Part XVII: July 11, 2017-A Day that Will Live in Infamy At Cleveland Community College!!! –Shannon Kennedy to be Next President of CCC??? –Board of Trustee Gridlock, Lie Detector Tests, Conflicts of Interest Allegations and Total Board Incompetence Cost Taxpayers and Donors $200,000 with more losses and scandals sure to come!!! Report and evaluations by Robert A. Williams

Editor’s Notes: While writing Article Part XVI (Published July 8, 2017) about the CCC Board of Trustees meeting held June 11, 2017 regarding the many scandals and the leadership crisis at Cleveland Community College, which have been magnified ten times over by cover-up, gridlock, and what appears to be all around bumbling (seemingly on purpose) by the CCC Board of Trustees, and the planned schemes by the CCC Administration the following thought became obvious:

“Perhaps it is time to just pull the plug on Cleveland Community College and Cleveland County students go to Gaston College, Isothermal or Catawba Valley Tech in Hickory.”…Robert A. Williams in CCC Part XVI Article. I would now modify this a bit to leave off the word “Perhaps” and add “have the State Board of Community Colleges completely take over the running of CCC.” As it is now certain after the July 11, 2017 CCC BoT meeting that the CCC Board of Trustees are not capable, as a group of individual trustees with enough of them to cause gridlock so their own agenda to keep a lid on the bad things that have happened and are still happening can prevail. I was relatively late in coming to this conclusion.

The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renews reporter who first broke this sordid mess at CCC back in her April 4, 2017 article concluded her article early on by saying “If trustees aren’t willing to fully investigate potential whistleblower claims, which seems to be the case now, the onus is on North Carolina’s State Board of Community Colleges and other higher-level policymakers to do so. If that doesn’t happen, innocent college instructors may be mistreated, students may end up shortchanged, and taxpayer funds may be wasted on questionable or poorly managed programs.”

It is sad to say that the scandals swirling around CCC have now been traced back to the hiring of Dr. Shannon Kennedy, her rapid and controversial rise to power and dual enrollment program problems surfacing as early as 2005. Now the scandals have been exposed and Dr. Steve Thornburg is still on the job pending his $200,000 payoff. And the CCC Board and the scheming administration seems to be heading toward promoting Dr. Shannon Kennedy to President of Cleveland Community College. Read on. I bet when the pieces of the puzzle are put together in this article every reader with the most basic level of comprehension will come to the same conclusion as the James C. Martin Center Reporter and as I have come to those same conclusions.

July 11, 2017, 11:30 AM, Cleveland Community College, Shelby, North Carolina.

I walked into the CCC Jack Hunt Campus building seconds behind 2017 School Board candidate Kevin Whisnant. Mr. Whisnant, uncertain where the Board of Trustees Board Meeting was to be held, waited for me at the top of the stairs. I showed Mr. Whisnant where the Board Meeting was to be held. We were the first of many that were coming to attend the BoT scheduled meeting. Little did anybody expect at that time, but a planned scheme by CCC Administration to “trick” the Trustees had already began. Read on!!

As we were still very early, Mr. Whisnant and I were waiting outside the President’s Office door when CCC President Dr. Steve Thornburg came out the door pulling a lectern that had sheets of paper attached to it. I asked Dr. Thornburg if that was where you want us to sign in to attend the meeting? Dr. Thornburg said, “no, this is the sign-up for people who want to speak to the Board during public participation.” I immediately “smelled a rat” as this public participation signup sheet already had a number of signatures already on it, before it ever hit the light of day. I did not recognize any of the several signatures on that sheet. However, since I have attended County Commissioner meetings and School Board meetings for years, I have learned to pay attention to even the slightest detail of what goes on in Board meetings. And when there is some deviation, there is a reason for it that will soon play out if you pay close attention. Read on and I will explain to you the significance of those pre-signed public participation sign-up sheets during the course of the Board Meeting.

As the time for the meeting to start (12 Noon-sharp) came near and more and more citizens were coming in, we all went into the Board Room and found a seat. I immediately recognized that the CCC Board and Administration had read my previous article criticizing the “fancy meal” that they had at taxpayer expense. Fine china, lily white custom monogrammed (cloth napkins, silverware, steaming hot serving trays and a full and fancy meal. This time they still had all the fancy china, etc. but the meal was a single large scoop of chicken salad and a sandwich roll. Plus a very small individual dish containing some grapes or black olives. I was not close enough to tell which.

