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.

Melissa Skipworth is a candidate for College of the Mainland’s board of trustees, Position 5.

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(4) comments

PD Hyatt

You might be better than what we got, but from what I have seen and the taxes I have paid to get what we now have, I for one am not intrested in paying you people another nickle in taxes just to see you all waste it away like has been done of the last several decades! You all have not even discussed about have the North County start paying their fair share of the COM taxes and now you want to raise our again? I say double NO until they start being taxed at the same rate as we are!

TJ Aulds

Paul. A very good point. Financial responsibility is key. That's why Melissa is actually addressing those issues head on. In fact I just watched a video she posted last night on that subject. Worth watching. That way you can see how she and the other new board member (hopefully Don Gartman) do in action to earn your trust. Melissa's incumbent opponent is doing nothing to address your concerns except give people platitudes. Here's the video link. https://www.facebook.com/melissaforcom/videos/229937957487846/

Jack Cross

PD, from what I see or know, I agree with you about the North Campus, but forget about League City joining the COM District they have San Jac, The students pay and out of district fee. COM says the North Campus breaks even, I really don't know. I feel that the issue of the North Campus will be taken off the table and these classes will be brought to the main campus. Even if the NC costs are justified I don't think COM would want this to be an issue during any bond proposals and I expect it to be taken off the table. In the meantime, I disagree with you about COMs value to the students in these local communities. There is no question about the education qualities and the huge amount of money high school students can save getting an inexpensive first two years of college here at home. During the questions about the trustees, there was never no question about the quality of the education COM offers.
This vote is not about COM it is about electing good trustees to correct the problems you are concerned about. I look at it as an opportunity not something negative because COM is a valuable asset to these communities.

PD Hyatt

Well from what I have seen over the last 2 decades we have not had a BOT that did anything but fight with each other, fire presidents and a whole lot of other things.... So I guess Mr. Cross since I do believe in seeing things happen before I vote to give more of my money awwy to government enities I want to see them act like they know what they are doing before I willing give up any more to them.... It is easy to give away OPM as we have seen our goverenments grow to the point that they no longer listen to the people who elect them.... Until I see otherwise I will be writing,calling and talking with everyone I know to vote down this bond issue.... Why didn't we take care of what we had and not worry about building stupid class rooms for people in the North part of the county who want to use our college but they don't want to pay for it with their taxes like we do.... Until the whole county pays as it should then I say again NO....

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