Thu | Feb 25, 2021

Top-heavy! - CMU had large leadership structure

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2021 | 4:13 AM
SHIRLEY
SHIRLEY

Chairman of the Council of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Gordon Shirley, has revealed that the new council appointed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in January 2020 found a senior management structure with 15 officers at the level of vice-president or heads of centres reporting to the president.

“This expansive structure was never presented to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service for approval,” the CMU council chairman outlined in documents filed in the Supreme Court.

According to Shirley, the breaches of good governance discovered at the university were reflected in the large and unwieldy organisation structure which became worse when the then Caribbean Maritime Institute transitioned into a university in 2017.

The disclosure comes against the background of a court battle between the CMU and its registrar after the latter claimed he was being forced out of his position in an unlawful manner.

The website of The University of the West Indies (UWI) highlights its senior administrative structure headed by a campus principal and 10 other senior administrative posts, including heads of faculties.

The installation of a new council at the CMU came after members of the former Hyacinth Bennett-led council resigned in the wake of the findings of a special audit of the institution by the auditor general.

HUMAN RESOURCES

The report, tabled in Parliament in January 2020, found that the CMU’s council and management did not provide adequate oversight and the then president, Fritz Pinnock, made decisions that undermined his fiduciary responsibility to the university. It also stated that the CMU’s management breached the university’s human resources policy, and procurement and contract management practices undermined value for money objective.

Pinnock is not presently serving as president of the university but is reportedly on interdiction.

At the same time, Pinnock, former education minister Ruel Reid, his wife Sharen, their daughter Sharelle, Pinnock and Brown’s Town division councillor, Kim Brown Lawrence, are facing corruption charges.

One of the first assignments for the new CMU council was the commissioning of a review of the organisational structure of the university.

William Iton, consultant and retired registrar of The UWI, carried out the review of the CMU.

“The specific objective of the consultancy was to develop a more efficient and effective organisational structure with clear lines of accountability and one which is consistent with that of reputable universities internationally,” Shirley reported.

Iton’s final report was presented to the council in August last year. The final report has been presented to the Ministry of Finance and Public Service for consideration and approval of the recommendations.

The final report contains recommendations affecting several positions and posts currently existing within the university.

editorial@gleanerjm.com