Gcc Independence Up For Board Debate

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Gila Community College board members will again debate a proposed resolution to support the school’s bid for independence at a meeting Thursday.

The resolution failed to gain traction during last month’s meeting.

Also on Thursday, the board will discuss a set of potential new policies and the renewal of the college’s lobbying contract — both of which members tabled last month.

The resolution supporting the college’s independence stalled in October after three board members decided they lacked enough information about the ongoing effort. Started in April, a task force has conducted research and fed ideas to legislative aides who are drafting potential legislation.

After the board postponed a vote on the resolution, board member Tom Loeffler resigned from the task force, citing “pettiness and politics.”

Sen. Sylvia Allen, who heads the task force, said the board’s support of the resolution was indispensible for continuing the path to accreditation.

Board chairman Bob Ashford wrote in an e-mail that he supported the resolution and was “confident” that the other board members would also support it after they received more information. Although Ashford sits on the task force, he said last month that he also lacked enough information about the group’s activities to support the resolution.

The debate over a set of policies proposed by Ashford could heat up on Thursday. Ashford introduced them last month as “very, very basic, boilerplate-type policies.”

The college needed policies to look like a “real” institution, said Ashford.

Loeffler told him that the college already had policies. A previous college board adopted them in 2003, Loeffler said.

Ashford said he wasn’t aware of any policy.

“You were the one that made the motion to approve them,” said Loeffler, who added that Ashford then sat as board secretary. Loeffler was not a board member in 2003, but has examined meeting minutes from that time.

“That was a long time ago,” said Ashford.

Loeffler also reminded Ashford that the board discussed the policies in January when debating whether members could legally elect Ashford to serve another year as board president.

The policy limits a board president from serving more than five terms, but Ashford said he had never seen the policy.

The policies proposed last month outline the board’s duties, specify its meeting time as the fourth Thursday every month and allow the board president to appoint advisory committees.

The proposed policy stays silent on how many years a board member can serve as chair.

Last month, the board also postponed a decision on whether to renew its $36,000 annual lobbying contract with the firm Triadvocates.

Past controversy has arisen because the firm also represents parent college Eastern Arizona College.

“It’s been money well spent,” said Ashford at the October meeting.

Board member Larry Stephenson said he was unaware of the firm’s activities, and would appreciate occasional updates.

Ashford said last month that a representative from the firm was scheduled to attend November’s meeting. No presentation is listed on Thursday’s agenda.

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