Kutztown University Manager Quits and Blows the Whistle on Long-Standing Mistreatment of Workers

"Their approach was belittle, demean, suppress, beat down"

BREAKING [3/31 @ 2:45 pm] : Just moments ago, KU Vice President of Administration and Finance sent an email to the Facilities Team, announcing that Jeff Grimm, Director of Facilities, is retiring. 

Kutztown University’s Campus Grounds Supervisor, Cory Lapp, abruptly resigned his position on March 6th because of his disgust with the hostile work environment in the Facilities department. In an exclusive interview with Raging Chicken Press, Lapp explained that he quit largely because of the managing style of Director of Facilities Business and Campus Services, Kimberly Rhode, and Assistant Director of Campus Services, Will Meeker. Lapp characterized their managerial practices as “unfair treatment of their workers through micro managing, manipulation, deceitfulness, bullying, berating, belittling.”

In a March 10th letter he sent to several members of the Kutztown University administration and a few of his former co-workers, Lapp stated, “I have never in my life…worked in such a hostile working environment and it truly disgusts me how I was treated as well as how some of my crew workers…were treated.”

As a measure of just how bad things were, consider that Lapp began his job as Campus Grounds Supervisor only this past November. Before moving his family to Kutztown, Lapp owned and operated a successful landscaping business in North Carolina. The move back to his native PA meant being closer to family. Taking the position as Campus Grounds Supervisor at KU, “gave me that opportunity, so I moved my wife (a KU alumni) and one-year-old daughter over 500 miles back to Pennsylvania with tremendous optimism.” According to Lapp, it only took one day for him to feel the “tremendous tension within the department.”

In his letter, Lapp points to a systemic pattern of harassment by the Director of Facilities Business and Campus Services, Kim Rhode, and Assistant Director of Campus Services, Will Meeker. Lapp says Rhode and Meeker had a “militant managing style.” For example, Lapp claims that Will Meeker had certain workers he did not like and he “encouraged me to…make their jobs as difficult as possible.” According to Lapp, Meeker even went as far as as saying that he wouldn’t care if Lapp made one worker in particular “cut grass with scissors all day.” Lapp pointed to a case this past winter when Rhode and Meeker made one worker snowblow for 14 hours straight. Lapp said he an other workers said, “c’mon that’s not fair. Let me jump in and take the role for a little bit.” They were not allowed to help out.

“When it was my turn to be in charge snow removal,”  Lapp told me, “there wasn’t anyone on snoblowers. Why? Because it’s ineffective when you have big machines. I put a guy on one of those machines, not a snowblower.” According to Lapp, the worker in question was forced to snowblow for 14 hours straight for one reason only: “Because they didn’t like him.” (Raging Chicken Press is in contact with that worker  who has since been fired and is now fighting his dismissal).

“Their approach was belittle, demean, suppress, beat down,” as Lapp put it. “That’s the way they did it. Micro manage. Trust no one. That’s the approach within Facilities management.”

I reached out to Kutztown University’s Director of University Relations, Matt Santos, concerning Cory Lapp’s resignation and the claims he and other workers are making about long-standing mistreatment. Santos responded in an email saying,

Members of the campus community should be assured that the university has processes in place to review any allegations, and that they are taken very seriously.  However, it is our policy not to comment on personnel-related matters in a public venue. For this reason, neither the University nor its managers will respond to the specific assertions contained in this article.

Long-Standing Pattern of Abuse

The pattern of mistreatment that Lapp is exposing has been on-going for quite some time. I have worked at Kutztown University since 2002 and am fairly well-known on campus for my union work and rabble-rousing. Over that time, especially the past 5-6 years, many campus workers have told me some pretty remarkable stories of harassment and abuse. However, many of those same workers were unwilling to go on the record with their concerns because they feared retaliation from management. However, Cory Lapp’s willingness to go public and put his disgust with management’s behavior in writing has led some to follow his lead and step forward.

One worker who agreed to an interview remained reluctant to have her name used in this story. She told us that she had been an active member of her union, AFSCME, and often became a sounding board for workers who were experiencing mistreatment first hand:

People stopped in my office all the time to tell me about the crap that was going on over there. It’s so depressing that it can continue and you wonder how no one on the third floor of Stratton {that is, the offices of top level university administrators} would do anything. How can they continue to let it go on? It’s no secret. It’s no secret across campus about what happens in that department.

According to this AFSCME worker, the hostile work environment in the Facilities department went to the very top of that department, the Assistant Vice President for Facilities, Jeff Grimm. “It starts with Grimm,”she told me. Grimm presented himself as a vulgar, intimidating person who seemed to pride himself on ruling the department as the king of his own little fiefdom.

I asked her for specific examples and she told me about one staff meeting that seemed to encapsulate Grimm’s reign.

We used to have staff meetings with everybody, the whole Facilities department, all of Project Services. There would be Jeff, just sitting at the table swearing about this, swearing about that. Someone finally said, ‘You know what, Terry {Terry Brown, Director of Facilities Project Services}, I don’t appreciate that. I don’t enjoy sitting here, listening to him…you know, F this and F that’.

As if to show everyone what he thought of people’s concerns about his foul mouth, Grimm began their next meeting by putting a big jar on the table in front of him and said,

“OK, so here’s the swear jar. I’m going to start off the meeting by putting my credit card in there, so let’s get started with the meeting.” So, how serious was that? Not serious at all.

