Friday, August 03, 2007

Fire Adrian!!!!

It's not everyday that you see people calling for your head in the public square.

Of course I’ve been reading yesterday's Tribune article and the comments posted there ( And you can bet I’m losing some sleep over the comments that ASU employees and concerned family and friends are leaving there.

So, what are we doing about it?

First and foremost, Matt McElrath, Christine Cervantes, Carol Campbell and myself are scheduling an Open Forum for this coming Thursday (August 9th) to hear the community's concerns and discuss the issues. When we have a room and time booked, I will publish it here and send a blanket email to all employees. I'm also happy to meet personally with anyone and everyone who has a concern they would like to discuss privately (my email address is I appreciate that there are those who might be concerned about "retaliation” – that some of you might be uncomfortable speaking directly to a member of the university administration about your frustrations. All I can say is you need not fear speaking out.

Second, I’m opening the conversation here at my blog where comments come directly to me and I can publish them with responses.

Finally, and most importantly, the OASIS team is working tirelessly to correct the remaining implementation issues. They have worked very hard over the past year and a half to transition ASU's legacy administrative systems into the PeopleSoft environment and their efforts are laudable and hard fought. I encourage you to consider that they too are ASU employees and continue to work diligently to provide this community with the best managed PeopleSoft implementation possible. When the dust has cleared, I am confident their efforts will be judged a resounding success.

So we will meet publicly, discuss your concerns and produce from the discussion a better ASU administrative system.

And if that means we have to fire Adrian, then that's what it means.


Ann,  August 3, 2007 at 9:02 AM  

Adrian ~ How about just having funds for people who need them. People cannot buy food; pay rent or school things for their children. The attitude put out by OHR is one of they really don't care which was actually heard in an answer today at the DTA refresher when wonderful Paul Stoll had Elaine Moore and Andrea Owens on speaker phone. The smugness and self righteousness with which Elaine's answer was given and the same for the email from Christine Cervantes is so ugly and uncalled for. We are supposed to be a community, a type of family. I challenge you sir to come and tell my people to their faces that cannot pay their rent that "I'm sorry you will have to wait until the 15th". That was one of my questions today. When pressed they said if I could get all paper work required to HR they are doing another off cycle pay run for 8/10 that no one knew about and when asked what the deadline for this was we got complete silence and then "Today". I have more to do with my time then dancing to the tune of deadline is today, deadline is tomorrow. I can't get people hired because there is always a deadline at the last minute coming from OHR and then they have the audacity to cop an attitude AND send an email pointing fingers at the DTA's for causing all the troubles. I go home at night with a neck so tight from stress I can barely sleep. So I do not feel bad that you lay awake. Ann

Adrian Sannier August 3, 2007 at 11:09 AM  


I feel the frustration in your message and I know how difficult it can be to resolve a complex situation in a large organization, especially when things are changing so quickly.

ASU has set up official mechanisms to solve problems with pay, and we have used them to correct many -- probably most -- of the discrepancies. That said, sometimes we need some extra help. So if you will send me, by email, the names of the affected individuals that you need help for, I promise you I will help you resolve their issues quickly.

And I make that same offer to any other readers of this blog.

Ann, I appreciate the extra efforts you are exerting to get us through this challenging period. I assure you that it is not a waste of your time. ASU will be the better for having converted its legacy systems, but when the construction dust is in the air, it can be hard to see.

Please bear with us and keep helping. You are not alone...

Kristi,  August 3, 2007 at 12:09 PM  

Dr. Sannier,
Isn't it usually customary when converting such a large legacy system to a new one that the new system shadows the old system for a period of time to work out bugs before it goes live? As far as I know, this was not done with the HRMS to PeopleSoft conversion. Why is this?

I was involved in a payroll conversion at another university years ago, and we used one large department as a test case and had them on both systems until we knew all bugs were worked out. Only then were more departments added, until the entire university was successfully converted to a new system...with very little growing pains.

I'm curious to know why something like this wasn't done at ASU?


