An Ohio State compliance official who oversaw an investigation into the marching band and two professors who are currently leading the band all have been given excellent performance reviews in the past.
Chris Glaros, assistant vice president of compliance operations and investigations, oversaw a university investigation into the OSU Marching Band that determined there was a sexualized band culture. That investigation led to then-band director Jonathan Waters’ firing in late July.
After Waters was dismissed, University Bands director Russel Mikkelson and University Bands associate director Scott Jones were named as the interim band leaders while OSU searches for new permanent leadership. The university has said it plans to name a new director by February.
Associate director Chris Hoch and assistant director Mike Smith kept their positions in the band.
The employment files of Glaros, Mikkelson and Jones — provided to The Lantern on Friday to fill records requests filed Oct. 3 and Tuesday — include reviews praising their work and records of raises they have received.
Glaros’ file includes a letter from his supervisor, chief compliance officer Gates Garrity-Rokous, dated June 27, that calls his first year’s performance “phenomenal.” Garrity-Rokous asked Glaros to do a few things in the coming year related to simplifying processes and increasing efficiency, but also noted Glaros’ publicity experience.
“Our office will have to make difficult decisions, and there will be occasions when our decisions or efforts will be misunderstood or misconstrued. You have the experience to handle adverse publicity of all kinds — but many on our team do not have that experience,” Garrity-Rokous wrote. “You will need to continue to lead by example in such situations.”
Glaros earned $204,012 last year, reflecting a 2 percent raise. He started April 1, 2013, roughly four months before he was given the raise.
Mikkelson started at OSU in fall 1998. Since then, he’s been given multiple raises — most recently, he was given a $1,452 raise in August 2013, which boosted his salary to $95,004.
His performance review in June, conducted by professor and School of Music director Richard Blatti, repeated parts of 2013’s review. Blatti said he could not “imagine our band program without (Mikkelson) at the helm” in 2013, and included that in Mikkelson’s 2014 review.
“Perhaps with regard to anyone else’s evaluation, repeating myself would be disingenuous, but it is remarkable to me how consistent and steadfast your work is!” Blatti wrote this year.
And in 2013’s review, Blatti also called Mikkelson’s work “consistent and steadfast,” noting some of his phrasing from Mikkelson’s 2012 review and, again, saying that “perhaps with regard to anyone else’s evaluation, repeating myself would be disingenuous.”
Positive reviews for Mikkelson date back several years. In the past five years alone, Mikkelson has received a raise each year.
Jones started as an associate professor in the School of Music during Fall Semester 2012. The following year, he was given a $1,188 raise to a $80,688 base salary.
His review from this year, conducted by Mikkelson, noted his “resourcefulness, creativity and positive attitude” and said Jones has “made a positive impact” on his students.
The review is broken into the areas of teaching, research and creative works, and service. Mikkelson wrote in the conclusion that Jones’ work in all three areas is “active, healthy and robust.”
Other employee files
The files contrast those of some other band-related employees and officials.
Associate director Chris Hoch’s employment file contained a 2013-14 review conducted by Waters. That review was not particularly complimentary — Waters said Hoch achieved expectations (of five possible choices, “achieves expectations” is in the middle) in four of five categories and fell below expectations in the final category, leadership.
Assistant director Mike Smith’s employment file did not contain any performance reviews — an OSU spokesman said that’s because Smith is classified as a temporary employee as a lecturer.
Waters was fired July 24. Before that, though, his work had garnered praise from his supervisors. They gave him mostly extraordinary performance reviews as he moved up through the ranks of the School of Music over the years, according to his employment file.
One letter Blatti wrote to an OSU human resources manager in September 2011 said an evaluation of Waters seemed to convey an opinion of how Waters was performing that didn’t match up to what Blatti had seen.
But other than that, nearly all of his reviews noted “exceptional” work that “exceeds expectations.” Waters moved from being a graduate teaching associate and lecturer in the school, to an assistant director of the band, to the interim director and finally into the director’s role starting in February 2013.
Since his dismissal, Waters and his attorney have made multiple public appearances and submitted a letter asking OSU to consider rehiring him. President Michael Drake and the Board of Trustees, however, have declined to reconsider his case.
Waters announced Sept. 26 that he plans to sue the university for a minimum of $1 million in compensatory damages. He will also seek punitive damages, attorney fees and reinstatement. His lawsuit claims he was not given due process and says he was discriminated against on the basis of gender.
Finally, the employment file of the chief compliance officer, Garrity-Rokous, showed he received a $78,000 bonus this year without a written performance review.
Chief of legal affairs Christopher Culley and chief financial officer Geoff Chatas conducted an oral review of Garrity-Rokous on Aug. 13, 2013. An OSU spokesman noted that was partly because the university was in transition.
“Although it is required for all employees to receive reviews, performance management at Ohio State also involves a continuous process of feedback and mentoring, which includes verbal and written reviews. All elements of performance review, verbal and written, are key inputs in determining compensation,” university spokesman Gary Lewis said in an email Thursday.
“This year’s process for performance reviews of senior leaders was one in transition. Because every senior leader participates in the ongoing, annual review process, all leaders expect to receive helpful coaching and feedback.”