprising how secretive they're being about the entire circumstance," CTF Prairie representative Colin Craig said Friday.

The contract said Forsyth would receive six weeks' annual vacation. She was allowed to hold over only one unused week of vacation by her choice; any more and the board would have to consent.

Lennon said earlier this week Forsyth had gone on vacation at her own request some time in June. However, since then, the college has said repeatedly when she last put in a day of work as president, and even how much vacation the president receives, are confidential human resources matters.

It was Craig who first broke the controversial news last year about Forsyth's personal expenses, through a freedom-of-information request.

"I've been in this job for 61/2 years, and I've never had more whistleblowers in any other organization. The floodgates opened when we reported she expensed her golf shoes," Craig said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 6, 2014 B3

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