Gcc Board Stymies Vote For Independence


We thought that the Gila Community College board’s consideration of a resolution to support the effort of independence would be a slam-dunk.

How could board members possibly disagree with the resolution while maintaining appearances that they actually care about the college?

How hopelessly naïve.

Turns out the board members in Globe have stopped feigning they care about the college. We’re not sure what back room dealings have Bob Ashford whining that task force meetings without him hurt his feelings. We do know the stunt segued into Ashford’s reneging on a promise to Sen. Sylvia Allen to support the resolution.

The simple, eight-point resolution contained six factual statements about the college’s enrollment and operations, and two statements that espoused support for independence.

The first statement called the existing state thresholds “unattainable,” and the second point would have affirmed the board’s support for changing the statute to create “a reasonable pathway” for GCC to gain full accreditation.

Nothing outrageous in those statements, so why all the fuss?

As for the remaining two Globe board members — Bernadette Kniffen and Armida Bittner — if they wanted to know more information, why can’t they just ask? They had the resolution before them to read, they probably got it several days ago. If you don’t understand something, is it not reasonable to ask a question?

The scariest thing of all is that these puppets of Eastern Arizona College could derail the whole endeavor. Board member Tom Loeffler has spent thousands of hours working on this task force, bringing the idea of independence closer to fruition than ever before in the college’s history.

We wonder why these three board members remain so utterly entrenched in EAC’s court. Taxpayers must ask the question — do these three individuals really have GCC’s best interests at heart?

Bob Ashford has a challenger in Tuesday’s election. The results will be interesting to see. We’re not sure if residents in Globe know how these three people are treating the college as their personal pocket power.

We hope for the college’s sake that Ashford loses.

Meanwhile, the task force should continue working toward the ultimate goal of accreditation. If necessary, Ashford should be kicked off the task force for impeding progress. If he has concerns, he is a task force member afterall and can push his agenda for GCC at those meetings and raise whatever questions he has about the process. His method of “leading” the board is questionable at best.

The one surety in this twisted situation is the college’s desperate need for new leadership. We’ve nearly run through a barrel of ink writing about Ashford’s confusing positions..

Looking ahead, Rim Country must pay careful attention to the redistricting that will come after the upcoming release of census numbers. Southern Gila County stole Rim Country’s rightful extra seat on county boards last time. If they do it again, northern Gila County towns should sue. There’s only one way out of this mess. Get rid of them.

FLW has positive impact

Roosevelt Lake, Tonto Basin and Payson are on the nation’s bass fishing map for the immediate future.

The FLW tourney held in September produced positive results for both the Rim Country and those taking part in the event. So much so the tourney will be returning to Payson and Roosevelt Lake as part of the American Fishing Series tournament — new name same tourney — this time the event will be Feb. 17-19 of this coming year. The timing — in the early part of the year — could attract even more anglers and a bigger crowd of visitors.

This year’s tourney, which aired this past Sunday on the Versus Outdoors Network, received excellent feedback from all who took part. The positive feedback is what brought the tourney back to the Rim Country.

Dennis Pirch, co-chair of the FLW tournament committee with Jim Goughnour, spent many days and weeks to bring this event to Payson and Roosevelt Lake. Events like this don’t just happen, they take hard work to make them successful and we thank these two and other volunteers who made it possible for the event to take place.


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