But that was mild compared to other, more direct forms of intimidation. After being a part-time worker in Facilities for a time, my source said she decided to go talk with Jeff about making her position full-time, since there had been a steady increase in the amount of work in her department. What happened next is something out of a bad movie:

So, I went to his office. It was just he and I. He took off his shoes and put his feet up on his desk pointed right at me. He had two different color socks on.  He goes, “Oh, I guess I’ll have to go home now and beat my wife.” What was he trying to do? What would you say his approach to that was? It was to put me in my place. It’s just this kind of abuse that happens all the time. Things like that. For the person, individually, that’s demoralizing and that’s what they like. They’re cold.

I asked her if these instances were reported to the administration. She said that workers have consistently complained to their supervisors, to the Social Equity Office, and to Human Resources, but the lack of action on the part of the administration has left people feeling that nothing will be done. When workers and members of the union, AFSCME, complained about Grimm, they were often brushed off and told, “that’s just Grimmy,” she explained.

She told me of one of the more recent “atrocities” (her word) that took place among the third shift custodians.

I know some of the people on the third shift. They were just complaining and complaining. It was just horrible and it went on for a long time. It had to do with their supervisor. It was just terrible to hear about how he treated them {the custodians on third shift}. I think it reached a climax when he either fondled someone’s breast or he stroked her breast. This one custodian was so upset that she actually called public safety. This is all going on on third shift. Nobody around to watch and there is no supervision and there is no protection for them.

This was not an isolated incident, she told me.

The stories were coming out that this supervisor was not only acting inappropriately with women, but also with some of the guys who were there. One of the custodians, his exact words were, “I was ridden more than Seattle Slew.” He was down, working on the floor or something, and the supervisor came up and got on him. Sat on his back and I don’t know what was said specifically, but this was persisting, this was going on.

She said that she helped organize a meeting with the administration that included representative from her union’s district council in order to bring to light the on-going harassment. At the meeting, administrators told workers that there had been an investigation and they found no serious problems.

In the end, they {the workers} were told there was no merit to their accusations. The woman who was sitting at the table, who had the direct incident with the supervisor, burst into tears and she’s yelling “of course it happened! Do you think I’m making this up? This is ridiculous!” They were very upset.

After the meeting, “an investigation was conducted in a better manner,” probably because of pressure from their union representative she said. Eventually, there was some administrative action. The supervisor was demoted, but he was kept on third shift, but no longer a supervisor. “How does that person still have a job?,” she asked. She said that that particular supervisor “felt he didn’t have any enemies. He felt he could go right to the top and have people there to protect him. He felt in his heart that nobody could touch him, so that’s why he was allowed to do all this.” The supervisor’s friendship with some top-level administrators seemed to protect him, she suggested.

“It seems to me,” she said pointedly, “that they prefer the kind of supervisor that is going to be hated by people. And I think that Cory explained that very well in his letter.”

An Ideological Agenda? 

All the workers I spoke with – both on and off the record – felt that Kutztown’s Facilities management team brought their ideological agendas to the workplace. As Cory Lapp put it in our conversation,

The reality was this: Will Meeker and Kim Rhode and Brett Fulton whom I was replacing, brought their personal agendas to the workplace. They demanded that their conservative, Republican, right-wing, management style was the way. That was their approach and it didn’t work. It doesn’t work. Hence all the grievances…it didn’t work. That was the reality. They all had the same, common theology and they brought it to the workplace. Shame on you for doing that! Shame on you! If you believe all that, that’s fine. But don’t bring your personal values to the workplace and hate unions.

Lapp said that it was part of the campus lore that the Facilities department was deeply anti-union.

They fought the unions for years from what I’ve understood. I only know what I saw and the stories. I didn’t focus on the stories because I wasn’t part of the stories. But, if 100 people have the same story, you know something happened there.

One of the most common stories I was told was that Kim Rhode and Will Meeker were known for blaring Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck in their work trucks as they drove around campus.

Bob Fenstemacher, a recently retired member of the KU grounds crew, said much of the same.

You used to get in their vehicle during the winter – they’d pick you up during a snow storm – and they’d have Rush Limbaugh or that Glenn Beck guy on. I don’t care for either of them. They’d make no bones about letting you know that their politics are right-wing. There was one time they were saying something about ‘entitlement’ – about how all these workers think they are entitled to a job.

The problem Lapp faced was that he was not willing to tow the right-wing, anti-worker line that was standard in the Facilities department. Lapp explained why he refused to go along:

The problem these people {Kim Rhode and Will Meeker} didn’t understand was that if you treat people like idiots you’re going to get that in return. My experience was completely opposite because I treated workers normally they hit a home run for me. They went above and beyond because they wanted me to stay; so, they were the best they could be.

My approach was that I’m only as strong as the crew I manage. With your effort, you’re going to make me shine. If you half-ass it, you’re going to make me look weak. So I’ll help you, you help me. And they knocked it out of the park. I brought back humanity and humility to the workplace.

In his resignation letter, Lapp recalled a meeting with Rhode, Meeker, and the entire grounds crew at which even Meeker stated that “this is the best I have seen this crew work together in years.”

But evidence be damned. According to virtually every worker I’ve spoken to about Cory Lapp’s resignation, Lapp had a target on him even before his first day of work.

As Bob Fenstemacher explained, Lapp’s predecessor, Brett Fulton, was completely on board with Rhode and Meeker’s management style.

Brett was a puppet and Will and Brett were constantly together. Will gave Brett all kinds of training. When Cory started, they threw him to the wolves pretty much early on.

