In Yale Security shake-up, a new director

Former New Haven Police Chief Francisco Ortiz has taken over operations at Yale Security as part of the organization’s recent restructuring, which has proven controversial.

Administrators approached Ortiz, who has been head of West Campus security since early 2008, about also running security for the entire University because he was no longer needed at the West Campus now that Yale’s investment there has slowed, said Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith, who oversees security matters.

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Ortiz’s new position was not publicly announced when he took charge more than a month ago, Highsmith said, because it was part of an internal reorganization at Yale Security and was communicated within the organization. The University has been streamlining its security operations to save money, including 13 layoffs. Ortiz is currently looking to fill 11 new supervisory positions and has filled all four open patrol officer positions.

“We have complete confidence in Francisco Ortiz,” Highsmith said. Ortiz deferred comment to Highsmith.

While the University searches for people to replace the 13 laid-off workers, Ortiz has asked those same workers to stay on for another eight weeks. The four new patrol positions were filled by internal candidates, Highsmith said, and both internal and external candidates are being considered for the supervisory positions.

But two Yale Security officials said the shake-up is undervaluing the experience of current employees. Many NHPD officers are being seriously considered for the supervisory positions, rather than internal candidates, said the officials, who asked to remain anonymous to talk freely about their employer.

Administrators initially told the laid off employees they could apply for the new positions, but after the first round of interviews, administrators told all but two that they had not been rehired, a security official said.

The laid-off employees never received written notice telling them why they were not selected, a violation of Yale’s human resources policy, said one security official, who asked not to be named in order not to jeopardize job prospects. According to Yale’s human resources layoff policy, all employees must be given just cause and written notice of their termination. The official added that efforts to inform Security workers about the changes at town hall style meetings had largely fallen flat.

“The information was very general, impersonal and not at all informative,” the official said. “I truly believe everyone was in shock.”

Highsmith acknowledged that there was discontent with some employees but said critics are not fully aware of the facts. She said laid-off workers were told in person why they did not receive the new jobs and that the information sharing effort has been extensive.

“We’re trying to be sensitive,” she said. “We know there are difficulties for some people.”

Ortiz, who has moved to offices in Security’s headquarters on Howe Street, has many more responsibilities in his new position than he did at West Campus. The only crime ever reporter on West Campus was a stolen lunch.

Ortiz started his career in law enforcement as an NHPD patrol officer and, after 25 years, was appointed chief in 2003. He left that position in January 2008, six months after three narcotics officers were arrested and convicted in federal court on corruption charges. No official has ever stated that Ortiz had any knowledge of or part in the corruption scandal.

Correction: March 28, 2010

An earlier version of this article misrepresented when the only crime on West Campus (a stolen lunch) occurred. It was four or five years ago, not during Francisco Ortiz’s tenure as head of West Campus security.

Comments

  • Jack

    What is it about Yale and Ortiz? The guy was a catastrophe when he headed up the NHPD, and then he got this sweetheart deal doing noting on the West Campus. Now he’s here. Send him back to West Haven to look for that stolen lunch and put someone competent –uncorrupted?– in charge of my security on campus.

  • Anonymous

    Grab your popcorn and sit back and relax while Franciso Ortiz drives the Yale Security Department into the ground!!!
    I hear his latest directive is telling all Security Officers that they cannot eat in public, including lunch!
    Won’t it be interesting to see how many retired NHPD officers get hired for these new postions while all of the qualified candidates that were working there for years and know the ins and outs of the department were denied!

    Thanks, Martha!!!

  • JKD

    I agree with you Jack, this whole thing is a joke and an embarrassment to the University. Wasn’t there another story in the daily news a few months back about a 10 million dollar lawsuit against Ortiz for possible abuse of a prisoner? And now he’s going to be in charge of the safety of our students? Ridiculous!!

  • anonymous

    How does letting go 13 with experience and hiring 11 justify saving enough money. Sounds like the laid off employees are being let go to be replaced by NHPD personnel. How can laid off employees not be competent enough to perform the jobs they applied for yet they are being asked to stay on for another eight weeks?? Doesn’t make much sense to me. These laid off employees are the ones who got accolades for their assistance in the Annie Le investigation. Also, with the amount of casual officers working 40 hours, it will be interesting to see how many of the laid off full time permanent employees are rehired for those spots – especially since Yale management claims to want to reemploy them so badly.

