The seemingly endless saga of scandals and gridlock swirling around Cleveland Community College will continue a little longer. maybe a lot longer.
What we know for a fact is there was and still is a great turmoil at CCC surrounding the former CCC President Steve Thornburg and his sex soulmate (if only in Thornburg’s mind as indicated by his college IT password–“fuckshannon69”) Executive VP Shannon Kennedy. Thornburg relinquished basic control of CCC to Kennedy, Kennedy allegedly set up a network of underlings who viciously carried out a scandalous and likely illegal reign of terror at CCC that allegedly included the firing of anybody who complained or asked too many questions, misappropriated or misapplied funding, dumbed down dual enrollment classes and other such alleged acts of mayhem and corruption. And, of course, the gridlock on the CCC Board of Trustee between the forces for good and the forces of evil that have prevented the sweeping changes necessary to clean up ALL the corrupt interworkings at CCC to this very day.
Of course things are not that simple. The CCC Board of Trustees have basic problems all on their on. Lawsuits included. The CCC BoTs have found themselves having to cover up for the years of their own total incompetence in providing leadership and oversight that happened on their watch. Conflicts of interest too. The list goes on and on with this crowd who have their own agenda set by those that appointed them.
And, here is the rub for the County Commissioners and their appointment of a Board of Trustee member for the seat on the board presently held by CCC BoT Chairman Wes Westmoreland whose term has expired. BoT Member and Vice Chairman Wayne King, a Republican appointed by the Governor also had his term expire and the present Democrat Governor will certainly not re-appoint Republican Wayne King to the CCC BoT. But the Commissioners could. Or the Commissioners could appoint someone like Dr. John L. Reynolds who is well respected in the community, has no attachment to past “baggage” regarding the CCC BoTs and would be expected to do what was right for CCC. Chris Turner’s CCC BoT term, appointed by the School Board, also expired, but that will be reported on regarding the school board later in this article.
All these considerations came together at the June 5, 2018 Commissioner’s meeting when their selection for the expired 2018 CCC Board of Trustee Commissioner appointment was on the agenda for a vote. Basically “All Hell Broke Loose” relatively speaking for a Commissioner Board that apparently prides themselves to be “Rubber Stampers” where every vote is a unanimous vote.
This is how it came down.
Early in every commissioners meeting the Number 1 item of business called “Adoption of the Proposed Agenda” comes up for approval or amendment. Otherwise the meeting stops right then or there. The Proposed Agenda, Item 9 was the Appointment of a CCC Board of Trustee member.
At this Adoption of the Proposed Agenda item of business, Commissioner Johnny Hutchins made a motion to delay Item 9,the CCC BoT appointment, to another meeting (date not specified) as more information was needed. Hutchins’ Motion was Seconded and it was up for a vote. Prior to this vote, for as long as I can remember every vote of the commissioners has been illegally discussed in advance behind closed doors and the vote at the meeting would be unanimous to approve the motion. All nice and neat like this crowd ALL knew what they were doing.
But not this time.
Chairman Holbrook called for those who approve of the motion to raise their right hands. Hutchins, Doug Bridges and then Holbrook raised their hands. But Commissioners Susan Allen and Ronnie Whetstine did NOT raise their hands. Holbrook was astounded and didn’t know what to do. County Attorney Tim Moore reminded Chairman Holbrook that, for the record, Holbrook had to call for those opposed to the motion to also vote. So. Holbrook called for a show of hands for those opposed to the motion. Then Allen and Whetstine raised their hands in opposition. (I am certain that this was the first time ever Commissioner Whetstine had ever voted NO on anything. Maybe Commissioner Allen too, but I am not as certain of that.)
So, the yearly appointment of a CCC BoT member has been delayed indefinitely based on this illegally split 3-2 vote. A Vote that should have been 2-2 since Holbrook is a CCC Senior Dean, third on the top heavy CCC salary list (greater than $125,000), with no actual job description, who should have disqualified or recused himself from voting because of this conflict of interest.
Since there was no discussion of any kind in regard to why a delay was actually needed or what more factual information was needed by anyone about anything, especially since these yearly appointments are usually so routine, you just have to conclude there is trouble in paradise at CCC that is spilling over onto the Commissioners. And vise versa.
Of course one could speculate that the split vote was due to the old Shelby v. Kings Mountain rivalry and the who gets what battle that always leaves out the rest of Cleveland County. But I don’t think that was it.
Since CCC does have a new and well qualified President to replace Thornburg (and Thornburg AND Kennedy), the only thing holding back cleaning up the rest of the mess at CCC is the Board of Trustees not allowing the new President, Dr. Jason Hurst, to do his job. Plus the old guard BoTs keeping the old problems secret from him. Commissioner Eddie Holbrook and his high salary (Number 3-about $120,000 plus) and no clear job to do at CCC as Senior Dean of Development and Government Relations also has to factor into the equation.
Holbrook teaches no classes and the President, if he is smart (and he is), would want to be in charge of development and government relations himself if he is going to be in charge at all. Holbrook at 82 years old (17 years on Medicare) should be the first to go in the new administration at CCC.
Same with Executive Vice President Shannon Kennedy. Kennedy also teaches no classes, is a part of the past and present administration’s top heavy salary structure (Number 2), all the scandals and allegations (from allegations of being a sex soulmate to Thornburg (if only in his mind) to allegations of dumbing down classes, misappropriation or misapplication of funds, to the vindictive firing, etc. all revolve around Dr. Shannon Kennedy. If the new President is to put CCC administration into order, eliminating the Executive Vice President position would be in order. What to do with Kennedy, in the same manner as she has allegedly applied to others, would be simple. Just get rid of her. Eliminating the position would be the best way to do that. Or, eliminating the ExVP position and demote her back to teaching classes would be another way. But, perhaps a more dangerous way. Sending her back to Gardner-Webb with a high sounding title and doing nothing in regard to college administration would work too. Kennedy and former CCS Superintendent Bruce Boyles could perhaps share an office in the basement.
Now, the CCS School Board has held their June 11, 2018 meeting, itself a controversy, and appointed Chris Monroe to CCC Board of Trustees. The CCS Board Nomination Committee Chairman Richard Hooker Nominated Chris Monroe and did not mince words why. According to Richard Hooker, the School Board always nominates those that will “Support” Cleveland County Schools. Which is “Code: for “do what we want you to do.” Not do what is best for educating Cleveland County students. Nobody else was nominated and Chris Monroe was approved as the CCS appointment to the CCC BoT.
So folks, stay tuned for the next meeting of the Cleveland County Commissioners to see what they do in regard to making their appointment to the CCC Bot. Of course they may be waiting for the Governor to make his appointment. And then figure out what they can do to keep Commissioner Eddie Holbrook in the money and keep the cover-up going too. Only thing though is the Elections in November. Massa Eddie just squeaked by the Democrat Primary Election in May with his “Plantation Politics” and who the Commissioners appoint to the CCC BoT may influence whether or not Holbrook (as well as Ronnie Whetstine and Doug Bridges) gets re-elected as Plantation Politics don’t work so well when everybody gets to vote. And run for office. Be prepared for some surprises in the Commissioner’s election November 6, 2018.