The University had previously taken a backseat in the investigation, but is now looking into the situation.
Husband-and-wife team François Sainfort and Julie Jacko, in allegedly retaining employment as professors at both the University of Minnesota and Georgia Tech, were in violation of policies at both institutions.
Previously, the University has taken a backseat to the Georgia attorney general’s investigation, but news that Sainfort and Jacko could also be in violation of University policies may heighten the investigation here.
If the investigations in Georgia and Minnesota both find the professors to be fraudulent in their employment contracts, the University could dismiss them, per Board of Regents procedure.
Until late Wednesday, University general counsel Mark Rotenberg was unaware of institutional policies prohibiting double employment, saying that type of behavior was generally prohibited by “basic norms of honesty and fair dealing” in the University Code of Conduct.
After an initial interview, Rotenberg located a regents’ procedure that prohibits full-time employment outside the University for all employees.
This isn’t the first time a University professor has been implicated in double employment.
In 1995, professor Tzvee Zahavy was fired for working both at the University and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Before he was aware of the policy prohibiting double employment, Rotenberg said the University’s handling of Zahavy was a precedent in dealing with so-called double-dipping professors.
“The Board of Regents and the administration of the University made it clear years ago that it would not tolerate undisclosed, simultaneous full-time employment,” Rotenberg said.
University policy also prohibits employees involvement in outside commitments that “interfere with the performance of regular duties,” regents rules state.
Sainfort currently is the head of the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University’s School of Public Health. Jacko serves as the director of the Institute for Health Informatics through the School of Nursing.
Sainfort now earns $285,000 at the University and Jacko makes $216,000 – a total increase of about $100,000 from their Georgia Tech salaries.
Both Sainfort and Jacko signed employment contracts with Georgia Tech after beginning full-time employment at the University, according to their revocation notices from Georgia Tech.
The faculty members are suspected of double-billing their time and falsifying travel reimbursement documents and “other potentially illegal actions,” according to a Georgia Tech news release.
The investigation has revealed $100,000 in “questionable activity,” the news release states.
-Jake Grovum is a senior staff reporter