  • FroshParent

    This is becoming seriously distressing to me. Ads a parent of a prospective student I don’t know what to think anymore. With the recent increase in crime around campus and all the shootings, is this the best time to have a tainted chief shake up security? In touring the campus and speaking with students, it seems security is destined for big cuts and has extremely low morale. If this is how Yale deals with personnel issues and security, I think its quite a good idea to look at other colleges for my child to attend.

  • je11

    Maybe someone could explain what happened to the old director, managers and supervisors? If they were incompetent, why were they tolerated for so long and by whom? If not, then Yale brings in a new security director who gets right to work building his own empire if the story is to be believed. If they can’t seem to get this right and it’s all nepotisn and cronyism brought over from New Haven, I’m supposed to feel safe with this going on? And if we’re importing the New Haven Police, why do we need a Yale Police department. It seems someone either doesn’t know how to count or that there’s a very big story the Secretary is hiding.

  • Just the facts

    I believe voice of reason stated this before in a prior blog. Francisco Ortiz is just a pawn in the grand scheme of things. He will do whatever they tell him to do because he is more concerned with his career then hiring from within. People forget that he left NHPD when it got too hot in the kitchen and will probably do the same thing at Yale. Not all former security personnel were good at their jobs that included former Director George Alyward who thought it would be a good idea to make transit part of security and then basically have security personnel shuttle students around when there was a transit department available. Then promote one of his suck ups Beth to lead officer at transit and whenever she pouted she got what she wanted. Then there is Rick Maffei who as Voice of reason stated thought that security dispatchers should handle any maintenance issue calls then contact facilities. Apparently he was a supervisor at facilities not much security experience however I hear that he was not laid off. I wonder why. So Ms. Highsmith nice try but you obviously knew all about what was going on yet you did not bother to correct anything. Why wasn’t Mr. Maffei disciplined when he failed to install a camera program on time and incorrectly and had no explanation as to why. It’s just politics as usual. The problem here is that too many people at Yale Security try to pass themselves off as something more than what they are. Good Luck to those that remain and God Help you all cause your going to need it.

  • Roman

    Buddies starting yet another pension is one sly yet disgusting up and coming priority by “Cisco”. Maybe some will be the current desk duty cops of Union street station. And of course be Knighted Knights of Knightly Security at the mighty Knights that say ” Cheat”.
    That’s funny anon #2 , I just went to retrieve my delicious smart food popcorn only to find it was swiped, A people of the gate had it , with my printer paper wrapped in a jacket.
    This is probably for the publicity. Not for the local press but worldwide.

  • Anonymous

    Makes you kind of wonder what they’re thinking when one of the people they deemed not qualified to continue as a lead officer, oh, sorry, “shift supervisor”, has twenty years of experience and as a United States marine was selected to guard the president of the United States at the White House! Why isn’t he good enough for Yale Martha?

    Just one of those things that makes you put your chin in your hand, tilt your head to the side and say, hmmmm.

  • alum88

    At first I was going to make a “typical union” comment. But after talking to one of the drivers I found out security was the only non-union position. Maybe that’s the problem at Yale. Maybe the security departments need organized representation to protect the interests of thier employees. It seems employment there is largely based on connections to the ruling junta. I’m sure the community would prefer experience over political loyalty. And can someone do an actual breakdown on how much security Yale has? We have library, museum, two or three new departments from the old security department and police. How about a real flowchart with numbers so we know what Yale is talking about money wise?

  • michelle noranta

    He was a liability at the City of New Haven. If you hire him then your asking for trouble, seems like your wish came true already. A lot of the problem is your vice roy toy boy assistant pres.. Who was on City of New Haven payroll, he set a nice example for his underlings.
    A clasic case of damn be the consequences just show Yale th etaxpayers money

  • Jim Thorton

    What is all of this Ortiz/NHPD love? I’ve heard that NHPD officers hated Ortiz, especially when he would drive around and make sure their hat was on!

    Ortiz shouldn’t take all of the blame for security’s problem. The problems run deeper than that. Let’s look at how the department is a taxi service for these spoiled kids and faculty. These are not safety rides these students are receiving. It’s not like it was years ago when I needed a ride. Now they are going to get their hair done or buy pizza. And I’ve heard that their AAA for the University as well. Maybe they will start changing flats and washing faculty cars soon. And I’ve seen the WTNH stories when their vehicles cause accidents or are hit by someone running a light. What if someone dies in an accident in one of those security cars, then what? I guess Martha will worry about that if it happens like Annie Le.

