San Francisco City College Records Show Huge Errors in Payments to Instructors

City College of San Francisco records indicate that many instructors have been overpaid and others underpaid, leaving “hundreds of full-time faculty members … caught up in the tangled puzzle of who owes what to whom,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported May 15.

A nursing instructor could be owed $360,591, while an engineering teacher could be asked to pay back $144,464 in excess compensation, the newspaper reported, adding that the errors involve more than $11 million in public funds.

The Chronicle reported: “The cliffhanger started with an internal audit presented to the trustees in January that revealed City College had been paying faculty for work they did not do. ‘In essence, faculty employees did not teach or taught less than required for a full-time faculty, but were paid their full salary,’ according to the audit that examined school finances for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The auditors blamed a ‘lack of monitoring and oversight.’ The Chronicle asked City College for the public records showing the details behind the audit, which included no numbers. College officials sent a spreadsheet listing all 566 full-time faculty members. The document showed that 178 faculty members had been paid $5.4 million beyond what they had worked. It also showed that 231 other faculty members had worked more than required – in some cases, apparently racking up double and triple the required hours – yet were not paid for the time. That amounted to $5.7 million.”

When the newspaper contacted faculty members for comment, they said they knew nothing about owing or being owed money.

“The college’s spreadsheet showed the smallest amount owed was $37, to a math instructor,” the Chronicle reported. “But others were owed thousands of dollars, including more than $100,000 each to 10 employees: a biology teacher, a sociology teacher and eight nursing instructors.”

The auditor said the college has improved its process, now requiring faculty to sign off on time worked and time banked. The auditor also said department chairs will adjust future faculty assignments “to address large positive or negative balances.”

Engineering instructor Soneji Hitesh, listed as having been paid $144,464 for work he didn’t do, said the listing is in error. “I was on a leave of absence for a couple of years,” he told the Chronicle. “My hunch is that the audit didn’t catch that. This is a total surprise to me, and I believe it’s an error. But if I really do owe that, I’d like to figure out why. And if that was really the case, I’d pay it back. But I don’t believe that’s the case.”

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