Editor’s Note: This article is a bare-bones and bare-knuckle description of a massive waste, an intentional waste, an unnecessary waste, of taxpayer money at Cleveland Community College. All the while supporting a Sales Tax Increase. And, the proof is provided below.
The documents attached below were obtained from Cleveland Community College under the Freedom Of Information Act s well as North Carolina Public Records laws that I submitted March 12, 2019. Six Months Ago!!! The request was based on statements the new and overwhelmed Cleveland Community College President, Dr. Jason Hurst, made during a report to the CCC Board of Trustees during an “official” CCC BoT meeting. After my request, Dr. Hurst never gave such a report again to the BoTs. At whose insistence, I do not know.
The document shows that the Gaston College Advanced Manufacturing Center cost $8 million total. $5.1 Million for the Advanced Manufacturing Center building and $2.9 for equipment that fits the needs of Gaston County manufacturing businesses. It is a top-notch facility and Gaston County industry, citizens and government agencies are all rightly are proud of it. Workforce Development in Gaston County is well served by the educational system, Gaston County Schools and Gaston College, in a fiscally responsible way. Gaston County is NOT a dying county as Cleveland County has been assessed to be. Boomerang Architects, including Shelby Mayor Stan Anthony designed and built the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Gaston College.
On the other hand, reports in the Shelby Star and other sources indicate the cost for an Advanced Manufacturing Center, now called the Advanced Technology Center at Cleveland Community College has already been funded for $14+million in 2018 and not a shovel full of dirt has been turned to date. The Shelby Star reported in their September 21, 2018 issue that the State of North Carolina has already provided $9 million for the CCC Advanced Manufacturing Center. The Connect NC Bond provided $4.8 Million and the Long Leaf Pine Foundation kicked in another $1.5 Million. That is in September 2018. A year ago, and CCC has a total of $15.3 Million to do what Gaston College did with $5.1 Million. Yet CCC has spent only around $36,000 just thinking about what to do for the past year. And still CCC doesn’t know what to do. Roger Holland of Holland and Hamrick was selected the Architects for the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Cleveland Community college.
So, the Math is easy. Cleveland County has $15.3 Million cash on hand for a job that should only cost $5.1 million. Ain’t that a difference of $10.2 Million extra spent for the same thing that Gaston College already has up and running. And CCC is supporting a Sales Tax Increase!!!
So, now what do we call this $10.2 Million that will be wasted? Fraud? A swindle? A conspiracy to do both? Actually, I was surprised to learn that it is NOT necessarily illegal or criminal for Roger Holland to quoted severely excessive prices as long as the CCC Board of Trustees and Jason Hurst actually know and understand that the quoted price is excessive. And accept the anyway. Foolish, certainly. Stupid, certainly. Fiscally irresponsible, certainly. But not necessarily criminal as it is not illegal to be a fool. Or an idiot. Or totally wasteful with taxpayer’s money.
Shelby Mayor Stan Anthony warned the CCC BoTs that their former BoT Chairman was probably guilty of criminal self-dealing since he was a direct employee of Holland And Hamrick. I published Anthony’s warning letter for the world, including Cleveland County Commissioners and the CCC Bots to see. Several years ago, now. So, Cleveland County Commissioners, CCC BoTs, Jason Hurst and every Cleveland County citizen and voter had the opportunity to know what was going on. And did nothing.
Basically, the jist of all of this is Cleveland County citizens has basically voted to keep the same crowd in office that appointed the CCC BoTs to do foolish, stupid and irresponsible stuff to begin with. We, no YOU, are just as foolish, stupid and irresponsible as the Commissioners, CCC BoTs, the School Board etc. YOU are the ones that allowed all this waste and another $10.2 Million in waste to slip through YOUR fingers!!!!
Are YOU still foolish, stupid and irresponsible enough to vote FOR a sales tax increase onto yourself so the foolish and stupid so-called county Leadership can and will waste MORE of YOUR money? And MY money.
YOU can vote for a Sales tax increase if YOU want to. I will vote AGAINST this silly sales tax increase as well as voting AGAINST Commissioners Susan Allen, Ronnie Whetstine and Johnny Hutchins in the 2020 elections for putting this Sales Tax Referendum on the 2019 Ballot to begin with. Much less for allowing an extra $10.2 million be wasted by the foolish, stupid and irresponsible CCC BoTs that they appointed. BAD JUDGEMENT all around.
Now, for an additional bit of bad judgement. The CCC BoTs have the present opportunity of shutting down this wasteful project and starting all over again; by making informed, wise, smart and responsible decisions. And actually, save most of that $10.2 Million that will otherwise be wasted. But I’ll bet they won’t!!!
Click here for the Shelby Star article.Dropbox 11 Gaston Comm College AMC