Fenstemacher said that Lapp’s hiring was a bit of a break from the past in that members of the grounds crew were allowed to participate in the hiring process for the first time. Fenstemacher said that he believed that the changes were part of suggestions that a “team building” consultant made. The consultant was hired by the university in an attempt to ease tensions in the Facilities department. Even in the hiring process, tension was evident.

They had a participative process. They allowed some of the people on our crew – anybody could have volunteered – to help select the next Grounds Supervisor. So, they were able to sit in and interview and ask questions of three candidates. Then they sat together and told their thoughts and they came up with Cory. Kim made it clear that she didn’t like Cory, but all the rank-and-file were high on Cory because they saw him as a team player. They liked his attitude and personality and didn’t like the other two candidates as much. They ranked Cory higher and I think Will {Meeker} even had Cory ranked higher. Well, they selected Cory. Kim said something like, “I can’t take that guy, he’s way too bubbly for me.” And, sure enough, shortly after he was hired, Will went on vacation. When he came back, he distanced himself from Cory. He was more or less thrown to the wolves. He didn’t get anywhere near the training that Brett Fulton got.

Lapp said he felt the tension right from the get go as Rhode laid into him on a couple of occasions.

I really didn’t know who I was talking to at that point. I mean, I was just very honest and forward with what I said. I didn’t know that she didn’t really care for that approach. I didn’t know what I was talking to. I didn’t know what I was dealing with. I was just being me.

On the Decision to Come Forward and Break the Silence

Lapp said he was incredibly excited about his new job at Kutztown and had been planning on writing the next chapter of his life not far from where he grew up.

I was pumped. I worked hard for 20 years to put myself in this great position. You know, I’m from the area, I was coming back to be close to family and friends. It was really wonderful.

I went to Brandywine Heights. I grew up near Bear Creek. I spent from 13 to age 20 right there. This is home for me. I went to KU in 96 and 97. I’m part Golden Bear.  I’ll be honest, it’s a part of who I am. I played rugby for the university under Doc Jones. He’s my brother’s father-in-law, so Doc and I, we’re close.

But of course, his story took a very abrupt and unexpected plot twist. “When I learned the true colors of the administration, I knew my days were numbered,” he told me. “But, being who I am I still brought by A game to work everyday. Yeah, it was a bum deal what I got.”

So, after such disappointment, why did he decide to come forward? With some sadness in his voice, he said:

I’m really just another statistic. I really am. It’s been going on for so long, unfortunately. And it pisses me off saying that because I don’t feel like I’m just another statistic. But, unfortunately, I kind of am. That’s why I feel passionate about at least saying my peace.

 

But true to the optimism and passion he exhibited during our entire conversation, Lapp refused to simply walk away, forgetting about his crew.

Maybe this is my role, to say what I have to say in the way that I said it. If that’s my role, then that was my role and I accept that. If it can change the culture to make it right, that means more to me than the difficult 16 weeks at that place.

And that may just be his role. The silence seems to be breaking across campus as more workers have contacted me wanting to tell their stories – more stories that I can include in this one article. In the coming days, Raging Chicken Press will bring more of their stories to light in the hope of putting an end in to a culture of intimidation and abuse.

There is one hopeful, if ironic note. Tomorrow, Kutzown University’s Human Resources deparment is holding two 90 minutes seminar entitled, “Creating a Positive Work Environment.” The sessions will be held in the H.R. Training Room in the Kemp Building on campus. The first session will run from 10:30 – 12:00; the second, from 1:00 – 2:30pm. According an email sent to faculty and staff, the seminars will focus on:

  • Building Trust
  • Positive Communication
  • Setting Expectations and Needs
  • Creative Ideas for Recognition and Rewards
  • Building Team Work
  • Finding Meaning in Your Work
  • Accepting Responsibility
  • Humor in the Workplace

Perhaps the last bullet point is the reason that these seminars are being held on April Fool’s Day. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence. Either way, it sounds to me that more and more workers are coming forward with the conviction that “we won’t be fooled again.”

We will continue to follow this story.

 

 

 

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71 Comments on Kutztown University Manager Quits and Blows the Whistle on Long-Standing Mistreatment of Workers

  1. Finally an injustice is brought to light. Thanks, Kevin, for the facts. If things about Will Meeker are true, I greatly misjudged him when I was on campus. Good luck to Cory.

  2. I recently “retired” from Kutztown Faculty after 20 plus years- mostly because of issues like this in the academic sphere.I thought I better retire before I was fired for blowing whistles on so much corrupt behavior by administrators and even some faculty. This is a terrible place to work! I love teaching, and I know I was very good at it ;but those qualities , along with decency and forthrightness are Definately discouraged!

    • Thanks Kevin!
      You are awesome. I just left another comment about our faculty administrators , and sadly some faculty who participate in similar behavior. That is partly why I left the Uniiversity last year, too toxic.
      I can say that many staff and janitors knew how fairly and respectfully I treated them and I knew this issue was LONG time coming to light!
      Thank you

  3. If I could, I would like to add some of my own thoughts to the subject because I find myself with a very interesting perspective on this topic. I am currently a facilities worker at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster PA. I love my job, I am treated with respect, I am given a fair salary, I have great benefits, I am also a nonunion worker. I have a family member who worked for the Kutztown Facilities Team for over 20 years, he is now retired. Comparing my experience of how I am treated to how he was treated is beyond night and day. The stories of constant backstabbing and abuse from management at KU has left me with one overwhelming question. Where is the Union? If the union isn’t going to stand up for the men and women that work in the facilities department then they have failed those workers.

