TEXAS CITY – The fate of nine jobs may be the last issue to hammer out before College of Mainland trustees approve the new budget.

At 9 a.m. today, trustees will convene a regular meeting during which they could approve the college’s fiscal year 2015 budget.

The college administration presented trustees with a proposed $32.281 million spending plan. That budget is about $500,000 smaller than the current budget, but trustees have asked the administration for more cuts.

To that end, the administration has presented the trustees with nine employees in classified and professional positions who could be let go to further trim the budget.

Eliminating those positions would save about $192,500 in the 2015 budget and about $365,000 in the 2016 budget, college President Beth Lewis said.

“The nine positions that we’ve suggested don’t have a lot direct student interaction,” she said.

The positions are all have “back of the house” duties and would not affect student services if trustees chose to cut them, Lewis said.

But cuts beyond that would begin to affect student services, she said.

Board Chairman Roney McCrary said he thought the board would make a decision on the nine jobs today and approve a budget at the meeting.

McCrary said there was not a certain number the administration had to meet when it came to cutting the budget but instead the idea was to ask the administration to see what reductions could be made.

“I’m hoping that we do see some additional reduction in the budget,” he said. “Whether that comes from personnel or what, I don’t know.”

Trustee Rachel Delgado said trustees were being especially thorough as they attempted to establish a baseline budget. Looking at the cost of salaries and benefits, she said College of the Mainland was spending more than other colleges in the area.

“The only way to bring expenses at College of the Mainland in line with our peers is to address salaries and benefits,” she said.

Trustee Rosalie Kettler said it was the board’s responsibility to use the college’s revenue properly.

“This could result in additional budget cuts,” she said.

Trustee Ralph Holm said he believed the budget was heading in the right direction as they worked to make the budget the right size for the community college and taxpayers.

“Cutting for just cuttings sake is an error but I think if they are justifiable then that is what you have to do,” he said.

Trustee Nick Stepchinski said the administration has cut and tightened the budget and is on the right track. If the board approves laying off nine more people, they should be rehired when positions come open at the college or retrained and transferred to other positions, he said.

“There is always more you can cut out of everything when you are on the outside looking in,” he said. “But I think that (the administration) has done a pretty good job.”

Trustees Bennie Matthews and Wayne Miles could not be reached for comment.

Along with the possible nine jobs cuts, trustees and the college’s budget writers will also need to figure out what to do with a little over $1 million more in revenue the college is bringing in more than it plans to spend. The college can put that extra revenue in a designated fund for a specific purpose such as facilities repairs.

Lewis said it was a good problem to have and said she hoped the money could be put in a fund to be used for repairs needed across the more than 45-year-old campus.

McCrary said there were multiple ways the extra revenue could be put to use.

“It might be that we can, based on that additional revenue, be able to handle some of the facilities that we’ve been dealing with,” McCrary said. “And then it could also affect a tax decrease.”

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.

(14) comments

PD Hyatt

If you have money left over, you might want to think about repairing things as it sounds like there might be much that needs repairing. Then if might be prudent to put a few dollars back for a rainy day and then think about cutting taxes.... I am all for cutting taxes, but that makes NO sense if you have repairs that need to be made and there is no rainy day fund to make emergency repairs....

Stevie Maradeo

$32 million and they can't fix the pool?

George Croix

A college is a business.
The purpose of that business is to provide students services that educate them, in return for a fee that should cover most of such costs, and the support structure to enable those services to be provided.
All else, is cake icing....

T.J. what's the latest on the talks with T.C. about COM using their natatorium?

JBG JBG

Looks to me like COM is on the ball! They seem to have turned the corner, and somebody needs to tell them they are doing good! I elect me. I'm proud to say all of you out there at COM especially the President, are doing great!
-
Sure there are job eliminations involved, but that is a part of running a high producing business in these times, and will be in the foreseeable future. I commend and congratulate the COM BOT, and the team President Lewis has formed and heads up out there! It feels good to see tax-money being spent wisely for a change, because of TEAMWORK in action! Keep up the good work.
-
Give "dat" President a raise![smile]

Dwight Burns

Sad. The County is growing by leaps and bounds. A possible new Plant is on the horizon that will need trained technicians to fill it and COM could aid, as it once did, with this task.

It is sad what has happened to COM since the arrival of the hatchet lady, its new President. Galveston County needs are not being met. The pool, for one, needs repairing. Seniors Citizens, who pay taxes, have come to rely on this pool as a means of physical therapy.

Penny wise and dollar foolish should be the title instead of, "Job cut and etc."

George Croix

If student services are not effected, then the Process Tech courses won't be effected.
While these prepare a student for the basics in process tech, or 'getting an operations job at the plant', as it is, I can assure anyone that the graduates of it, while better prep'd than 'off the street' are hardly ready to jump right in and start operating a process facility. Such thinking has caused more than a few issues in the real world work environment of a refinery or chemical plant. That is NOT saying anything bad about the ProcTech classes. Just a nod to the fact that the graduates require further OJT, field training on actual equipment, working in close proximity to equipment that will really bite you back if you srew up, not just give you a bad grade, and working with people in a real day to day environment that may not always be easy to work with when the fit hits the shan. Etc.
A good prep - step one on the way to a career in process operations.

