Still No Board Member For Gcc

College can’t find candidates to fill crucial empty slot

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Six months after Tom Loeffler resigned from his post, the Gila Community College board still lacks a full slate of board members.

At its meeting on Dec. 12, the board members expressed their frustration.

“Needless to say I am sorely upset,” said President Larry Stephenson. “This has been going on way too long in my opinion.”

“There are things that we have had to hold on to do,” said Armida Bittner. “At this point there is an urgency for this position to be filled.”

It is the responsibility of Gila County School Superintendent Linda O’Dell to recruit and install a new board member, the board said to one another.

In a phone interview, O’Dell said she has sent out requests and received two responses.

“One candidate decided after speaking with me about the responsibilities of the position, to withdraw their candidacy,” said O’Dell.

The other was not registered to vote, a key requirement to hold the position.

O’Dell said this position has some challenges, the greatest being the small size of the district from which to find candidates.

“District 1 in the community college voting district is very small,” she said, “that leaves a small pool from which to find applicants.”

The other challenge O’Dell cited is the six-year commitment to stay on the board.

Finally, most people in District 1 believe that the GCC board has issues, the most glaring, the lack of power given to the GCC board because the school is a provisional district; the other the divide between the Globe and Payson campuses.

But that divide seems to be healing as new member Sam Moorhead and Stephenson bantered back and forth at meetings.

Recently, the two attended a meeting in Phoenix of the provisional community college districts.

With the frequent absence of former board president Robert Ashford due to health challenges, the remaining three board members have had to join together to get any sort of business done.

At the Dec. 12 meeting, Stephenson reminded Bittner and Moorhead that if any agenda item slated for action did not have a unanimous vote from all three members, it would not pass.

O’Dell said she will launch another appeal to fill the vacant spot. The board has clearly indicated it waits with bated breath to fill the long empty position.

To contact the Gila County Superintendent’s Office, please call (928) 402-8784.

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