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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interesting Info On Hiring Process at UWSP Uncovered

Does This Hiring Process Sound Fair to You? Posted January 31, 2012 by Jerry Bader

"In late December 2010, The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point posted an online job announcement for a Curator of the Scarabocchio Museum, it is a property held by the City of Stevens Point, but operated by the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Through an open records request to UW Stevens Point, I learned the position was posted on December 22nd 2010, with an application deadline of 12/24/2010. Believe it or not, this is the minimum posting the state requires for such a position; three days! Interestingly, the three days chosen were just before Christmas, hardly strategic timing if you want the maximum number of qualified candidates to see it. In fact, one could argue that a three day search before Christmas might be strategic if you're hoping for the smallest number of people possible to see it while still meeting the legal requirement. The job pays $18.47 per hour. 
According to the documents I received in an open records request there were four applicants for this position; not surprising given it was posted from 12/22 to 12/24, a short period, right before Christmas.
The winning applicant was Brian Borchardt. As I said, the project appointment was scheduled to end January 3rd. I was told on January 20th Brian Borchardt was still Curator. I was told by a UWSP Media Relations official that the appointment hadn't been extended as of January 30.
Now meet Jeffrey Morin; he is Dean of the College of Fine arts and Communications at UW Stevens Point. Morin’s facebook page describes him as being in a domestic partnership with Brian Borchardt. Borchardt’s facebook page says the same about Morin, as you can see below:

The documents I requested include the following. What made the successful candidate stand out from the rest? Answer:
Mr. Borchardt’s experience in both the business and art worlds, his sense of mission and organizational abilities as well as his experience in dealing with a diverse range of people made him the ideal candidate from our perspective. He is also a self starter ( as evidenced by his resume and from interview questions) knows the community(he serves on several community arts-related committees and boards) and is eager to participate in expanding the purview of the Scarbocchio Museum
After a second open records request I received Borchardt's resume. It indicates he received a marketing degree from UW-Oshkosh in 1983. That is the only educational background mentioned. His professional background also doesn't indicate a strong art presence. He was Marketing Director at a cafe, Project Coordinator for Communication Logistics, a Catalog Manager for 4imprint, in Oshkosh, sold for the Fond du Lac Reporter Newspaper, and was Member Services Manager for the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce.
His related experience does include being a member of the Festival of the Arts Planning Committee, and Arts Bash Planning Committee. This is the resume of a Museum Curator?
I was told I could not have access to the resumes of the other three applicants. However, in the batch of documents from my original open records request was the resume of a woman who expressed an interest in "helping out" with the museum. She had a double major, Art and Art History from UW Stevens Point, but her professional background was largely in graphic design, as well as other unrelated experience.

On Monday I made another request of Kate Worster Executive Director
University Relations and Communications and Dean of the College of Fine Arts Jeffrey Morin. I explained that I came to look into this matter after a Stevens Point resident contacted me, expressing concerns of favoritism, given the relationship between Morin and Borchart. Worster claims Morin was in no way involved with the selection process. Here was the request I made Monday:

To both Dean Morin and Ms. Worster: Is it your position as Dean and is it the position of UWSP that this search was adequate to yield the very best candidate for this job?  Do you believe this search was conducted in a fashion that allowed the largest field of potential applicants possible to apply? Are you confident that the search was conducted in such a way that no reasonable person could be concerned of favoritism? If your answer is yes, please explain your answer.

Both Dean Morin's and Brian Borchardt's facebook page describe each other as being in a domestic partnership. Does this mean they live under the same roof? Does that not mean that Dean Morin's household income was impacted by the hiring of Mr. Borchardt?

Thank you again for considering these questions and the questions submitted last week. Again, I plan on doing a segment on this on Tuesday. In addition to airing in Wausau, it also airs in Green Bay and Sheboygan and covers a good chunk of the state. If I don't hear from you by then, I will inform  the audience of the inquires I made and report I received no response. If I receive responses after the segment airs, I will air them at that time. If either of you wish to contact the show once the segment begins, it airs on 550 AM and 99.9 FM in Central Wisconsin, 9am to 11am. It can also be streamed at The call in # is 888-455-1360. And just to be clear, I'm asking these in addition to those previously sent. Thank you again for your consideration.
Morin did not respond. Here is the response I received from Worster:
You raise some good questions regarding the timing. While our process was legal, we could have done better and will take a closer look at timing in the future. While we have received no complaints and hired a qualified individual, we thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Yes, as a matter of fact, I do raise some good questions. Unfortunately Worster and Morin chose not to answer them. If he and Borchardt share a residence, this hire benefits Morin directly. We have to take Worster's word that Morin wasn't involved in this process. A search is held for just 3 days, the three days before Christmas, yielding four candidates and the best choice ends up being the domestic partner of the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, whose resume presents no direct professional experience related to this job.
Worster's answer above is laughable. "We received no complaints." How many people know enough about the process to complain? "...while our process was legal, we could have done better and will take a closer look at timing in the future." As if this shoddy search was simply an oversight? A mistake? Is this the first one they've ever done? Morin's unwillingess to answer questions speakers louder than any response he could have offered. I shared a concern from the public that this hire was orchestrated for the benefit of his domestic partner and he chooses not to respond. In fact he hid behind Worster both times I sought comment from him.
I've presented everything I learned. I'll allow you to reach your own conclusion. But to summarize: the domestic partner of the dean got a job with a flimsy resume and a 3 day search right before Christmas that yielded a whopping 3 other candidates, whose resumes we can't see. Is it possible Borchardt is qualified for this position? It's possible. Is it possible this search yielded the best possible candidate? Possible, but extremely unlikely. Is it possible this search was actually intended to find the best possible candidate? It's possible, in that "time travel is possible", sort of way.
It appears that Worster is right; no rules were broken. But the three day minimum post rule that state now has is insane. It invites abuse. It needs to be changed and ths hiring decision needs a closer look before this appointment is extended, if the plan is to extend it."

Source: Jerry Bader


patrick.testin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Kenneth Noble said...

What is your comment, Pat?