UPEI defends hiring new AD without notice

Dave Stewart
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Bill Schurman replaces Ron Annear Feb. 4

Take part in The Guardian's web poll: Do you agree with the process employed by UPEI regarding the changes announced Monday concerning the athletic director and other department staff?

A senior administrator at UPEI says the university followed proper procedure in hiring its new incoming athletic director.

A senior administrator at UPEI says the university followed proper procedure in hiring its new incoming athletic director.

The university announced earlier this week that Bill Schurman, outgoing general manager of the Greater Summerside Area Chamber of Commerce and a consultant with the Summerside Storm, will replace Ron Annear as the university’s athletic director on Feb. 4.

The announcement caught just about everyone off guard. No one would comment on the record but The Guardian has been told from a number of sources that Annear had no idea it was coming nor did the university’s board of directors.

But it bumps Annear back to his old job, in charge of communications and special events with the athletics department. That puts Lynn Boudreau, who is currently serving that role, out of a job.

The Guardian asked Jackie Podger, vice-president of administration and finance at UPEI, what process the university followed in hiring Schurman, why the position wasn’t publicly posted and why the board of governors at the university didn’t know.

“Bill Schurman has been appointed to a term contract,’’ Podger said. “We followed a proper HR process and it’s common practice for a term appointment to be conducted in this way. An appointment at the directorial level is considered a typical operating and hiring procedure.’’

Podger would not say how long Schurman’s term is, explaining that UPEI doesn’t discuss the terms of one’s employment from a privacy perspective.

When asked why UPEI chose to switch athletic directors at this time, Podger said the university is in the midst of a critical budget planning process.

“We need to position UPEI athletics and recreation in the best possible way to advance our programs and reach new heights while we navigate through tough financial times.’’

She said UPEI selected Schurman because of his leadership ability and the skillset he can bring to Panther sport.

“We needed to seize the opportunity now to put together a team that will take the UPEI athletics programs to a new level.’’

“We need to position UPEI athletics and recreation in the best possible way to advance our programs and reach new heights while we navigate through tough financial times.’’ Jackie Podger, vice-president of administration and finance

Podger said Annear remains “an important part of this team, is integral to our success’’.

The Guardian did attempt to contact Tom Cullen, chairman of the board of directors, but he was out of province on Thursday.

The Guardian did speak with Boudreau but she declined to comment, as did Annear.

The newspaper also tried to contact Lynn Murray, chair of the human resources committee, but the call was not immediately returned.

Lenny Kelly, president of the UPEI men’s hockey Panthers booster club, said he was surprised at how the events unfolded.

“From a personal perspective, it’s too bad for Ronnie (Annear) because Ronnie is a really nice guy and I like him as a friend,’’ Kelly said. “It’s unfortunate with the developments that occurred.’’

Kelly added that the booster club is interested to find out what Schurman’s hiring means for the men’s hockey team.

“The fundamental thing, from our perspective, is how does all of this affect Forbie and the hockey program going forward?’’ he said, referring to head coach Forbie MacPherson.

One UPEI business graduate, who didn’t provide a name, told The Guardian, the process followed here is “appalling’’.

“I expect better from my alma mater. As a graduate of UPEI, I will no longer donate financially to the university. I hope more business graduates also show their displeasure,’’ the former student said.

There are those who are happy to see Schurman taking over.

“What a shame for Summerside to lose such a key player and supporter,’’ a commenter on The Guardian’s website said of Schurman. “Mr. Schurman has done a great many things in his career and UPEI is incredibly lucky to have him.’’

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Greater Summerside Area Chamber of Commerce

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Recent comments

  • boondoggle
    January 18, 2013 - 12:48

    UPEI doesn't discuss staff employment terms with the media, fair enough. But why not discuss it with the HR department and the Board of Governors? Is that not what they are there for? To make sure proper policy and procedures are being followed? To make sure university business is conducted in a legitimate and ethical way, with a spirit consultation and consensus? (Even if it is only for show.) This is a university, not a biker gang. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

  • Another UPEI Business Alumni
    January 18, 2013 - 12:43

    The strongest asset UPEI has is, from my experience it's people. To see another employee treated like this is a travesty. My money will not being going to UPEI, I can easily find a better cause or another Not for profit organization who treats its employees better.

  • Stephen
    January 18, 2013 - 12:13

    Who cares. What one should be more concerned with are the dinosaur profs who do nothing and contribute nothing to educate the students.It is disgraceful that someone who is just there for a pay cheque is hampering our youths future. All profs should have a student and peer evaluation. That would weed out the dead weight and Weale would have been finished long before he was fired.

