By guest writer Melissa Skipworth
Recently, I spoke at a candidate forum about the need for greater transparency from College Of The Mainland’s board of trustees. My opponent Roney McCrary also spoke and referred to COM’s need to pass a bond, saying: “Aging facilities are something that we do need to address. When the time is right, we need to do something about it …”
Why isn’t that time now, Mr McCrary? We know the answer. The board members have failed to focus on the good of the institution and shirked their responsibility to listen to the community. Controversial moves, such as the decision to end former president Beth Lewis’ contract, were deliberated in closed session with little justification for the actions provided to the public.
The Lewis decision was made with the full understanding that non-renewal was overwhelmingly opposed by the public and that proceeding would cost the college the community support necessary to pursue a desperately needed bond election.
The board’s actions put COM in the same place it was in six years ago – waiting for the right time.
The board has presided over four presidential administrations in the past six years and has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance pay. The college now has one of the best qualified presidents in the state in Warren Nichols. It’s said that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Will there be a “controversy” over Nichols’ leadership in the coming years?
Do you want a community college for our mainland that is successful in spite of its leadership or do you want a college whose success is enhanced by that leadership?
I prefer the latter. I possess the skills needed to serve the community as trustee. I have a bachelor’s degree in business from University Of Houston and 15 years of human-resources experience. More importantly, I bring a set of fresh eyes and the will that’s needed to break through the college’s stagnation.
On May 6, hundreds of students will graduate from COM, having earned an associate’s degree or workforce certificate, while others will transfer to a three-year-course full university.
Many of you watch or act alongside students in COM’s theater productions, learn new skills in COM’s continuing-education programs or create memories with your families while feeding the ducks at Lake Eckhart. COM is an invaluable community resource and great things happen there every day.
With your support, we can enhance these successes and ensure that College Of The Mainland serves the community for the next 50 years and beyond.
Melissa Skipworth is a candidate for position 5 on College Of The Mainland’s board of trustees, running against Roney McCrary and Sharon Mitchiner in the May 6 election.
Editor’s note: The Post neither endorses nor opposes any candidate in any of the May 6 elections. All candidates are free to submit articles for publication and they will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis without any guarantee that they will be published before voters go to the polls.