  4. I worked through a temp agency in 2006, in the facilities department under Mr. Grimm and Ms. Rhodes. Let me just say everything Lapp is saying is completely true, I was there for 4 months in which Kim was rude, condisending, and very hostile! They used a temp agency because no one wanted to big for the administrative assistant position in facilities. When I first started there I was told Mr. Grimm was in charge however whenever I or any other employee had questions or and issue We were told to take it to Kim.
    She in turn had favorite emotes who things were handled with the utmost care and if you weren’t one of them she would screw you over anyway she could.
    If you were ” too friendly” she would backstabbing you in a heartbeat especially if it was to someone she didn’t like!
    That was the most hostile and down right ugliest places I have ever worked. I hope someone finally cleans house down in facilities!!!!!

  5. Yes 100 percent facts hope what goes around finally makes it way back to the people who created this hostile work place , grimm well now excused , kim harris , and shadow wil meeker and hr who lets this behavior continue shame on you Sharon picus director of hr .I worked for a true gentleman at ku Ron Yoder , I do not believe one discipline action or grevance was filed under his management , or one kangaroo court sections , that current management meeker and kim get much joy from bullying and harassing employees , I have personally attacked by wil meeker on my religious Roman Catholic upbringing , and my Italian heritage he attacked numerous times , as well a student worker , in which complaints were brought to Mr . Pena . What happened nothing it only made it worse for me very sad when a paying student at ku comes forward with complaints on wil meekers racist remarks about Italians and nothing is done . I personally feel this current management and those who promote this behavior must be terminated from employment , this has gone on since kim harris took over , after poor Ron passed away . Wil and kim are a complete waste of my tax dollars , and those who let them continue their rain of bullying, harassment , and hostile work environment .How many employees have left during their control ? wake up everyone and speak out of the abuse going on at ku . Very sad state of affairs when people do not realize they are way over their head in so called management positions .

  6. Jeff Grimm didn’t retire, he took an even higher position at Lehigh University – another facilities department that cultivates a hostile work environment through routine verbal abuse, threats, harassment, and discrimination. Lehigh’s HR department is also infamous for blaming the victims and sweeping problems under the rug, just like KU. Jeff Grimm will fit RIGHT in managing the circus at Lehigh . . .

  7. YES MR HOFFA IS VERY DISAPOINTED IN THE UNION , HOW CAN YOU NOT PREVENT THIS HOSTILE TAKEOVER , AND LET ALL THESE WONDERFUL UNION EMPLOYEES LEAVE , MR HOFFA IS VERY UPSET THIS HAS HAPPENED FOR YEARS , SPEAKING FROM MY CONCRETE BRIDGE WHERE I RESIDE NOW

      • NO I GOT ALOT MORE , HARD TO GET SERVICE FROM THESE WALLS MORE ON THE WAY .Heard Chinese water treatment is in the works now at ku ? no worries high priced linda brewer , outside consultant will fix all the problems after an afternoon horse ride with friend Sharon picus . that can not be conflict of interest could it ??

  8. About time! I worked at KU facilities as a janitorial manager from 1986-1998 when I was let go by Jeff Grimm supposedly because of budget cuts. But I know otherwise. I was told on several occassions to “shape up or ship out.”. I was denied annual raises because he felt I wasn’t doing my job. After this happened he arranged to have my job eliminated. Afterwards he praised me for a job well done. I went to Sharon Picus and Jim Sutherland about Grimm, they sent me to a meeting with then president, McFarland. Stories were fabricated, I still lost my job. I agree, Kims demeanor is right on. She was a very nasty person!All the office staff was belittled and picked on. When Kim started as a student worker she was not trained like she turned out!

  9. Mr. Deemer , can agree more , what exactly was kim harris trained in ? hostile takeover ? be the best bully you can be ? belittle your staff 101 ? and how to use your tongue stud to get ahead at ku ? Just saying she not qualified in anything but above . 4.0 in them classes ??? meeker not far behind. question why did grimm let this go on ? perhaps activities like kim had with a previous married supervisor ????

  10. Mr. Deemer , wil meeker is not worth meeting , just ask his ex wife .The guy worships joe paterno. Need I say more . Runs the crew from closed office door , and blinds drawn tight ? spends more time on personal agenda then anything .But that,s what the numerous cameras are for keeping an eye on my crew . A lot of time on computer and kim harris office, then what he was hired for GROUNDS Management , well stick to what you know meeker nothing .

  11. Like my good buddy always said DEKA,S HIRING. KIM HARRIS AND WIL MEEKER , SHARON PICUS GERALD SILBERMAN DENNY ENGLE AND OTHERS IN YOUR KNITING CIRCLE

  12. Two things that want to make me vomit in Ku facilities , One a female wearing pant suit either blue or black only , wearing a large appendage in her tongue .Second a grounds manager spending countless hours watching her smoke on left side of facilities door and lighting her numerous smokes , while plotting who will be their next target within her grasp ???

  13. The current total of KU Grounds employees who have left under duress due to the current facilities management regime sadly exposed in this article stands at a whopping 12 . That’s right 12 in the past 5 YEARS !!!