    And their security is not the top of the line by any means. I asked one officer what the Yale police number is and he called his headquarters! You don’t know what the hell the Yale police number is? Maybe their phone number should be on their squad cars to remind that guard. Then again maybe guards that are trained properly and have this information on them, should be working on the campus. I bet that guard gets an A in knowing how to hide during his shift! I never see guards where I work in the prospect street area. And on another blog someone mentioned some ‘Ben Luckett’ kind of guy who speaks korean. Who cares! I know who they are talking about and the guy is like 90 and he’s supposed to protect a student in an emergency? I heard they hired someone from a supermarket, but I’m sure they met all the qualifications! Bottom line is you have many security guards out there, if faced with a crisis situation, will not know what to do.

    I’m sure Ortiz will see to it that each and every security guard will have a job to perform. He enjoyed spying on his own troops for years and now he’s doing it to the Yale security department.
    I’m sure Martha, Linda, and President Levin believe in their little Marc Anthony Ortiz. And when the next big incident occurs at Yale, they’ll throw the blame on him and he’ll retire.

  • Frau Brueller

    Martha Highchair, stop dribbling

  • THE ONE WHO KNOWS

    What is needed here is a union and that is bottom line,now that all the bad apples are gone and or fired ( lol )it’s should be a time that the department comes together and gets representation.
    I think enough is enough with the crap that the officers have been taking for a long time it’s time to take back the department and get the respect that the officers deserve at least the ones that do their jobs,yes I see the few that have no right being called officers here let alone to wear the uniform but that from the old staff who brought thier buddys son or daughters in and did not have a lick of experiance behind them and there are a number of them.
    So I say to you if you do anything do bring the union in and get youself some backing so when the management trys messing with you there is somewhere to go for recoursive action.

    UNIONIZE NOW!!!
    DON’T LET MANAGMENT TAKE YOUR RIGHTS FROM
    YOU!

    IT’S YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO
    ORGANIZE

  • O.C.’12

    Perhaps the security department should offer a course on remedial spelling and “The One Who Knows” can be it’s first student.

  • T.H.’10

    I think “Just the facts” needs to attend the class as well ;)

  • GRD10

    I think everyone needs to realize that Yale doesn’t really care one way or the other. If the last contract negotiation didn’t show the C & T staff members, what will? The person serving your vegatables at the dining hall makes more than the security people. The custodians get pay raises and tweaks while the administartive staff members across the university get pay freezes and layoffs. Ever try to get anything done through all the layers of management? Try to get your door fixed, or resolve a problem with the lights in your room? You can’t even get a simple ride without having to be carted all about the city. Security at Yale is a panacea, window dressing to make our parents feel better and give Yale something to point to when lawsuits come. Of course the Office of the Scretary doesn’t care, they never do at that level until something comes up that they can’t bury. This happens everywhere in the corporate world, and Yale is a corporation. I’s like to see a definitive list also of what resources we have for security, who they are and how many. If a semi-secret house cleaning is causing this much of a problem I think it’s a concern for all. Let Yale show who’s protecting us and our friends, and why they replaced the entire management staff. It’s either they were incompetent and then someone is to blame for letting it go so long unnoticed, and not the people already let go. Or it’s blatant nepotism like others here have previously mentioned. Someone dig a little deeper, where there’s all this smoke there must be a raging fire.

  • manet

    So the only “crime” on West Campus was a stolen lunch 4 or 5 years ago? So what was the University paying Ortiz for? What exactly was he hired for? The University is complaining about budget problems? Here’s a prime example of the cause, Yale hiring upper level people for who there’s no real job. Whether it’s a political payoff or doing a favor for someone, Yale is awash in these type of hires. Why did Yale hire him if there was no crime on West Campus?

  • Crossbow

    There have been other crimes on West Campus since Ortiz arrived. The YDN should look more carefully for them, just as Ortiz should watch his underlings more closely.

  • Frito Bandito

    I defy Senor~ Ortiz to stop me from stealing all the lunches I want

  • GHT

    What ticks me off is that there are 4 Lead Security Officers with less experience and seniority working at West Campus and they were not part of the layoff! Martha said “All Lead Officers would be affected”, so what happened? I guess Ortiz got his way yet again!! The whole thing is “dirty”!!

  • Jerry

    I think it’s time to have another Anonymous Survey at Yale.

  • Speller

    To: OC ’12 (#15)

    The problem with folks who deride others for their poor spelling (or grammar) often make the same mistakes, as in your case:

    “The One Who Knows” can be it’s first student.

    It’s? Really?

    But yeah, the frequent misuse of “your” by people on these boards is embarrassing. I certainly hope they’re not Yale students.