It’s come to light that deputy city clerk Erna Hall received a MBA from an online institution that she believed to be accredited. The school was not accredited, but Hall does not need the advanced degree for her job, which was completed on her own time and money.
Mayor Michael Fougere told reporters after Wednesday’s Executive Committee meeting he is instructing administration to review hiring practices.
“We’ve asked the administration to look at how we look at accreditation and degrees to make sure that we have as a robust a review as possible,” Fougere said.
When asked further questions, Fougere said that this is a personnel matter and not the jurisdiction of council. He did however refer to a written comment from executive director of organizations and people J.P. Cullen.
“We sympathize with one of our employees who on her own time, at her own expense, completed an MBA at what she believed to be an accredited university. This advanced degree is not a requirement of her job,” Cullen said.
The statement goes on to say that the city does conduct “robust” reviews for jobs involving public safety, regulatory bodies, and being in a position of trust.
Certain positions go through additional accreditation checks.
“Do we validate that our firefighters have graduated from fire college? You bet,” Cullen said.
“Firefighters in Regina must first take training that meets the standards set by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress.”
Cullen added the same kind of check is done for engineers and trades people with their respective regulatory bodies.
Regina and District Chamber of Commerce President John Hopkins said that there are some straightforward steps employers can make when vetting the credentials of potential hires.
“Just from experience, typically you’ll see universities that you recognize and then if you don’t recognize the university it’s probably time to check it out and see exactly what it is and what it’s offering,” he said.
He added that there’s never a bad time to advance your education, but encouraged caution.
“In terms of upgrading your education it’s always a great thing to do, you just have to be really, really careful about who’s offering that degree program.”
If you have doubts, Hopkins said to start at home with a school like the University of Regina.