The human resources audit of University College of the Cayman Islands commenced at the beginning of the year, amid a period of clarifications and changes to hiring practices at the public university.
The HR audit is being conducted by the government’s Internal Audit Unit.
In past years, UCCI did not obtain work permits for non-Caymanian employees nor did it recruit for their positions when their contracts were being renewed, according to recently released minutes from the UCCI Board of Governors’ Audit and Finance Committee.
“UCCI was aware in 2015 of the need for employees without Caymanian status or PR with the right to work to have their positions recruited at time of contract renewal,” according to the minutes of the 7 Dec. 2021 meeting.
“Current management is not sure when that practice was abandoned, but it was not the practice when the current HR manager joined UCCI in 2018. Additionally, no work permits were being secured for non-Caymanian employees at that time either. In fact, former President McAfee was the only employee at UCCI that held a work permit,” according to the minutes.
Roy Bodden was President of UCCI from October 2009 to December 2018. He was succeeded by Stacy McAfee in January 2019.
McAfee herself was affected by UCCI’s changed approaches to work permits and renewal notices.
On 31 May 2021, McAfee sent a letter to the UCCI Executive Board stating her intention to seek renewal of her contract.
The Board, now under the leadership of Chairman Gilbert McLean, first met to consider McAfee’s letter on 27 Sept. With McAfee’s contract set to expire 31 Dec., the Board cited a lack of time to advertise the President and CEO position and eventually offered her a 6-month contract extension.
McAfee refused the extension offer and ‘demitted’ her position when her work permit expired 30 Nov. 2021
During its 7 Dec. meeting, the committee sought clarification on when UCCI must obtain work permits for existing employees who are on contract, and whether individuals with 6-month exemptions for work permits must be terminated if they don’t receive permanent residency by the conclusion of the exemption.
The issue of work permits also arose during the 6 Jan. 2022 meeting of the full UCCI Board, specifically in regard to adjunct lecturers.
As opposed to tenured (or tenure-track) professors, adjunct lecturers typically have short-term contracts to teach a limited set of classes, often on a part-time basis and in addition to their employment elsewhere.
According to the meeting minutes, Acting President and CEO J.D. Mosley-Matchett said that “a quick turnaround for work permits” for adjunct lecturers was necessary because add/drop classes were to begin the next week.
The Board agreed for Chairman McLean to “liaise with the Ministry [of Education] in regard to adjunct work permits.”
During the 6 Jan. meeting, McLean confirmed that UCCI had signed an “Internal Audit Service Level Agreement with the Government” and the HR Audit began 4 Jan. 2022.