Folks, now is not the time to celebrate at Cleveland Community College. Things at CCC may now seem to be heading in the right direction, but if we take our eyes off the ball, we might regret it. Let’s make a list of problems that have not been totally resolved and see what we have to do to get everything fixed like it should be.
1. The new president selection has yet to be completed. My original pick was Dr. Jason Hurst due to his high level of experience and competence in Workforce Development. Cleveland County needs a good plan for Workforce Development and a good person to implement that plan. Such a plan has not yet been articulated clearly at CCC (of CCS for that matter) and, as you know, the devil is in the details. More about that later.
If you listen close to Dr. Camille Reese’s interview, she seems to have a toughness that would be necessary to shape up the overall organization at CCC–to pull up the weeds by the roots, so to speak. And not likely to fall for a pretty face as former President Thornburg and interim President Bill Aiken appear to have done.
Also, it is unknown whether or not these two finalists know how just how much personnel reorganization is necessary at CCC or that the College is under legal actions that will require resolution and perhaps Court Orders. Reliable sources indicate that the Caylor Investigative Report has purposely been withheld, upon legal advice, by the CCC Board of Trustees due to the report containing information that would be “detrimental” to the BoT’s defense in these legal actions. I have requested the material in the Caylor Investigation from CCC under the Freedom of Information Act as well as North Carolina Public Records laws but the BoT’s have illegally ignored my requests and refused to provide the material. Of course everybody already knows that if the BoT’s had been doing their job al along, the situation would have never come to this. And the BoT’s are in a cover-up mode for their own actions as well as the actions of others. I mention this as a warning to the CCC BoT that if they get caught withholding evidence in court cases, they may find themselves in contempt of court-or worse.
So, you have to wonder; if the two remaining Presidential Candidates learn the magnitude of the problems at CCC, including a BoT cover-up, would they decide to withdraw their applications like three of the other finalists have already done. If that happens, what comes next? Perhaps a better question would be, who comes next?
Think about that for a minute. This Presidential Search (with the two finalists noted above) is not done until one is selected, accepts the President’s position and signs the contract.
This is probably the easy part though, even though it is still fraught with peril. We will multitask through this by closely watching what goes on in the near term as well as looking for the best path to a bright future at CCC.
2. The lawsuits and legal actions against CCC must be quickly settled and all underlying issues must be resolved. And damages paid as required. However, just paying off the legal actions without fixing the underlying issues is not acceptable. All that would do is cause more lawsuits. All of this is the BoT’s responsibility. We expect the BoT to take the necessary actions as needed to resolve complaints properly to avoid lawsuits in the first place and make whole those that were damaged during the time the BoT was not doing their jobs. All these resolutions may require personnel changes that may end up necessarily with personal discipline up to termination. Whatever it takes.
3. Eliminate the position of Executive Vice President. Even the current holder of this position, Dr. Shannon Kennedy, stated in her public interview that she would not fill this position if she was selected as President. This position on the CCC Organization Chart has too many oversight lines of responsibility that filter out too many lines of management feedback from the President.
4. Allegations of “watering-down” College level courses for dual enrollment programs as a way to bring in more revenue to CCC must be totally and properly resolved. There is too much anecdotal evidence that such a watering-down of coursework is going on to just dismiss these allegations out of hand. Perhaps this is what is causing the Caylor Report to be withheld from the public s well as the Courts. Transparency is the best policy and it is about time the CCC BoTs come to realize that fact. And to practice what they preach.
5. Nepotism and hiring and promoting family and friends must stop. Hiring and promoting must be performance based. That is simple enough, so ’nuff said about that.
This list is not complete, but is a good starting point. CCC BoT’s, you have your work cut out for you.