Since power, control and money issues are usually at the root of public controversy, I was curious about the Gila Community College controversy that has been in the papers. I obtained a copy of the legal "Agreement" (the contract) between Gila Community College, Gila County (that's us taxpayers) and Eastern Arizona College. Here are just a couple of interesting items for you to ponder.
These, mind you, are things that the majority of our elected representatives, both on the Gila Community College (GCC) Governing Board and the Gila Board of Supervisors, agreed to.
1. CONTROL. The contact reads "EAC shall control all curriculum decisions and instruction related to the delivery of educational programs and services ... provided, however, that Gila shall be entitled to request that EAC offer certain courses and programs of study." Any course or program for our college must be "agreed to in writing by the EAC Senior Dean." It further states "EAC shall be solely responsible for the hiring, firing and evaluation of all faculty and staff." So Gila CC can "request" curriculum but nobody in Payson, or in our county, has any real power or control over the curriculum or programs.
2. MONEY. The "Agreement" (contract) "shall be deemed a cost reimbursement plus overhead contract." I'm told that the current overhead is 25 percent. In other words, whenever EAC spends money on Gila CC, Gila taxpayers pay it back plus 25 percent.
This leads to an interesting item in the contact under "Gila's Obligations" which says that we must rent our campus facilities to EAC so they can provide the educational services we have contracted for. Fair enough, right?
But then the contract says "Any rental or other fees charged by Gila to EAC pursuant to this provision shall be included in and considered a component of EAC's actual direct costs" and thus subject to the overhead fee.
So we have to rent our campus to EAC, and they charge the rent back to us as a "direct cost" plus 25 percent overhead! It appears it would be cheaper just to let EAC use our campus for free!
The representatives who signed this contract "gave away the farm" and now we get to pay an extra 25 percent to use it.
The contract is interesting reading, folks, and I would encourage you to take a look and judge for yourself whether it is fair to Gila County. Some are saying that having no control over how much of our money is spent and how, either in terms of the curriculum or the budget, warrants an uprising -- what do you think?
Christine Tilley, Payson