Gcc Board Supports Independence

Other items tabled for second month in a row

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Gila Community College board members approved a resolution supporting the college’s independence on Thursday, after tabling it last month for lack of information.

At the same meeting, the board tabled three other topics — a conflict of interest disclosure form, a lobbying contract and an update of board policies — for the second month in a row.

The postponement drew ire from Payson resident Lew Levenson, who told board members their actions lacked substance.

“We have a lot of appearing to do things while in substance, we keep putting things off,” said Levenson.

“The board does not do the work to be prepared to act on the items on the agenda.”

The board tabled the lobbying contract until the firm Triadvocates could talk to the board about its work.

Member Larry Stephenson worried that the contract was causing the college to throw “$36,000 down the hole.”

Triadvocates has never briefed the board as a whole on its activities. However, members of the firm have helped with the ongoing effort to pass legislation that would allow GCC to operate independently.

Last month, the board tabled the contract after attorney Bryan Chambers offered legal advice in executive session.

Triadvocates represents both GCC and parent school Eastern Arizona College. The old contract required Triadvocates to represent EAC if a conflict rose up between the two schools.

The new contract states that the company will “attempt to address the conflict in a mutually satisfactory manner,” without explicitly saying it will side with EAC. If Triadvocates does side with EAC, GCC can cancel the contract.

The board is working to make it easier for GCC to cancel the contract.

Member Tom Loeffler wondered if the board would have time to approve a new contract before January’s legislative session starts. Ashford suggested holding a special meeting in December. However at the end of the meeting, members set the next for January.

Loeffler said after the meeting that he thought the board had enough time to approve the contract before lawmakers take up any potential legislation to allow GCC full accreditation.

The board also tabled a discussion of new policies for the second month in a row. Ashford said he wanted all board members present for the discussion. Member Armida Bittner was absent.

Last month, Ashford said he was unaware of board policies dated 2003, although Loeffler said Ashford was board secretary when the policies passed.

Since the last meeting, Ashford had received a copy of the old policies. “I’m not exactly sure what to make of it yet,” he said.

The board tabled the discussion until the next meeting.

The board also tabled discussion on the conflict of interest disclosure form because of legal questions surrounding its necessity. Last month, it tabled the forms because of wording issues.

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