  14. Karma at its best! See, one person can make a difference, when the effort is made. I hope everyone working at KU appreciates what Cory did for his team – hats off! Every action has an award or a consequence, depending on what side of the fence you’re on. KU should hire Cory back and have him provider leadership training to others. Can’t wait to see how this all shakes out:)

  15. Agree positive Polly , yes it looks like the karma train is making it,s way back around , Agree hire Cory for replacement of overpaid Sharon picus , hr director kim R. harris and wil meeker , just imagine the hundreds of thousands of dollars tax payers will save . The respect of the hard working crew back , resulting in superior place of employment . By the way the entire crew thought the world of Cory Lapp , and still do , his day is coming , I,m sure for the better , can not say the same about the people above , likewise Gerald silberman , he is of no help to the facilities dept , more taxpayer waste . Sad that these people make more then some professors at ku . Well have faith God works in mysterious ways .

  16. Is that correct Mr Count Da victim , 12 employees , wow this is an eye opener . Looks like ku should hire high priced lip service consultant , to address this issue , wait a minute she has been in place , just trying to make a buck times are tough , and those triple crown blood line horses are expensive ? Hope new president brings a big broom and cleans house with all those involved in these Capers .

  17. Mr. Hoffa has also located wasteful spending within with facilities garage . There is two mechanics in the shop , well one actual mechanic ,who does the work , and the other likes to stay office bound , keeping abreast of weather in the artic circle or Bozeman Montana . Why not it is much easier to have kunkles down the road repair simple fixes , this waste of taxpayers money would rather inspect broken equipment , blame it on the operator , and proceed to meeker office to complain about crew members . Apparently grease fixes everything . I heard a famous line from former staff member Beiber new what they were doing when they got rid of you . Kudos to the one mechanic who actually turns wrenches

  18. I observed ku grounds crew members. Over the last two winters , that transformed themselves into ice cubes ? I approached one driving a green John Deere Gator ? with snow blowers attached in single digit temps with the passenger door missing ? The young fella looked like something out of ice age . I asked a stupid question to this young man , Why are you driving around campus with no door and apparently no heat ? He said because wil meeker and kim r harris and linwood merkel refuse to purchase another glass pane or parts to fix door , I was informed at least two more pieces of equipment were likewise without a door and a newer Kubota of some sort had no window . I asked for some sort of why this happened . These two frozen workers said wil meeker and kim r harris and this linwood merkle refused to replace glass and or parts and heater ect . Because it does not benefit the students , and wil meeker informed these gentlemen to wear more clothes , you work outside to bad. I understand this merkel is a mechanic and said why would I replace these items ,you guys will only break them again ?. Now I did notice a white pickup driving around , these young guys said we got to go here they come , very scared apparent wrath that they were to receive , from who they said was wil meeker and kim r harris , I observed the two as they drove past me , funny thing was they had windows and apparent heat in that white Toyota?? I wanted to ask these two how could you treat your employees that , and have the nerve to patrol campus to watch them work under these harsh conditions , they said that is all they do all day , waste fuel and drive hundreds of times around campus , I thought Ku facilities had a health and safety coordinator steve helms . I guess he is another one out for himself and could care less about employees health and welfare on the grounds crew . I think you guys on the grounds crew do an excellent job with snow removal , and I found out other facilities depts. are now essential to snow removal efforts ? Not sure why this is . but I know of two people who could lend a hand rather then drive to campus like tour de Kutztown . Thanks for all you do , I,m sure you never hear that from the meeker harris road show . Guys I spoke with sorry you have to work under substandard conditions and substandard people like wil kim and linwood. Keep your chin up . Mr Gambino

  19. Forgot to mention these gentlemen had a tough time starting there john deere gator in – degree temps ? the driver fumbled with a red object ? I said what is that he said my issued gps fob ? I said no , yes he informed me many times he and other young man were stranded on campus and had to walk back to grounds compound , because he stated gps drains battery , and we are forced to walk. He said God forbid we leave running , if we are idled for several minutes a warning single goes to a database with kim or wil , and we are severly disciplined , were told it can lead to termination , Rather then fix issue linwood merkel insist we left something on ? like what heater ? no can not be that merkel refuse to fix anything . Just can believe wil meeker and kim r. harris manage by gps , they said she drives around with wil and uses a laptop to locate workers ? really is that how these two manage , and who payed for gps units at little ku , and is there a service charge like most gps service if so what does it cost me a taxpayer ? I was also made aware of a high tech camera system , better then most prisons, and was told wil meeker watches employees on his computer screen , for any problems , and uses this to discipline employees , in which I heard he filmed an employee changing in shop, because there was no benches or anywhere for this guy to change , he was brought to hr and forced to watch video of himself changing , supposedly someone was offended of this changing , however it was wil meeker who filed complaint. This is a great management style sit a mere feet away in seclusion watch a screen and file complaints ,rather then approach employee ? Funny I never took that hr training course in my many years of college. Iron fist wil meeker kim r harris management do as I say not as I do . Sorry guys no windows or heat or doors wil meeker and kim need to order more cameras and glen beck on Sirius , just wear more clothes??

  20. I hope the new president would hire this Cory Lapp guy , and all these 12 employees back as mentioned above , Cory deserves a position as hr director or Gerald,s silberman,s lame duck post , wil meeker and kim r harris job way to easy for this gentleman .Hats off to you .

  21. It’s not just grounds. Besides the whole campus, also the custodians on the dorm side gets stomped on too. They are shoveling snow when the bathrooms need cleaning. I had to walk from the back end of the campus to across the street to the bottom of the other end of the campus in four plus feet of snow to shovel. There’s more, but I’m glad Mr. Lapp said something. Hopefully, this will get the ball rolling in a good way.

