I recently spoke at a candidate forum about the need for greater transparency from College of the Mainland’s board of trustees. My opponent, Roney McCrary, also spoke at this event and referred to COM’s need to pass a bond, saying: “Aging facilities are something that we do need to address. When the time is right we need to do something about it ...”
Mr. McCrary, why isn’t that time now? We know the answer. The board failed to focus on the good of the institution and shirked their responsibility to listen to the community. Controversial decisions, such as the decision to end former President Beth Lewis’ contract, were deliberated in closed session with little justification being provided to the public.
This decision was made with the full understanding that non-renewal was overwhelmingly opposed by the public and that proceeding would cost the college the community support necessary to pursue a desperately needed bond election. The board’s actions put COM in the same place it was in six years ago: waiting for the right time …
The board has presided over four presidential administrations in the last six years and has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance. The college now has one of best qualified presidents in the state in Dr. Warren Nichols. It’s said that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Will there be a “controversy” over Dr. Nichols’ leadership in the coming years?
Do you want a college that is successful despite its leadership or do you want a college that’s success is enhanced by that leadership?
I prefer the latter. I possess the skills needed to serve the community as trustee. I have a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Houston and I have 15 years of human resources experience. More importantly, I bring a set of fresh eyes and the will that’s needed to break through this stagnation.
On May 6th, hundreds of students will graduate from COM, having earned an associate’s degree or workforce certificate while others will transfer to a university. Many of you watch or act alongside students in COM’s theater productions, learn new skills in COM’s Continuing Education programs, or create memories with your families while feeding the ducks at Lake Eckhart. COM is an invaluable community resource and great things happen there every day.
With your support, we can enhance these successes and ensure that College of the Mainland serves the community for the next 50 years and beyond.