Love Letters and Hate Mail, August 22, 2013 Edition

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Editorial: A Eulogy for Glenn Poshard


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I always enjoy Chris Wissmann's editorials on SIU and Carbondale and enjoyed "A Eulogy for Glenn Pos
Peter Gregory

I always enjoy Chris Wissmann's editorials on SIU and Carbondale and enjoyed "A Eulogy for Glenn Poshard" [Nightlife, August 1]. Let me nitpick on one thing, the one problem that Poshard couldn't begin to work on at SIU was the incredible amount of featherbedding on campus. By featherbedding, I'm referring to people who should be fired, but are protected by "the system" or "Union Contracts."

You might think that I don't understand that there are many superstar staff members at SIU-- people who bleed Saluki maroon, who go far above and beyond the norm, to make SIU function. But, I do. Heck, I'm willing to count fifty percent or more of the SIU people in that great-performer category. What I'm talking about is the twenty percent of the staff who do nothing. Who sit in their offices and do ten hours of work a week (or less). The unstressed and lazy, who know they will never be fired, never be challenged to work. When you ask a superstar performer about the lazy, the best they can offer is, "SIU was put here to employ people in Southern Illinois. So we can't challenge the people who don't work."

It is so sad, and it is killing the institution. It is just bad management.

If I was the King of SIU, I would fire the worst ten percent of the staff. This would allow me to drop tuition twenty percent. And instantly, SIU would be back on the right track. Right now, the dead wood at SIU is killing it. The cost of nonperforming staff is paid by the students. The student count would go up instantly if SIU once again became the best value for a university education in Illinois. I have been through many layoffs of ten percent or more in my career. I know exactly how it feels. Lay off the lazy, and everyone who is left will be so happy. Layoff for political reasons and you are even worse off.

I don't know who is going to replace Poshard, but if they don't understand the most simple credo of management-- "It is lonely at the top"-- they are going to fare no better. If you need to play politics and worry about being loved, you are going to fail as president of the SIU system. Great leaders shoot for being respected and being right. Being loved is for losers, or the super successful after they retire.

Doing the right thing for SIU's future is going to be hard, because there is thirty years of mess to cleanup. I wish the next SIU president luck, they will need it.

-- Peter Gregory,

Carbondale