On their way out, current President Susan Herbst and other University of Connecticut officials have racked up vacation days beyond the university’s policy of 60. While this would be allowed once, records show that over a dozen such professionals, including Herbst herself, rolled over 60 days multiple times.
While readers are likely to gawk at the incredible totals that these administrators who broke the rules might be getting — $73,287 not counting Herbst, who gave up her bonus pay for bonus days — the more problematic issue is the failures in the system that allowed this mistake to happen.
UConn is much more stringent than even other Connecticut state agencies when it comes to vacation day policies. Basically, UConn allows its faculty to accrue 60 days of vacation time per year that they can roll over to the next. In addition, they allow this limit to be ignored once, as Herbst did in 2014 with 60.75 days.
The problem is the word “once.” The university has repeatedly allowed multiple administrators to skirt around this part of the rule, allowing hundreds of bonus days to be rolled over. This wouldn’t be a problem if these administrators actually used these days, but instead it seems like they just compound the interest. This issue came to a head, then, when these administrators tried to leave with bonuses for their ill-gotten vacation days.
Regardless of how this policy may seem, the flagrant disregard for the system is concerning. Perhaps UConn should be more permissive like the rest of the state’s employee systems, but this isn’t a case where civil disobedience is necessary to make that point. If these administrators have a problem with the system, they should bring this up and work to change it, not repeatedly disobey the rules.
In the past, UConn has shown many times over that it has a problem with oversight. Professors have recently been found embezzling funds, and of course there was the issue with a deceased professor being sent checks from the university for months after passing. Obviously every system has its scandals, but why are they so commonplace and so rampant here?
Clearly, UConn is having trouble administrating the vast funds and responsibilities it has. This is especially concerning at a university that already has some administrative bloat that needs trimming. Perhaps streamlining is in order. Either way, something needs to change.