  22. The examples listed above by the behavior of the management team in the Facilities Organization occurs on a daily basis to the custodians at KU. This has been and continues to be the hostile environment in which they are subjected to work in for years. Punishment is inflicted when you have an opinion that does not agree with Kim Rhodes. With a degree in Psychology from KU, what part of the human psyche does Kim Rhodes not understand. Any good manager knows that the most valuable asset in any organization is its people. Treat your people well and they will do all that they can to support the organization.

  23. Dear Virgo , kim Rhodes claims she has degree in psychology. Apparently she spent a lot of time asleep or under some ones desk? The state store has plenty of white boxes for you kim r harris, wil meeker and sharon picus , Gerald silberman two boxes for you .

  24. Got to ask has the union at ku been on vacation ? wake up ku employees I believe you are paying to be represented , and it does not appear to be the case with these post .

  25. Dear Virgo , very upset it happens in custodian departments as well . I guess the common theme is kim Rhodes harris and wil meeker are in control of these depts. ? I did hear of evening supervisor custodian who was demoted after several witnesses came forward ? Is this gut still employed and why ? and is he monitored by anyone ?

  26. Im a class of 1999 alumni and do NOT go for that oppression shit. You’re union is whack! Stop paying your dues until they back you. Im ashamed that your own union reps rolled over. And shame on KU in general. I wont be promoting it now or anymore in the future. What a disappointment. I had a lot of good memories there.

  27. very sad state of affairs has any of you employees thought of working together , to get these tyrants out of there useless positions , sounds to me like this kim Rhodes , wil meeker must be made unemployed now as well sounds like this shorn picus by these posts is not effective in her role at hr , or this silberman character . Also I did read in paper vargus is leaving as guess no one approached him? .On another note I have observed main street trees , new ones planted are pitiful the condition when they were put in looked to taken out of a debri dump . I also observed for months they never had leaves , why were dead trees planted and why did it take several months to remove them ? what did this project cost me ? also what fly by night landscaper planted these ? Maybe if this meeker dude would ever leave his office he would see the difference of alive tree verses a dead one? Just curious what are those hanging baskets costing me ? and the people who I see watering them. I can not believe these clowns have jobs , sounds like a circus at ku ,

  28. Thought I would share what these system of higher education, people are draining out my tax dollars . Gerald Silverman $202,406.00 salary .Sharon Picus $125,947.00 .Kim Rhode $96,324.00 Wil Meeker $59,534. PENNWATCH.COM Public knowledge check it out .

  29. The issue is not the employees banning together. The current administration chooses to sweep it under the carpet and ignore it. KU can not be made out to be part of the system of higher education that does not follow its own policies. It makes for bad press. Especially with declining enrollment.

    • Employees have to stick together , otherwise these people set there sights on individual employees ,and attack them like a flock of vultures , Then the employee seeks another job in some cases after thirty years? Why is being tolerated , Gerald do you have any answers for this I believe you conduct exit interviews as part of your $202,406.00 salary ? are you listening Gerald

      • The management team already target individuals. They know who to target because of the system that begun when Kim Rhode became the Director of Campus Services. She systematically broke or moved custodians that worked well together to other areas on campus. Most custodians complain to each other and realize that what they say or how they feel is not important to management. The custodial staff has lost a lot of good custodians in the last five years due to this style of management. More are looking to leave.

  30. That explains why these people can not look you in the eyes on campus ? they all should be wearing masks ???

  31. An addendum to Count Da Victims post . Count , your totals and time frame are very accurate, however , I know of 13 employees who have left the Grounds crew in the past 5 year time frame under duress from KU Mismanagers. In fact, 7 have left in the past 18 months. They were short handed to the point that the mismanagers tried to make other trades employees and custodians essential for snow removal this past winter. It certainly was not the rank and file’s fault that this short handed situation occurred. Their arrogant, ego-driven,manipulative, conniving, divisive,egotistical, unprofessional, wasteful, corrupt ,big brother, deceitful, cold and heartless style of management caused these solid employees to leave.

    • Mr. Bob , very interesting , I did read one post on this kim rhode has a degree in psychology ? I would question that , most psychologist I know are well liked at their place or work , and community . Sounds like no one likes this kim , except her followers , I would say she only keeps her job because she has dirt on someone . Not because she is good at it , wonder when this force of evil and her comrades will be defeated . Wonder how many more lawsuits from former and current employees it would take to wake up ku community and pa tax payers . ?

  32. Sounds like the workers really liked this Cory Lapp , probably the problem , the guy sounds to me like he has integrity, morals , and ethics , I do not think that is compatible with current facilities management.? Sounds to me that this brett fulton was a waste like the rest of them .

  33. Mr. Bob Fenstermacher , WHERE IS RAY DUNKLE , RAYDENE HARWICK ,TRACY , DISTRICT 88 WHAT ARE THEY DOING FOR THESE RANT AND FILE EMPLOYEES , SOUNDS LIKE THEY OWE THESE UNION MEMVERS THERE MONEY BACK FOR DOING NOTHING BUT LET THIS MISMANAGEMENT AT KU WALK OVER THEM .

  34. If you file a grievance or other, whether the outcome is in your favor or not, you will have a target on your back. Facilities Management will use their power and make your life miserable for doing so.

