As I sated in my first Open Letter, I am no “apple-polisher.” I am also a resident, citizen, taxpayer and voter in Cleveland County North Carolina who speaks out loudly when I see waste, injustice, corruption, incompetence, malfeasance and cover-up in County Agencies. It appears Cleveland Community College high level Administration and Governance has a large dose of the previously noted negative attributes. Plus an unhealthy measure of disdain for the “little people.” The public, the taxpayers who pay the bills and even the donors who have their names on your buildings.
When I read the draft minutes of the special meeting held July 30, 2017, especially the part regarding “Public Participation,” It was shockingly obvious that the CCC Board of Trustees had not only gone back to their old, illegal and business as usual ways, they have done so with malice aforethought-full knowledge of what they were doing and no respect at all for the public. Or, they all have surrendered to the forces of evil and became evil themselves.
First, Minutes of meetings of government agency meetings are an official record describing in a full and accurate manner what transpired in that meeting. This record need not be verbatim, but it must be close; fully and accurately describing everything that happened, what was said and any and all actions taken in the meeting.
As you will soon see, the July 30, 2017 draft minutes, the part described below, does not abide by the laws of North Carolina, ethical behavior, common sense or anything reasonable. The intent had to be cover-up as actions since this meeting also suit that description-cover-up. The same apparent intention of a forthcoming investigation of a previous investigation that found no wrongdoing when wrongdoing was and is obvious.
For your convenience the following is lifted from the draft minutes of the July 30, 2017 meeting-Public Comments only:
Chairman Westmoreland acknowledged the public guests and their desire to speak. As a reminder, Chairman Westmoreland read Public Comment Period at Board of Trustees’ Meetings statement.
There were five public guests that signed in to speak. Brendan LeGrand, Susan Urbanski, Wanda Leonard, Libby Stone, and Ginger Bullock. Topics referenced included the allocation of money for Dr. Thornburg, the Board’s ability in making decisions, a former employee and her experience with her contract not being renewed, the need for Trustees to attend Ethics training, and another former employee’s experience in seeking an audience with the Board of Trustees.
Now, also for your convenience, I am enclosing my description of this part of the July 30, 2017 meeting that I included in an article I published August 1, 2017. The first day that CCC came under the leadership of Dr. Aiken. Please compare my full and accurate accounting of what transpired and what your so called “official record” as shown above stated. Notice the difference:
Chairman Wes Westmoreland conducted the meeting in a professional manner. As well as bringing up the public participation part of the agenda to the full board, which was accepted unanimously.
Brendan LeGrand was the first speaker. Mrs. LeGrand has scolded the Board of Trustees on several occasions, and rightly so, regarding the handling of the many scandals at CCC. On this occasion Mrs. LeGrand clearly informed the Board that the payoff to President Thornburg was rewarding bad behavior on Thornburg’s part and was very unpopular with the public. “This is on you” Mrs. LeGrand told the Board, “you should put up the money” to pay off the debt that you created. Mrs. LeGrand also stated that Thornburg had not paid off the fine the Board had previously imposed.
Susan Urbanski spoke next. Ms. Urbanski has also spoken to the Board on other occasions regarding the situations and circumstances that caused her to quit CCC in disgust. On this occasion Ms. Urbanski recommended the Board to make their own decisions and not be unduly influenced by others who have their own agenda that may not be in the best interest of CCC. Ms. Urbanski also chided those that were going around saying “there are two sides to every story.” When you are an employee and had to deal with Shannon Kennedy it was always one-sided and Kennedy didn’t care for the little people. She added that “the other side of the story” was never heard by the Board, only Kennedy and her team had the ear of the Board. Many people were simply run off from CCC by the Kennedy crowd.
Wanda Leonard was the next speaker. Ms. Leonard told the Board about her own personal experience with being run off by CCC. Ms. Leonard had helped initiate a specialty nurses training program out of nothing at CCC and turned it into a very good programs where Hospital Emergency Rooms actually sought out her students at graduation. But Ms. Leonard somehow ran afoul of the Kennedy crowd and one day in the middle of a class, Director Becky Sain and HR Director Knicely came to her classroom carrying a brown box, asked the students to leave the classroom, terminated Ms. Leonard’s contract on the spot, packed her personal stuff into the box and escorted her to her car. Ms. Leonard stated to the Board that CCC used to be a good place to work but when Kennedy and her entourage took over “things went to hell in a handbasket.”
Libby Stone spoke next. Ms. Stone stated that the CCC Website needed improvement. That minutes to meetings and other things could not be found. (I told the Board the same thing in a previous meeting.) Also some minutes were vague and didn’t particularly provide an accurate accounting of what transpired in the meeting. I have discovered much of the same thing basically through many years until just recently, now that CCC and the Board are under a microscope and rightly so. Ms. Stone also stated that the CCC Board of Trustees should attend the mandated Trustee and ethics training.
Ginger Bullock spoke next. It was improvised but totally damning and powerful example of an inactive CCC Board of Trustees. Mrs. Bullock states “I am tired of seeing my name in the newspapers, Political Smack-Down and other Media” when the entire Board of Trustees, specifically Allen Langley, never spoke to me or asked me not one single question. (After the meeting I asked Allen Langley about this and Mr. Langley admitted Bullock’s statement was true. According to Mr. Langley he had been directed not to talk to Bullock as the employee grievance policies did not allow this. I stated to Mr. Langley that the Board’s Policies were clearly not effective and the CCC Board was hiding behind poor policies to justify their actions, inactions in this case. More about this in other articles.) Mrs. Bullock told the Board that she had PROOF to show what she has said is true. Mrs. Bullock asked the Board, “How can you review me without talking to me.” And “What has taken you so long.” Mrs. Bullock then described how she was treated when she was only trying to make sure the lessons she was responsible for were done properly and that she simply got a letter in the mail that she was terminated.
No Board member had any comments, statements of questions for any of the speakers.
Now that the two accounts of the public participation at the July 30, 2017 meeting are compared side by side, it becomes totally obvious why CCC wants to hide and cover-up the content of this public participation information from their official records. Now that these two accounts can be compared side by side, and the CCC Board of Trustees were there to actually hear for themselves what was actually said, it is totally obvious that my account of this public participation is full and accurate and the CCC account is empty and wrong.
Therefore, I am requesting that this Open Letter number two be included in the August 8, 2017 meeting minutes in two places. First, in the section where the minutes of previous meetings are approved and second, in the Public Participation section of the August 8, 2017 meeting minutes.
Should the CCC Interim President and Board of Trustees refuse this request, No Matter, this letter and all other pertinent information will be published to the public and the CCC cover-up be damned. Remember, I am no “apple-polisher.”
Robert A. Williams