Judy Schultz August 3, 2007 at 12:47 PM  

Okay, I'll be second - I'm not real sure that the posts in the EVTrib will do much besides fire up the media and of course allow people to vent which is understandable. As far as "forums," Mr. Sannier, I think you will find that with payroll, people don't want to sit around talking about it, they just want to be paid, correctly and on time. How is there time for a "forum" but some people are waiting until 8/10 for corrections to a 7/31 payroll? I was shorted on both the 7/15 and 7/31 payrolls - the 15th, I survived and got the second one 7/19. With the 31st, I had some problems and finally got it resolved today, I was not so lucky as the 15th as far as smoothness. But here's the thing, no one was rude to me, no HR person acted inappropriately; what some people said they experienced on the EVTrib comments, I did not experience. But all that aside, someone didn't do their job and I ended up short un funds this weekend with automatice payments due in my bank the 4th, 5th and 6th and no second check until Monday the 6th for me to pick up, but I guess that beats waiting until an 8/10 payroll so I guess I'm lucky.

"System glitches" are always people-driven unless we have AI systems running the show. I don't buy the "new system" excuse either and no one should & I don't need a forum to try to convince me. I don't want to be told that what I'm seeing online as my upcoming pay really isn't right yet as one of your executives emailed me on 7/26 when I first noticed my payroll wrong again. "We're still working on payroll", he told me, and "one of the downsides of the new system is that info gets uploaded before it is correct". If it's on the screen, your department is responsible that the information on that screen be correct. No one needs a forum to talk about that, it's actually pretty simple. I can't upload my student's grades and then say to them or the Registrar "well, the grades really aren't right yet so ignore what's on your screen." Geez, this is not rocket science.

My advice to you is to do less forum-planning and get this thing fixed and get it right from here on in. I've been at ASU 5 years, people here are good, honest, nice people, - not all that different from folks in Iowa. Give them truth and show your word in actions, not just talk or forums. You came here to ASU, from what I gather, to implement a system. Unfortunately, implementing the system shouldn't ever be more important than the impact on the people that the system is intended to serve. I think outsourcing in general gets that order of priorities wrong.

Judy Schultz August 3, 2007 at 1:53 PM  

Just wanted to add that I don't think firing anyone now is a good idea...we'd have to start all over again with someone new or yet another system? Doesn't sound like a good plan to me. Maybe it's better to consider ourselves all stuck together in this mess and hopefully see it through to a good conclusion.

Adrian Sannier August 3, 2007 at 2:14 PM  


I realize that it can seem simple, but the fact is that replacing a payroll system for an institution the size of ASU is a complex undertaking. Obviously the OASIS team's goal was to deliver a correct and accurate paycheck for every employee and the team was successful for the vast majority of ASU's employees. We are all working together to correct the remaining payroll errors as quickly as possible.

I agree with you that people at ASU are good, honest, nice people. None of us should forget that the large number of ASU staff who have been working long hours for the past 18 months to implement this necessary upgrade to ASU's legacy system are also good, honest, nice people.

As for the forum, it isn't really intended to address payroll problems for specific employees. Its purpose is primarily to allow the staff from around the university who are involved in providing payroll services to raise issues that they feel are not being otherwise addressed.

But beyond that, I believe it's important to talk about issues like these out in the open, to make it clear that no one is trying to hide anything.

In the end, all of ASU's employees are on the same team. When we face challenges, we're much stronger if we all pull together.

c,  August 4, 2007 at 7:44 AM  

Kristi's question was polite and lucid and deserves a response. Please address this question.

Judy Schultz August 4, 2007 at 5:35 PM  

I am curious about Kristi's question, too - this idea of "shadowing," that she asks about is very interesting.

But I also must respond to "J's" comments: "The choice to live paycheck to paycheck is a personal one," and “Hey buddy, you really should manage your finances a bit more strictly,” or "it is that employee’s responsibility to prepare themselves for such events."

I'm sure that Dr Sannier would agree that those comments are not at all representative of his department's, ASU's or Dr Crow's philosophy. Once money is earned, a person does not have to justify that they need their paycheck, it has been earned, simple as that. It's just business really, a contract, the employee works, the employer pays as agreed. To tie this whole mess into any kind of commentary on any employee's personal finances is clearly ill-conceived, off topic and certainly falls into the category that "J" describes as "not helping anyone."

Even though I agree that Dr Crow has been good for ASU, if "J's" polemic post was meant to be supportive of Dr Sannier, Dr Crow or ASU, I'd say that the ideas presented in that tirade could do far more harm than good.

R,  August 5, 2007 at 1:13 AM  

Please address Kristi's question.