  35. I agree whit all these people , agree wil meeker kim rhode Sharon picus , are heathens , I am still employed because I only worry about myself , doing right from wrong be damned it,s all about dusty

  36. After all the comments, it appears that the ones hurt the most by this hostile work environment are the students. Dirty academic areas and Dorms with less people to do the work. The standard of clean has dropped to a new low at KU. You get what you get with what you receive.

  37. Sure hope that medical leave kim rhode is taking does not mean taxpayers pay for four months off to look for employment like jeff did before he got the big boot ? Hard to believe Mr Stato received a letter from ku seeking money ?. Reply was simply maybe when this bully managers , and useless hr director , and this horse friend consultant that has been posted on linda brewer is no longer a part of ku , maybe then my money will make it,s way to ku . Until then do not waste the postage .

    • KU has certainly slipped ten fold. I would never recommend it to any of my friends with college aged children even though intent the’re myself. So sad but true. so what’s up with this fake job the last president, Vargas created for his wife because he was cheating on her openly. Was that a bribe? I also heard she was sleeping in her office for a spell. is this legal and why isn’t anyone looking onto this. Are they just sweeping it under the rug?

      Kim Rhode. I heard that she has quite a rep for uh, shall we say, getting a “leg up” amongst the current administration. I remember hearing she took in part of the baseball team back during her time here. So classy.

      This is so blatantly been going on at ku for some time now. Graft, corruption, illegal surveillance. Im appalled. why doeant anyone sue the school?

  38. All so sad isn’t it? We care very much for our students. We continue to give it our all but, burnout is occurring in the workers all over campus. This management team is a mess. Help! Out with the old, in with the new!

  39. SAD THIS PEOPLE ACTUALLY THINK THEY ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE AT KU , FACT THEY ARE ALL A JOKE . THIS GOOD OL BOY CLUB IS THE WORST MANAGEMENT EVER . AND ONCE AGAIN WHY IS THE UNION AND GERALD SILBERMAN LETTING IT HAPPEN ? I BELIEVE SOMEONE MENTIONED SUE ? I DID READ A POST , TWO EMPLOYEES UNDER WIL MEEKER AND KIMMY RHODE IN FACILITIES SUED AND WON A BIG PAYDAY , NOW IF THAT DOES NOT SAY SOMETHING .

    • IT SEEMS LIKE SUING NOW IS A BETTER OPTION THAN BEFORE. HOPE C. LAPP CONSIDERS THIS. AND IM NOT THE LITIGIOUS TYPE BY ANY MEANS. BUT IF SOMEONE DUPES YOU INTO THINKING YOU HAVE A SECURE JOB, ONLY TO FIND OUT NOT ONLY DO YOU NOT HAVE A SECURE JOB, BUT YOU FIND THEY NEVER WERE GOING TO GIG YOU THE JOB IN THE FIRST PLACE! THATS A DASTARDLY DEED DADGUMMIT! I BELIEVE IF YOU MESS WITH SOMEONE’S HEAD, YOU SHOULD HAVE TO PAY UP. IT SEEMS FAIR. ARE THESE FOLKS REALLY ON PAID LEAVE FOR FOUR MONTHS? SOUNDS CRIMINAL.

  40. Thank you to all of those who have supported my husband Cory on this horrendous experience, we truly apprecate it. I just can’t sit back anymore and not say anything, and to let everyone know how much this has greatly impacted our family in a negative way and caused tremendous stress on us.
    My husband Cory is a good, positive, caring, hard-working man among many more adjectives I can use to describe him. The crew he managed the short time at KU really liked and appreciated him. I thought in life that you get rewarded for doing your job well instead of telling you after 10 weeks that you will not be hired back, and nothing you can do to try to improve will help you get hired. Also being told after working countless sleepless hours doing snow removal in a machine with no doors and windows through a blizzard as a mangager, that you are going to have a unsatisfactory mid season review. Who does that? That was the last straw for Cory and I fully supported him.
    I have a wonderful marriage and a beautiful child with Cory. We were hoping that moving back to PA from NC to this job opportunity and to be closer to our family was going to be a positive change and new future for us. Also as an alumni of KU by earning 2 degrees, this has become very personal to me. I am beyond appalled by what happened to my husband. Oh yeah thanks KU for the huge bill and lack of career support…btw. Which they suck at. They will take your money but not help you get a job.
    The crazy thing is that Cory worked with Will years ago at another place of employment and he always spoke highly of him. Its pathetic as to to what this job has turned Meeker into. A cowardless, worthless, sorry excuse of a man and human. With no compassion and lack of empathy for others.
    Its really sad that even the union won’t back us, they had no problem taking his dues and its interesting that the president of the union, Sadusky told cory that sometimes supervisors get caught up in the drama. WTF does that mean? Obviously everyone is bed together at that university except for those speaking out or support this article.
    So now K. Rhodes is on a 4 month paid medical leave and we are left with NOTHING!!! Cory can’t even get unemployment because he was self-employed in NC and didn’t work long enough in PA. So now what do we do? He can’t even read these comments without his blood boiling, and I don’t want him to lose anymore sleep that he has over this. We want to move on from this but we changed our life for this job! Its hard to let go and move on especially when you have no income which we are both working on changing but its hard to start over….again. I support my husband with whatever decision and legal action might just have to be our next step. We are not the suing type but at the end of the day what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. This is obviously wrong on so many levels and everyone knows it but nothing is being done because of it. We are looking on our own but open to suggestions and/or referrals. Thankyou Kevin Mahoney for exposing the truth behind this, words are powerful. If anything comes out of this, K. Rhodes (whom I can’t even stomach to say her first name) and Will Meeker need to lose their jobs. KU you have been allowing this to go on entirely too long. Board of Trustees where are you??? You need to do what is right and clean house. I had a lot of great memories at KU but it makes me sick to even think of stepping foot on campus again, which is sad and for that SHAME ON YOU KU!

