Wednesday, June 19, 2013

GCC: Budget sparks, accreditation steps

By Tom Loeffler
GCC Board Member


The Gila Community College (GCC) budget hearing for citizens caused some disagreement with both the board and among themselves. The meeting began by asking if any citizens wished to speak before the board took up the budget for FY 2014.  Mr. Armstrong from Payson asked to speak to the board.

Armstrong began by pointing out that he discovered several errors in the published budget and it was a lazy way to lay it out. The way a budget should be presented is so the general public can understand all elements of the budget and what items make up the overall cost of the almost $6.5 million budget for 2014. According to the Arizona open meeting law, the Board cannot discuss what is brought up during the Call to the Public. This is the period in the meeting when the public can address the Board on any topic.

During Armstrong’s presentation, board member Robert Ashford spoke up and reminded President Larry Stephenson that the three minute time limit was up some time ago. President Stephenson responded by saying this was a special budget hearing and the only purpose of the meeting was to allow the public to voice their views. Since there was only two individuals speaking on the topic he would allow Armstrong a longer period of time. Armstrong then cut his comments short and reminded all that he was not finished with the budget problem.

A motion to adjourn was made shortly thereafter and later, during the Special Meeting to approve the budget, the Board voted five to zero to approve the $6.5 million amount as published.  


As Gila Community College begins its first steps toward the school’s accreditation and becoming separated from Eastern Arizona College (EAC), President Larry Stephenson handed out board assignments at the June 13 Board meeting. This will be a two to three year effort to accomplish this first step. If successful with this first step, the college will be able to accredit our own courses.

President Stephenson assigned each member of the Board a two month task. When all the assignments are complete and approved by the Board, the college can apply to the Higher Learning Commission to begin the process of accreditation. Items include, among others: development of a Business Plan, Mission Statement, Incorporation Document and audits and budgets. Since the college does not have a CEO, Tom Loeffler was tasked with writing a job description for that position.

In other business the Board approved a RFP for a Lobbyist firm. The Board wanted to change the time line of this type contract to begin on July 1 in the future instead of January 1. The Board will hear proposals for such at a later date.

About three years ago, then President Ashford eliminated all of GCC’s current policies. Since that time the Board has been operating without any of its own policies. The Board has now begun to correct that situation by approving the first two new GCC policies other than the existing financial policies. Each month Loeffler will present two policies for approval.
Secretary Sam Moorhead was scheduled to present the results of a tuition survey but instead he wanted to place it on the next agenda. Moorhead wanted the Board to vote on a new tuition schedule that he developed without first reviewing the survey results.

President Stephenson questioned the process saying why would we vote on a new tuition schedule before we know the survey results. Stephenson said we should approach this in a business fashion and wanted to see the results before placing a vote on the agenda. Moorhead insisted it be placed on the agenda and Ashford said it was tyranny not to do so.

At that point Loeffler pointed out that when Ashford was president he would consistently not place items on the agenda.  At that point the discussion stopped and no decision was made.

The Board went on to approve several contracts with high schools to provide for dual enrollment and then adjourned.

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