Monday, August 16, 2010

Who's running CMS HR?

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employee who asked not to be named e-mailed recently to ask why Chief Human Resource Officer Maurice Ambler had "disappeared from the 2010-11 directories without any explanation."

"During this critical time of hiring teachers, filling vacancies, and determining what positions will be reinstated with the additional money CMS just received, how can the district not have an HR point person?" the e-mail asked.

As I've reported before, Ambler's contract expired June 30 and wasn't renewed. Superintendent Peter Gorman has declined to provide the reason; personnel decisions are considered confidential.

Executive Director Kim Brazzell has been acting as interim director since Ambler left, with Chief Operating Officer Hugh Hattabaugh overseeing the personnel system, Gorman says. Meanwhile, former principal Mike Mathews continues to serve in a human-resources consulting job that was created for him, making more (almost $143,000) than Ambler was.

Gorman says he decided it would be less disruptive to find a new HR boss after schools open. He said he expects to do a search and hire a local candidate.

Meanwhile, expect to hear updates this week about any vacancies that are lingering as CMS and other N.C. public schools approach the Aug. 25 opening day. Unresolved questions about how much county and federal money will be available for hiring teachers have left everyone wondering exactly how many classroom jobs will be filled, and when.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ambler's mishandling of the first round of layoffs last year is probably still costing CMS. Mike Matthews was put in place to "run" things while Ambler was still there. Rumor is that Ambler wasn't even in town all spring, despite his contract.

Anonymous said...

One of Peter Gorman great hires from the business world.

Anonymous said...

It's a mess. Class sizes are huge and choice is absent. All part of his plan no doubt, to prove teachers aren't competent.

Anonymous said...

CMS needs a true HR professional running HR. Usually, former staff members without any HR experience can't do the job well--can't think "outside the box".

Anonymous said...

perrWaiting until school opens to select a chief, is evidence that Gorman does not have a clue about value added HR leadership. Stop by any major corporation and observe who's hand the CEO is holding.Chief HR on one side and Chief Financial on the other. A reduction in staff environment should not be absent of a seasoned HR professional unless you don't value human capital.

Anonymous said...

Why was a position created for Matthews? A principal with no HR experience?
Sounds like a cover up for something juicy-

Anonymous said...

Anne:

Take a look at this and wouldn't it be great if you asked Pete when they'd be filling out their application.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2010/08/edujobs_guidance_is_available.html

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Ann. Not Anne :)

And I can tell you, even teachers hired late can help schools with 35+ per class.

Anonymous said...

Personally I'm glad Ambler is gone. He mishandled so many layoffs and other personnel issues that it's amazing CMS doesn't have more lawsuits in the works. The fact is, there is a right and wrong way to handle all HR issues, even difficult ones, and Ambler had no idea how to do that. Cracking jokes and making harrassing comments while laying off people was definitely a no-no and with that kind of behavior in large group meetings, there's no telling how he handled himself in individual employee situations. A trained HR person is definitely needed, but then again, it would require a lot of heavy handing to get around all of the rule-breaking behavior of the current HR staff.

Anonymous said...

HR has been an issue for CMS for many years. When Bright Beginnings was just getting started and looking for teachers, I called to inquire about applying for a position. I had a background in both special ed early childhood education--had helped start a program similar to Bright Beginnings in a well respected school system in Texas and was one of the co-authors of the system's curriculum. However, the first question asked was--do you have a NC teaching certificate? No, I replied, I did not as we had just moved here. "Call us when you are certified" and click--that was the end of the conversation. I've heard this over and over through the years--very unhelpful personnel in that department.

Anonymous said...

Just to mix things up...

How about moving from HR to PR sometime next week?

One of my favorite school stories;
After an inappropriate website made the news last year involving students at a CMS school (I think Eric Frazier was the reporter), a group of students at the same school responded by creating a "love" website. One enthusiastic student said to me, "You should see it! Everyone is saying nice things about everyone else".

How about taking a criticism break the first day of school and sharing positive CMS stories?

Yes, we can! (a little humor never killed anyone, folks)

Anonymous said...

An enterprise with 18,000 employees and no HR leader, this is absurd. Gorman would never succeed in a for profit organization without more respect for the HR function.Human Resources is being led by a principal(removed from his school for disciplinary reasons), a CMS home grown secretary(eventually got degree by never stepping on a colleg campus)and an Accountant(personality of a wet mop). Atrue HR professional will have a ton of work to do. Hang on!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:02 your key word of respect is what has been missing for the last three decades and has now come to a head the last four years. The lack of respect for all CMS personnel by the public, the school board, the county commission and now the rest of the state is disheartening. The HR fiasco is symptomatic of a regime of smoke and mirrors enabled by a traumatized and dysfunctional school board. There is no longer a believable, driving, inspirational force in CMS school leadership and the future needs more than a day of levity in the continuing saga of musical chairs.

Anonymous said...

Anne, Please ask your editorial team to print this article in the newspaper. This will also make a good story for your news partner at WCNC, Stuart Watson.

Anonymous said...

There may not be a point person in HR but TFAs are pouring in. Just found out that after several qualified candidates interviewed for a teaching position, the only person with OUT a teacher's license got the position and didn't even interview for it. You guessed right...TFA.

Anonymous said...

PRINCIPALS HIRE TEACHERS

Nothing has been clearer than Dr. Gorman's plan that principals will be accountable for everything at the school level. The only negative of not having a seasoned pro leading HR is some lack of support for the principals. Hope this is just temporary but those leaders at the school level can backstop this problem....if it is even one.

During the last round of budget cuts part of the discussions centered on operating the school system without the Learning Centers. The point from some on the board being to get rid of a level of management. The real point was that CMS would have to make do with fewer managers.

Gorman has shown that in a data driven plan managers are an unavoidable expense. As budget cuts have been necessary, he's defended keeping many positions that seem redundant. Having no permanent HR director is fewer managers. Sharing the responsibilities of unfilled slots was the guidance from the school board.

In conclusion, CMS must find ways to operate with less money per student, fewer managers, fewer teachers, less of everything......except achievement.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

And yet, Bolyn, from your comments under the topic Assignment Apathy it appears you think CMS should return to a busing for diversity model. How does that square with operating with less money?

cedric said...

we'll be spending more money anyway subsidizing for-profit prisons to house the kids "ya'll" don't want bused. but that's ok, because it's good ol' American capitalism. Invest in your purse not being snatched and let your kid get bused another 2 miles.