Written by John Face
Photos by John Face
July 16, 2022
City Watch NEWS has learned that Albion College, the City of Albions top employer, is facing significant revenue loss, and this is going to cause layoffs in the coming weeks according to sources. On June 30 of this year a first round of Layoffs or job eliminations occurred with the affected employees being told not to share that information with the press. City Watch spoke with sources who said, “it almost seems like the employees were threatened”. When asked if they had direct knowledge of employees being threatened, the source said they did not directly hear it but spoke to one of the employees involved and that is how they took the “no talking to the press” statement.
Letter to Staff
City Watch has been given a copy of an email sent by Cathy Cole to staff on Friday July 15 at 4:40 P.M. Here is the email:
The subject line said “saving money just makes “cents”
This is a tough year, economically. Inflation is at record highs, the stock market is continuing to tumble and gas is at prices the likes of which we have never experienced. As much as this impacts your personal budget at home, it is also impacting our budget at Albion College.
Everyone at Albion College can be good stewards in managing the budget. We ask each department to come in under budget this year to help the institution meet its financial needs, build for the future and get through a difficult 2022.
Before spending any amount this fiscal year, please ask yourself, “Does this impact students?” If it does, how? Will they be impacted negatively? Will their experience be altered significantly? If not, do we really need to spend the money THIS year? Can the conference be put off until next year? Can we eke another year out of that copier? Can we not order those water bottles this year? Can we ask everyone to brown bag it for the lunch meeting and presentation? Can one person travel instead of four? Let’s take every opportunity we have to make “cents” out of our spending.
For this one year, we can work together to make a difference and save as much as we can, where we can. In the next few days, we will send out information about a spending approval process that will make saving easier. We will also send out information about how you can be a budget hero — one dollar at a time.
Look for the emails next week. We’ll also send invitations to fall Town Halls as we get closer to the beginning of the semester. A little “change” will help us all.
The Office of Business and Finance
It has been reported here on City Watch that Albion College has been dipping into their endowment funds for the last several years. According to sources the college is in the hole again to the tune of millions. Former college President Mat Johnson who resigned/Let go, depends on who you talk to, was hired by the Board of Trustees solely to raise money and help right the school finances. Instead, he spent money “like a drunken sailor” said one staff member. One needs to remember that Johnson had no real-life experience in a significant leadership role and that the last job he was at, Brown University, he was demoted for unspecified public reasons prior to coming to Albion.
He created departments and “schools” which in turn hired a significant number of staff, these newly hired Department heads, Johnson appointees, have not been released. Johnson was also making financial promises to every community organization and leader in Albion that would benefit him, promises that he never backed up and having the college paying off the huge debt of Dave Diemert’s former construction company to then turn around and place Diemert in a position of authority under the new construction company name of WG Construction Company now owned by the college. This venture has several employees at the college receiving scrutiny for their involvement in WG and the amount of money funneled through it.
Johnson was doing this all the while the college sunk deeper in debt. It’s been no secret by staff there were problems, but some were shocked at the level of debt the school carries.
Johnsons’ influence at Albion appears to continue. City Watch has spoken to two different employees who state they are aware of senior staff appointees of his who regularly talk to him. It is for this reason that many at the college still fear for their jobs. His high-level appointees have appeared to have a free pass and continue to hire employees. “During Johnsons purge” said one staffer, “he pushed out good people and brought in his flunkies to do his bidding”. The source continued that many are fearful that they will be released as these Johnson appointees and the people they hired remain.
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