In the same month that HISD F Miles laid off almost half of the human resources department and less than a month after Miles required teachers at 28 schools to reapply for their jobs, many human resources employees were commanded to work extra hours, including weekends according to the Houston Chronicle. Other than to cause chaos and create problems, it makes no sense to lay off so many in HR, especially in light of the fact that the turmoil in staffing was initiated by F. Mike Miles.
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After significant layoffs at Houston ISD headquarters, dozens of human resources employees are being asked to work extra hours, including weekends, and to forgo making vacation plans, according to an email shared with the Chronicle, as the pressure mounts to resume classes next month with minimal open teaching jobs.
“As exempt employees, you are expected to work extended hours before and after your assigned work schedule, as needed, to complete all work-related tasks, assigned duties, and projects,” Wally de Covarrubia, an executive director in the HISD Office of Talent, wrote in an email sent at 9 p.m. Sunday to several dozen employees. “All team members are expected to be available to assist in work across HR departments, and therefore must be flexible and able to pivot to new assignments at a moment’s notice.”
The tone and content of the email felt threatening, according to one employee in the HR department who asked to remain anonymous. The employee said the work environment has changed drastically since the new administration took charge, noting that in the past, supervisors would ask employees to volunteer for extra tasks and express gratitude for the hard work.
The HR employee said the workload has increased as the school year approaches and morale has dropped in the wake of layoffs.
“There’s a sense of panic about getting these teachers in place,” the employee said.
Michelle Williams, president of the Houston Education Association and an HISD teacher, said she was “mortified” when she saw a screen-shot of the email circulating on social media.
While it is typical for staff to work overtime in preparation for the upcoming school year, Williams said the message seemed disrespectful.
“These people have not done anything wrong,” she said. “Mike Miles created this problem and now he wants the remaining employees to clean up his mess.”
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