Since I happened to have found a seat close to the head of the big shiny table, I reminded Chairman Greg Melton that according to North Carolina law, the Board of Trustees had gathered together at 12-Noon and that is when the meeting actually began, And that just simply changing the agenda to show the meeting started at 12:30 PM so the Trustees could eat their meal did not satisfy NC Law regarding changing the time, place or date of a Board meeting. Mr. Melton immediately turned around, left and came back with Ms. Shante Martin, an attorney with the NC State Community College Association. Ms. Martin explained that they had posted a time change on the President’s Office door and that was all they needed to do to change the time of the meeting. Well, I was not going to have any of that. I informed Ms. Martin that posting a sheet of paper on the President’s Door at a Community College that happened to be closed for the summer did not meet the standards of public notification according to the law as it was stated. Also, I said, the Board of Trustees would have had to vote at their last meeting before the change of schedule for the meeting and they had not done so. Ms. Martin had no answer for that. But again, this was the first time a lawyer had attended a CCC Board of Trustee meeting. Again, I smelled a Rat!!! Bad legal advice telling the Board that what they did was right when it was obviously wrong. Something was up. In just a few minutes I see Ralph Meekins, the CCC Board lawyer. Later there would be a third lawyer. Something was definitely up.

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4 Comments for “Part XVII: July 11, 2017-A Day that Will Live in Infamy At Cleveland Community College!!! –Shannon Kennedy to be Next President of CCC??? –Board of Trustee Gridlock, Lie Detector Tests, Conflicts of Interest Allegations and Total Board Incompetence Cost Taxpayers and Donors $200,000 with more losses and scandals sure to come!!! Report and evaluations by Robert A. Williams”

  1. Kevin Proctor

    Mr. Williams my name is Kevin Proctor. If you will please respond correctly with what I truly said. I requested that the Board move the college towards focusing on students. I did say that I had been contacted by Ginger Bullock and felt I needed to speak up. I didn’t say everything was great. I plead for the Board to move the college to focus more on our students. I never said everything is great and perfect. I’m not on anyone’s side except for the students and I made that clear at the meeting. I will not play the manipulation of words game nor will I justify anything inappropriate that has occurred. I made it clear that I am on the side of our students. I’ll same the politics to others. Thank you for allowing me to clarify my statements in order to clarify your statements. Thank you.

    • Robert A Williams

      Mr. Proctor.

      I heard what you said clearly as I was less than 10 feet away.
      You were the second speaker and one of those whose name was signed on the list before the list was available to the public, with the obvious intent of running out the clock before those who had genuine issues had a chance to speak. Now, you want to change your narrative because the political wind might be blowing in the other direction as an Interim President is only days away from taking office..

      You are correct as I didn’t print every word that you said. You also did not give me a copy of your presentation as others have sometimes done and I printed them verbatim. I am not a stenographer. I listen to the speaker, take notes and summarize what was said. You, stated several times that the Board should be more interested in doing what is best for students. That is a given. In my abbreviated account on what you said I would never write down a single statement three times in my notes and then print it three times in my article. And your purpose was obvious, take the Board’s attention away from the genuine issues that others wanted to bring before the Board. You wanted to look good to high level administration folks who arranged to put your name on the speakers list before the list was available to the public.

      One more thing. You did mention Ginger Bullock had called you about the meeting. But you seem to have left out the part about various Deans at CCC recruiting people, obviously including you, to speak up with the “I love CCC, it is so great and good just like it is” narrative.

      Thank you for your comment, but don’t expect to be treated with kid gloves when you are trying to deflect public attention away from real issues and real problems at CCC..

      Robert A. Williams

      • Robert A Williams

        Mr. Proctor,

        I received your second comment and have disapproved it. Do not tell me that the Public Participation sign-in sheet was outside the Presidents Office at 9:30 AM.when I personally watched, with my own eyes, Dr. Thornburg bring it out at about 11:40 AM.

        Also, I am not operating a website that allows name-calling, whining and downright misrepresentations to be published on my dime.

        I suggest you get serious about your situation and do not get caught up in such planned schemes as you have just been caught in. I know and YOU know you had access to the public participation sign in sheet before any member of the public had the sign in. You were not the only one.

        For your information I received this information from a trusted source regarding the speaker before you, who was the first to sign up in this planned scheme: “Just told that ‘Betty Stack new Dean who spoke at meeting, came down to Bailey and told one of her people (name removed) in her division that they were watching who was at meeting and who they talked to and all'” This is the crowd you have chosen to align yourself with and I have no sympathy for those that have to learn what is right and what is wrong the hard way. And so late in life.

        Robert A. Williams

  2. Judy

    Shannon Kennedy should NOT be allowed to represent CCC at any meetings and make no further decisions for CCC. She is one of the major problems and should be dismissed immediately. I truly believe that the faculty and staff will be demoralized if she and several of the Deans are not dismissed. CCC must regroup with new leadership in MANY positions. This fiasco must end with new leadership and a new direction for Cleveland Community College.

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