College Board Members Withhold Vote For Budget 'Out Of Good Conscience'

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Two members of the Gila Community College board refused to vote for or against the next fiscal year's budget during a meeting on Friday.

The two, board members Don Crowley and Dr. Larry Stephenson, said they were abstaining from the vote, because they could not vote "in good conscience."

The budget passed 3 to 0, without the abstaining members.

The budget meeting was held via ITV (Interactive Television) at the Pueblo Campus at 9 a.m. with Crowley, representing Stephenson in absentia.

Crowley delivered a prepared statement for fellow member Stephenson, as well as reading his own prepared statement outlining their grievances.

Crowley said their grievances stem from the Gila County Board of Governors being treated as "nothing more than an advisory committee to EAC, with little or no power to do anything at all."

Crowley and Stephenson both abstained from voting on the budget because they had "once again been left out of the budgeting process."

Crowley said he hoped the college governing board would include Crowley and Stephenson in the process for next year's budget.

In his statement Stephenson said, "The budget was prepared without any input whatsoever from myself or fellow board member Donald Crowley.

"The budget before you is thus the product of the administration, who are hired and beholden to Eastern Arizona College."

Stephenson said he and Crowley were similarly ignored in last year's budget process.

"Five million dollars of Gila County taxpayers' money is thus being budgeted, with no input from those of us elected by those same taxpayers to look out for their interests."

In his own statement, Crowley said, "It is important that the voters, taxpayers and the public of Gila County know that, once again, the budget we are being asked to approve ... has been handed down to us as a fait accompli from the administration of Eastern Arizona College."

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