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Prairie State Chair's Stepdad Nabs Full-Time Administrative Position

The college's faculty representative is fuming about the board's decision to appoint Leo Alexander to a human resources position during a time when the board is actively fighting nepotism among the faculty.

Board of Trustees Chair Jacqueline Agee's stepfather has been appointed to yet another $80,000-a-year job at Prairie State College, but this time it isn't temporary, according to a college official.

Leo Alexander, who was appointed to the position of Temporary Director of Labor Relations just over a year ago, was made the Assistant Director of Human Resources at the board's Dec. 14 meeting, according to Faculty Representative John H. Flannigan. 

Read: Prairie State Chair Agee In Hot Seat After Stepdad's $80K Hire

Furthermore, the board upgraded the position from a higher-level clerical job to an administrative one, according to Flannigan.

But the status of the position was not the only change. The minimum education requirements decreased from a master's degree to a bachelor's degree to fit Alexander's credentials, Flannigan added.

"In the past the board has never been this brazen," Flannigan said. "But the board has always caused the most trouble for themselves when they have attempted to influence the hiring of people and push for the candidacy of a friend or relative and then not have a search for the position."

Flannigan said he thinks the board had this move planned for some time now.

"To have somebody already in mind for the job, it just smacks of a corrupt process," Flannigan said during a Jan. 31 board meeting earlier this year.

While Agee has yet to respond to Patch for comment, she maintaines that the initial hiring of Alexander did not violate board policy.

In spite of Alexander's appointment, the board passed a nepotism policy at its Dec. 4 meeting. The catch is that it only applies to Prairie State employees, not the board. 

Trustee Wendell Mosby opposed the policy during a voting session at the Oct. 30 meeting, saying it was the board's way of retaliating against faculty that opposed Alexander's initial hiring. Mosby then walked out of that meeting and removed the quorum, which led to his censure last week.

Read: Prairie State Board Censures Trustee After Strategic Walk-out

"In my heart of hearts I felt (the nepotism policy) was specifically retaliation because of that hire," Mosby said. "I know that’s all it was. It was like ‘take that.'"

There is a definite divide between the faculty and the board because of perceived cronyism, nepotism and favoritism, according to Flannigan. Mosby also noted a sour relationship between the two sides.

"It always feels like it's us against them and not us working together," Mosby said.

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cornell hudson December 15, 2012 at 12:41 AM
This hiring stinks.
Juvenal December 30, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Whether the hire is legit or shady, to do this at a time the Board is considering the nepotism issue means that Agee no longer has the ability to lead the institution, she gave up her moral authority (or her father in law took it) for $80k a year plus benefits...

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