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The University of North Dakota and NEPOTISM:

Source: North Dakota Financial & Compliance Audit

From a listing supplied by UND of employees who were related and employed in the same department, we reviewed the payroll records of the employees for possible cases of nepotism. Our review indicated three violations of the Board of Higher Educationís (BHE) policy on nepotism, as follows:

(a) The head of a department in the College of Engineering signed the notice of appointment/appointment revision twice for his wife. Once for the period February 1, 1997 through March 31, 1997 and again for the period April 1, 1997 through April 15, 1997;

(b) The Chairman of UNDís Physical Therapy Department signed the notice of appointment/appointment revision for his wife. In addition, the Chairman was involved in her annual performance evaluation. On April 2, 1997 the Chairman wrote a memorandum to the Executive Associate Dean regarding his wifeís faculty evaluation in which he summarizes her strengths and goals. Per the BHE minutes of November 4, 1993, the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research was assigned the responsibility for evaluations, salary, promotions, etc.;

(c) The Chairman of the English Department signed the notice of appointment/appointment revision for his daughter.

 

BHE Policy 603.3 states that the head of a department or institution may not appoint a member of his or her immediate family to a position under his or her control or direction. In addition, the BHE policy states when two or more members of the same immediate family are employed in the same department or institution, the head of the department or institution shall reassign responsibility for performance evaluations, salary recommendations, disciplinary actions and other supervisory authority as necessary in order to eliminate any conflict or potential conflict of interest in the exercise of that authority.

The finding cites three violations of BHE policy on nepotism at the University:

The first situation cited involved the head of a department in the College of Engineering appointing his spouse to a temporary position under an Instructional Development Grant during the period February 1 to April 15, 1997 for a total of $1,700. That appointment was also signed by the college dean. We will review University policies regarding nepotism with this college and Academic Affairs, noting that temporary part time appointments are subject to review for compliance with nepotism policies.

The second situation cited involved the Physical Therapy Department where the department chairís wife is a faculty member. The University has followed BHE policy on nepotism in this situation in that (1) the wife was appointed to a permanent position in Physical Therapy January 1, 1993, prior to the appointment of the husband as the department chair, and (2) upon the husbandís appointment as department chair, in accordance with BHE Policy 603.3, responsibility for performance evaluations, salary recommendations, disciplinary actions and other supervisory authority was reassigned to the Executive Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Research by the Dean of the Medical School. The three notice of appointment/appointment revision forms in question were signed by either the Executive Associate Dean or the Dean of the Medical School. These two individuals are the Physical Therapy Department Chairís superiors in the chain of command and would not subordinate their judgement in signing appointments or performing evaluations to that of the chairman. The notices include a $960 payment in fiscal year 1998, a $1,450 payment in fiscal year 1997, and a third revision which did not involve additional compensation, bur rather changed the budget code (i.e. the fund numbers charged) on her permanent position. The Executive Associate Dean has stated that he performed evaluations of the wife for every year since 1994. To avoid any possible appearance of nepotism, the Physical Therapy Department Chairman will be advised not to sign notice of appointment/appointment revision forms for his wife.

The third situation cited involved the English Department. The individual in question has been a lecturer in the department, reappointed each year since 1984, with the department chair approving the appointment each year. During fiscal year 1998, her father was appointed chair of the department and signed her appointment for 1998. The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences also signed that appointment. This individual is under the direct supervision of the Director of Composition for the composition courses she teaches and under the direct supervision of the Creative Writing Coordinator for the creative writing courses she teaches. She is not under the direct supervision of her father. We will advise the department that as long as her father is department chair, someone else should sign her appointment.

Source:  State of North Dakota, North Dakota Financial & Compliance Audit, Fiscal years ended June 30, 1997 and 1996.

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