Deconstructing the Document
Last spring, Concordia decided to do an external audit of the human resource processes related to its senior management following a slew of departures, resignations and costly buyouts over the past few years at the university.
“We asked a few firms to make us a proposal,” explained Concordia Board of Governors Chair Norman Hébert. “The audit committee felt that [PricewaterhouseCoopers] had a good background in academia in terms of files and the prices were about the same—so we went with PwC.”
The Audit Committee of Concordia University asked PwC to look into and analyze several aspects of the university’s decision-making process regarding the departure of members of its senior management.
This meant looking into the communication process, as well as focusing on issues of confidentiality, responsibility, timing and control of information.
All told, the document makes 17 recommendations for Concordia.
These recommendations can be divided into three distinct categories: the decision-making process regarding the departure of senior administrators, the process for reaching a settlement and the control of information, communication and confidentiality.
PwC suggests implementing guidelines as to who should have decision-making authority in the cases of various levels of senior administration dismissals, and poses that the bylaws be updated to clarify the process of consultation with the BoG.
When reaching a settlement, the review suggests that employment contracts be standardized and that severance amounts be subject to a third-party review.
Recommendations suggest that confidentiality of information be reinforced and that factual reasons for the administrator’s departure be made public.
The report’s findings are based upon both documents pertaining to and discussions with both current and former ConU employees and Board of Governors members.
PwC states clearly that they have not verified the completeness nor the accuracy of the information they were provided, nor did they perform their own computations in regards the severance amounts—they relied on Concordia’s given information.
PwC also states that if any information is later brought to their attention that existed at the time of the report, they reserve the right to revise their findings.