Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another UAB Administrator Hits the Exits

The exodus of high-level administrators continues under the corrupt regime of President Carol Garrison at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Evidence continues to mount that my former employer has serious problems under its current "leadership." We've written extensively about numerous legal woes that are the direct result of poor management at UAB--and more lawsuits almost certainly are in the works.

Some of those legal actions involve faculty members who have taught on campus for 20 to 30 years. Now, it appears a number of longtime administrators are bailing out, too.

The latest is Sheila Sanders, who was UAB's vice president for information technology and chief information officer. She is set to become vice president for information services at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Cheryl Locke, former head of UAB Human Resources, and Gary Mans, former director of public relations, also have left UAB in recent months. And those are just the exits I know about.

Locke, like Sanders, now is at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Mans is at the University of Louisville. All three former UABers took positions that appear to be a step down from their former jobs. At best, they appear to be lateral moves.

UAB employees can retire with full benefits after 25 years of service, and Sanders probably had been at the university about that long. She simply might have decided to take retirement and start a new career elsewhere. It's also possible she didn't like what she was seeing at UAB.

Interestingly, Locke, Mans, and Sanders all had some connection to my unlawful termination.

Locke upheld my termination even though her own grievance committee found that I should not have been fired. When I asked Locke for a copy of the grievance committee's written report, she refused to provide it.

Mans posted a defamatory statement about me in the comments to an article about my termination on the Chronicle of Higher Education's Web site. Mans, apparently at the behest of President Garrison, stated that my firing was due solely to work-performance issues, when UAB's own grievance committee had found that I should not have been fired at all.

Sanders' involvement, to my knowledge, was less direct. One of her employees, Sean Maher, testified at my grievance hearing that he had been asked to monitor my computer usage for roughly a month. Interestingly, Maher did not indicate that he had been asked to monitor the computer usage of anyone else in my work area.

Maher said his investigation apparently was done to determine if I was writing my personal blog with university equipment. What did Maher find? He said his investigation showed that I did not type the first word of my blog on my work computer, which I knew all along. I also didn't research my blog at work, as UAB seemed to allege in it's vague termination letter.

Was Sheila Sanders uncomfortable that her department was being asked to conduct a bogus witch hunt against a 19-year employee who had not violated any university policy? Was Sanders uncomfortable with other tasks that were being asked of her department, perhaps targeting other UAB employees in inappropriate and perhaps unlawful ways?

Here's the most interesting question of all: Was Sanders aware that research fraud that first surfaced at UAB in 2001 is still going on--and with a new administration in Washington vowing to crack down on Medicare fraud--did she decide that now was a good time to "get out of Dodge"?

I first met Sheila Sanders probably 20 years ago, when she and I were both early in our UAB careers. She seemed like a sharp, well-intentioned person, and she steadily worked her way up to become a vice president.

The vast majority of people I've met at UAB are good people who do productive and valuable work. Sheila Sanders appeared to be one of those kind of people. But I've seen some people who, as they moved into the management side of things, checked their consciences at the door. Could Sheila Sanders have turned into one of those types, in an effort to climb the ladder? I hope not.

If Sanders is hoping to find a quiet, peaceful environment at Wake Forest, she might be in for a rude awakening. A source tells Legal Schnauzer that a potentially major employment-related legal case could be breaking at Wake Forest soon, with Cheryl Locke in the middle of it. The case involves information technology, so Sheila Sanders could wind up in the middle of it, too.

Interestingly, the case involves some of the same issues that have plagued UAB in recent years. If Sanders is not familiar with the case, she probably will be very soon.

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