Tue | Oct 26, 2021

Shirley, Broomfield clash over CMU vice-presidency

Published:Monday | January 25, 2021 | 12:13 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Professor Gordon Shirley.
Professor Gordon Shirley.
Dr Mark Broomfield
Dr Mark Broomfield
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Registrar and administrative vice-president of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Dr Mark Broomfield, has filed a notice of application for leave for judicial review in the Supreme Court challenging the decision by the university to advertise his position and for seeking to dismiss him.

While that legal battle looms, the university has disclosed that efforts are being made to establish that position quickly to respond to the legal claims now pending against the CMU.

The holder of the position is also expected to perform a critical role in implementing the necessary changes to the administrative and academic structure of the university in order to address the pressing human resource management issues.

The CMU advertised for the post of vice-president of administration/university registrar in November 2020.

Broomfield is seeking an order from the court declaring “the act of converting, advertising, and seeking to deny” him of his post of registrar unlawful and a nullity.

Another option suggested by Broomfield is that the court mandate the university to fully compensate him for deprivation of income from the date of any filling of his post to his lawful age of retirement.

However, chairman of the CMU Council, Gordon Shirley, in his affidavit to the court, said that lawyers for the university have advised him that the application for leave to apply for judicial review is misconceived and ought to be dismissed.

The CMU denied the registrar’s claim that there was any attempt to remove him from his job, except as provided by law.

Both parties are scheduled for a hearing before the Supreme Court today.

DENIED HIS RIGHT

Broomfield stated that he was denied his right under the CMU Act to a grievance hearing after raising objections to his post being advertised, an allegation that Shirley challenged, claiming that the registrar “did not indicate that he had a grievance or sought to engage the grievance procedure”.

The CMU registrar said he was adversely affected by the decision of the university.

Broomfield said that on Charter Day, September 28, 2017, when the Caribbean Maritime Institute became the CMU, he transitioned into the role of registrar as set out in the legislation establishing the university and remains the duly appointed registrar.

He asserted that any attempt to remove him would redound to unlawful dismissal. Further, the registrar said that the advertisement of his post and selection exercise had the effect of dismissing him.

He is also contending that the decision by the council of the CMU to convert, advertise and seek to fill his post breached the Caribbean Maritime University Act of 2017.

In making his case for judicial review, Broomfield, the holder of a Doctor of Information Science degree from the Nagoya University in Japan, stated in court documents that he was more than qualified for the post advertised as vice-president/university registrar.

The position requires a master’s degree and 10 years’ experience, the registrar said, qualifications he has reportedly exceeded.

Broomfield is a career public servant of about three decades.

But Shirley, in his affidavit, said that Broomfield’s qualification does not necessarily make him suitable for the post of vice-president administration/university registrar.

According to the CMU, the appropriate academic qualifications would include postgraduate studies in education, management, and law. “These qualifications are preferable to postgraduate qualification in narrow technical specialisations in the sciences, engineering, or the arts,” Shirley said.

In addition to the appropriate academic qualification, the holder of the post should also have the requisite experience to function effectively as a member of a small group of senior managers to achieve the desired transformative outcomes for the university, the CMU outlined in its submission to the court.

Broomfield said he has suffered “arbitrary ridicule and questioning of his qualification to be registrar and has been sidelined, disrespected, and disregarded”.

The CMU said that the position of vice president administration/university registrar was advertised internally on November 11, 2020, and externally on November 25, 2020.

According to the university, at the expiration of the date for application, Broomfield did not apply for the position.

The university’s lawyers have advised that the institution is entitled to make positions redundant provided that the CMU complies with the law during any redundancy process.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com