I doubt that the new 'hatchet lady' knocked a hole in the pool, but someone over there is finally not just throwing money into it just because it's not their money...
find out of a fix is costworthy, and if not, drive 6 miles over to Lowrey...
I'm going out on a limb here and guessing that ONLY the yearly maintenance costs are far greater than the income from people using the pool....I stand corrected if wrong...
In a business, if you give a product away and don't raise costs in other areas, you go out of business...or, raise prices for other product buyers....

Dwight Burns

As a retired Instrument Analytical and Electrical Tech with over 41 years of Petro Chemical experience under by belt, including having run, as a 1st class operator of a Cat Cracker, I feel very comfortable making the case of the importance COM
has played in the Petro Chemical Industry here in Galveston County and around
the World.

True, an individual is not ready to assume the duties of an operator as soon as they graduate from COM or any of the other colleges in the area. However, the
training the student receives at the colleges aids in fast tracking those individuals into starting positions at the various plants.

The expansion of COM should be the topic of the day instead of one of cutting back.

George Croix

I could see your credentials bet, and raise it, but what's the point...[wink]
You simply said the same thing I did (I do note that the Process Tech classes are primarily focused on Operations, not I/E...at least, they used to be...when I was helping some of the first instructors of it get started doing so).
Re-reading the article, I see it says the same things it did first time I read it -
“The nine positions that we’ve suggested don’t have a lot direct student interaction,”
"The positions are all have “back of the house” duties and would not affect student services if trustees chose to cut them,'
Ergo, unless the P-tech classes are considered not directly involved with students, or effecting them, then it's worrying about nothing. At least, so far...
Want to expand educational services? All for it, within the available resources, and would even vote to expand those if the malcontents and trouble makers at all levels can stay reduced. Because it's the primary job of a college to EDUCATE, not provide recreational opportunities for the community at lower than cost....

Gary Scoggin

A college isn't a business, it's a college. Their missions and measures of success are much different.

My only request of the Board regardinga these nine positions is that they ask the Administration to describe the consequences of these jobs going away. Presumably, these people are doing something of value to COM and when you arbitrarily cut jobs without identifying the corresponding things that won't be done anymore you open yourself for up unintended consequences. (This is something that George and my long-time employer wasn't particularly good at.)

If after considering the impact of these jobs going away, the Board decides the benefits are worth the risks, then they should cut the appropriate number of jobs. This could be any number between zero and nine. What shouldn't be done is to make cuts to meet an artificial number based on someone's perception of what the right number is.

George Croix

A college isn't a business?

"Business - An organization or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial or professional activities."

They sell a service in return for money, and supposedly hire professionals to do that. Two out of three right off the bat...

Burger King, a refinery, and a doctor have missions and measures of success vastly different, but all are businesses.
Or, should be...

NOT acting like a business should is exactly what got the local college so much in dutch.

imho

JBG JBG

Mr.gscoggin,
The President has already finished evaluating the jobs which were or will be presented to be cut and the affects it would have on the college as a whole. Your observation was a good one but it has been done already.
-
I disagree with you saying the college should not be operated like a business. I think business concepts will work really well in a college atmosphere, and I see where a lot of them are being used now. You have to look at profit margin, credits, debits, and bottom line in college as well as in a business. If you are losing more than what is coming in, you will have to close the college, raise taxes, or fire the ones running the college and raise taxes. What is different? You have to do the same in business!
-
You have to look at Over-Head in both arenas, and figure out what level you can dispense your products and still be able to remain in business, right? So what's different? College is not free like public schools, those who attend college must pay, and everything else evolves around the product(s) the college or business is producing.
-
I was skeptical of President Lewis when she first got there, and I did not like the COM BOT either! I'm crazy about ALL of them now, Especially Delgado, who just got there and operating like she has been there twenty years! I think if a man can be critical of Public Servants when they are incompetent, they HE OUGHT NOT TO BE A HYPOCRIT, BY NOT PRAISING THEM WHEN THEY ARE KICKING BUTT AND TAKING NAMES! That is what they are doing at COM now! They should be told that they are doing good.
-

JBG JBG

Corrections *******
-
they HE OUGHT NOT TO BE A HYPOCRIT, BY NOT PRAISING THEM WHEN THEY ARE KICKING BUTT AND TAKING NAMES! Should be :
-

..then....HE OUGHT NOT TO BE A HYPOCRIT, BY......... ( pardon me please )

Gary Scoggin

I've managed a large business, a small business, a church and a charity. The objective of a business is to make money, the more the better. That's a good thing. A church, a charity, and - yes - a college have a fundamentally different objective than a business, whether it's to save souls, help the poor or educate students. That's not to say that certain business principles don't apply, they do. Things like balance sheets, cash flow and capital budgets matter in all of these. They all have financial stakeholders that they must be held accountable to.

However, in the long run, colleges should be measured on the outcomes of the students they educate. As long as their budgets stay balanced and their costs stay reasonable, meeting their educational mission is what matters.

JBG JBG

Mr gscoggin,
-
Yes sir, I agree with you 70 percent! Let me explain, The quality of a student leaving school is only one of the considerations a college should be judged on, the other things you mentioned should also be used as important measurements in the process also, and they are. Look at COM. ( remember you have to stay in operation if you are going to educate students. )
-
The quality of students COM were sending out into the world, and into the industries, were never in question. The way they handled and managed money, taxes, people, were. Now something is being done about that too.
-
Not to say you are in error, because you are not, all I'm saying is quality of students aside, much of what is being used at COM now is what is being used at MARATHON REFINERIES, down the street. Teamwork, is another important item which is common in business and most any quality organization doing anything.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.