  • Really, Right Thing and I Won't Be Back
    January 18, 2013 - 10:57

    First, Right Thing: Thugs! You are branding the UPEI Panthers as Thugs! You are so full of Crap! If you are referring to Mason Wilgosh, he is not a thug, but a terrific young man. Maybe if you really knew his background you would understand, but you spout off at the mouth and your comment really does lack substance. He was screwed over and is a scapegoat of the AUS. Another player convicted of assault? Not sure which one, but I can assume, but I think Forbes is doing a wonderful job with this team. I Won't Be Back: I will be back to support the team and I will buy up your two season tickets. This is the best hockey in town! The overall process does suck! The current Athletic Director, Ron Annear should have been notified in advance that he was going to be replaced and put back in his old position. However, noone that has a job or career has the right to expect to sit in that position forever and often is the case, become stagnant. I support change if it is for the better! I do not support how this was done! Bill Schurman will bring university sports to new heights, and maybe in the near future we can host the nationals in good old Summerside.

  • Follower
    January 18, 2013 - 10:12

    UPEI are following the cover ups and secrecy Summerside operates under,any competiion of this calabre should be advertised and the proper process followed, not picking and choosing for someones gain, regardless of what these educators state, taxpayers money is a big part of opereating UPEI, so cut the crap, we are not all fools. One of these days UPEI will be front and centre of another law suit and again will be told what they can do and not do. Get with the times and cut the BS.

    • Former Islander Now Working In Alberta
      January 18, 2013 - 12:53

      "One of these days UPEI will be front and centre of another law suit and again will be told what they can do and not do. Get with the times and cut the BS" I am not sure what law suite you are referring to as there have been several over the past few years involving $100,000's of dollars that taxpayers ultimately had to pay. Has the UPEI "Tourism Research Centre" settled the law suite brought forward by the whistle blower a few years ago concerning payments to a certain finance faculty member of the School of Business who was operating a private business under virtually the same name and pocketing all the sales revenue while ACOA and the Dept of Tourism got all the expenses? Has that legal bill been tendered to taxpayers yet?

  • GRADUATE
    January 18, 2013 - 10:01

    These people run a business school, I think that didn't read their Human Resources text book on hiring and firing people. The University has to take responsibility for this mess. No more donations, when you call I will tell why !

  • former islander
    January 18, 2013 - 09:54

    Given the number of jobs Schurman has held over the past several years, one can pretty well rest assured this will be a "short-term" contract.

  • J. Macdonald
    January 18, 2013 - 09:14

    Thank you Dave Stewart and the Guardian. Some excellent investigative reporting. I asked for questions to be answered and you did just that. Something seems very strange at UPEI, to the best of my knowledge, the last two AD's have been hired without going through an interview process. Both got placed into the job. Does the Board and the University not feel it is a job worthy enough to hold an interview process? Why would they not want the best possible person hired for the job? Why not spend a couple of weeks and interview? Everyone knows where this will end up, the university's is not fooling anyone.

  • benbarr
    January 18, 2013 - 09:11

    folks, it is the way life works,if you are not happy with someone's performance,you replace him or her. life is always like this. DNA has a lot to do with all this.

  • Politically Saavy
    January 18, 2013 - 08:53

    If the University of Prince Edward Island is"navigating through tough financial times" then some serious questions need to be asked about university leadership. Certainly, this would be a good time to extend the PEI Freedom of Information and Privacy legislation to include Island post-secondary institutions so that Island taxpayers could find out the real process behind hiring decisions (like this one) that have not included awarding the highest qualified applicant. with the position. Make it retroactive to when Freedom of Information legislation was originally enacted. This might also be a good time to ask where the annual funding increases are going. At a time when tenured faculty positions are not being replaced, thus increasing the reliance on sessionals, this might be the ideal time to ask why the same non-replacement hiring criteria is not applied to administrative support positions. Definitely, there is more here than meets the eye.

  • UPEI Business Alumni
    January 18, 2013 - 08:25

    I too will not be donating to UPEI athletics from here on out.

  • I won't be back
    January 18, 2013 - 08:24

    I agree with the former student quoted in the article. A public institution that treats its staff this poorly doesn't deserve our financial support. I will no longer donate to UPEI. I won't be renewing my season tickets next year.

  • Right thing
    January 18, 2013 - 06:18

    Schurman is a good hire. Annear needed to go after the public began to see that the hockey team is made up of thugs. A suspension, another player convicted of assault, this bunch gives the University a black eye. Annear had to go. As for Boudreau....not sad to see her go.

  • john macdonald
    January 18, 2013 - 06:05

    What a pathetic process,i hope there are others who lose their jobs over this,should start at the top.

  • guardianreader
    January 18, 2013 - 04:25

    I wonder when people wil truly get the fact this province is run by liberals Patonage patronage .com you dont advertise it makes it tougher for your people. also look at holland college a liberal baord a liberal staff . any other govemerment but liberals had of introduced the hst to these institutions they would be up n arms looking for rebates .

  • kyle
    January 18, 2013 - 03:16

    "UPEI doesn’t discuss the terms of one’s employment from a privacy perspective." The expenditure of public monies is different from that of a private company. In the latter the principals have the information. Islander rate payers are the pricipals in this case and their right to know trumps the privacy of Mr. Shurman and, even more so, the "privacy" of those entrusted with the public funds. There is a clear conflict of interests here and the public has a superior claim because there is no accountability without transparency. Anything else is a licence to steal.