D,  August 5, 2007 at 5:16 AM  

Yes, please provide an answer Kristi's question.

Adrian Sannier August 5, 2007 at 5:42 AM  

For the record, I have not received, nor will I receive in the future, any form of bonus for delivery of the OASIS system. I have never sought such a bonus, nor has one ever been offered to me.

todd,  August 5, 2007 at 6:07 AM  

As someone who did not have a pay problem with this change but nevertheless finds this situation disturbing, I would like to add a few thoughts for everyone's consideration.

Besides the pressing need of people who still have pay problems, I believe there is a larger issue lurking here that the ASU administration needs to address.

If one were to ask the average person if it is ever acceptable for an employer to underpay or delay payment to an employee the answer would be an emphatic and unequivocal "No!" I can't imagine this even being an issue for debate amongst most people. Therefore the question arise, does ASU as institution believe it is ok for this sort of thing to happen to its employees. It seems from seeing how this situation has played out the message is that it is acceptable. This really is the only conclusion one can reach from the 1) obvious lack of an adequate and organized plan for addressing problems of short/late pay which would surely arise from going live with any new system and 2) the option being given employees to take out loans (with interest) or simply wait for the system to work itself out. Perhaps this is not the attitude of ASU as an institution but administration should be aware that this is what is being communicated to all employees. If this is the attitude of administration then fine, but if it is not then it would seem like a good idea to state this outright and take appropriate steps to make sure that in the future the problem of incorrect pay will be dealt with promptly and fairly.

From my own experience and others I know from well before Mr. Sannier or even President Crow's tenure at ASU, fixing incorrect paychecks in a timely fashion has been difficult if not impossible, with an attitude being conveyed that one was asking too much to simply expect the money owed you as an employee. I have always found this a puzzling approach to the issue and perhaps it is time that ASU as an institution makes a commitment take seriously this problem when it arises.

Kyle,  August 6, 2007 at 7:17 AM  

I cannot believe that you will not address Kristi's question. We all must see that this was a speedy transition for some reason($).

Adrian Sannier,  August 6, 2007 at 7:41 AM  

Kyle, I answered Kristi's question yesterday in a new blog posting called "Testing?"

DD,  August 6, 2007 at 11:11 PM  

Dr. Sannier,
One of the goals for the "New American University" is to generate economic growth. How is this possible when your employees aren't even being payed their full wages due to errors in a system you were in charge of implementing? Some of us have had to cut things out of our budget to adjust to the fact we are making less (if we are even being payed at all). How does this generate economic growth? DD

Crystal,  August 8, 2007 at 8:14 AM  

The location and time of the forum has not been posted yet. Did I miss an email?

Emily,  August 8, 2007 at 12:27 PM  

Perhaps I am succumbing to the dark side, but isn't it nice that people are at least getting the venting out? Although I have not been affected personally, I do hope that all of this public discussion will help fix everyone's broken paychecks faster.

That being said, a little less spin from ASU might have led to less disgruntlement in terms of the "missing paycheck" argument (we are only receiving 25/26 paychecks for this FY, or however the argument goes).

Hey, if the truth is that the entire ASU HRMS was about to come crashing down and that we had no choice to switch to Peoplesoft (the lesser of many evils, perhaps?), then perhaps we should have been given a "short-term sacrifices / bumpy ride" speech from Crow or Sannier. That might have helped prepare people for the rough ride ahead.

It still stinks that some people got shorted on their checks though. :(

Bruce,  August 10, 2007 at 4:05 AM  

I did not receive the “blanket email” that was supposed to be sent to all employees about this event. Maybe my finger just slipped and hit the delete key, bad finger! I am lucky in that I did receive a paycheck, but apparently in the new system I am not accruing any vacation time nor can I take vacation time since I am missing that option in PeopleSoft. I know they have bigger fish to fry...

Patrick Krecker August 17, 2007 at 7:00 AM  

Everyone makes it sound like Dr. Sannier's hands should personally have implemented all of these changes. Yes, he is in charge of the operation, but there is an enormous team working on upgrading an enormous system created in the 70's. Not just one, but many dramatic shifts have occured in the way these systems work since then. With enough time and money, a more graceful change may have been possible. It's my perception that it has been lack of these resources, not Adrian's talent, is to blame for these issues. Hey, if it weren't for him we probably would have experienced catastrophic system failure, in my opinion.