  41. Why does Kim get a four month medical leave? In the real world she and Jeff Grimm would have been fired from day one. KU is the only place that I know of that handles management issues with their heads buried in the sand. Private industry would not allow this to happen for as long as it did. Every manager in Facilities needs to be removed as they all contributed to this hostile work environment. I find it upsetting that the union president is of no help. This union at KU is useless. I hope Corey and his family find a way to sustain themselves at this difficult time.

  42. Oneangrymomma, rest assured that whatever path Cory decides to take with your obvious support, there are numerous former rank and file that will be more than willing to go to bat for him. As I stated previously there are at least 12 to 13 KU grounds employees who left under duress from management. Also, this does not include others from Facilities who decided to call it a career early and took an early retirement to get out from under the Grimm/Rhode/Meeker debacle. Grimm got the boot but KU dressed up his departure . Hopefully, it doesn’t stop there!
    Are you finally willing to listen PASSHE? The likes of high priced managers ie. Picus and Silberman wouldn’t listen and look at the mess you are now obligated to clean up because of their inaction and collusion with aforementioned Facilities management tyrants. Looks like KARMA might be coming a knocking real soon!!

  43. YES WIL MEEKER KIM RHODES AND THERE FOLLOWERS ARE SOULESS LOST PEOPLE WITH NO MORALS NO FAITH NO INTERGRITY NO EHTICS NO WIFE TO SUPPORT LIKE YOU MRS. LAPP , AND NO HUSBAND FOR KIM RHODE , WHY MISERY LOVES COMPANY YOU TWO LOSERS DESERVE EACH OTHER , WHERE IS SHARON PICUS IS THIS MESS SHE ENCOURAGED ALL THIS AND AFSCME DISTRICT 88 AND RAY DUNKLE EVERYONE MENTIONED IN THESE DISQUSTING MANAGEMENT TEAM NEEDS TO BE FIRED , AND THAT INCLUDES WHO GERALD SILBERMAN , AND THE WASTE OF TWO HEALTH AND SAFETY GUYS JEFF LAGAMBA AND STEVE HELMS ? WHAT DO THESE GUYS ACTUALLY DO , THEY OBVIOUS CARE LITTLE ABOUT EMPLOYEE HEALTH , BY THE SOUND OF MRS LAPP , AND OTHER POSTS , LETTING CREW MEMBERS DRIVE AROUND IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER NO DOORS WINDOWS OR HEAT , LOOKS LIKE KU NEEDS A HEAD MECHANIC ALSO , NOT A FAT RAT ?

    • Stand up jilted members of KU’s facilities staff! Dont you see that a hige wave is growing? Dont you see its now time to not worry about a job you hate? A job that makes you feel bad about yourself at the end of the day because you eat so much bs during each and every day? The town and beyond has your ear and your support. Do not be afraid. Now is the time to be bold.

  44. All problems will be fixed tonight Union meeting , yeah right nothing has been done in years. This is way beyond the local level . Someone has to do what needs to be done since this klan took over . Termination .

  45. Just curious do these people still have jobs ? , and is your union blind and deaf ? does not sound like what a union should be protect the workers from managers filed with hate and hostility.

    • HAHA, still have jobs? Jeff Grim got a huge promotion to Lehigh University’s vacant Associate Vice President position. That’s a $60k+ hike over his salary at Kutztown. Lehigh has a standing history of inserting folks embroiled in scandals at other schools into this position, starting with Van Dobson and the wake of destruction he escaped at UNC by jumping ship to Lehigh in 2011.

  46. Unfortunately , R. Jeff Grimm’s days at KU were not a “fairy tale”. This lout should have been ousted long ago from KU. Was suspended several times but always was given his job back because KU upper crust was spineless. This so-called manager treated his employees rudely and that is being too kind. I hope Lehigh gets what they deserve for hiring a man that left KU in disgrace. KU tried to dress up this bird’ s demise but failed miserably.

    N

  47. I guess they put a sock in Kevin,s mouth , what happened I understand pant large suit kim rhode is still employed ? and ass certified willie boy toy meeker still there ? Sharon picus still riding the large budwiser horses with linda brewer into the sunset ? how many law suits and union grievance are out there ? fact meeker is a racist scum bag a buly and what goes around is coming for you willie

  48. This is real journalism. Similar anti-union/control freak climates are rampant in at least two other PASSHE schools. Is there a Raging Chicken reporter at Millersville?

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. AFSCME Issues Statement Concerning the Mistreatment of Workers at Kutztown University | Raging Chicken Press
  2. It’s RAGING MONDAY! Students Fight Back, Fossil Fuel Divestment, and the More on the Mistreatment of AFSCME Workers at Kutztown University | Raging Chicken Press
  3. RAGING MONDAY! Kevin Mahoney Talks with Rick Smith About Part II of the Ongoing Story of Worker Abuse at Kutztown and Anti-Union Crazies Demanding the Home Addresses of All PASSHE Employees | April 20, 2015 | Raging Chicken Press

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