Wednesday, February 07, 2007

NHMCCD has got some explaining to do (updated)

This is actually three posts

Two weeks ago, I received an email that was forwarded to me from one of my sources. It was an email from John Pickelman to Randy Bates. In an effort to ensure that my source was protected, I issued a TXPIA request for all emails in the time frame regarding the issue. The results of that TXPIA request came in the mail yesterday. So I am now at liberty to reveal it's contents. In this email was an admission that the board still does not grasp the concept that ALL MEETINGS REGARDING COLLEGE BUSINESS MUST BE PUBLIC. I quote the email here:

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2007 9:44 AM
Subject: Update

I am sorry that the Board retreat needed to be rescheduled. It is important that process and substantive issues be addressed soon by the Board. We are contacting you to identify possible dates on which all are able to participate. If the Board is to develop effective teamwork, I believe 100% participation is essential. After consulting with Chairman Bates, I am recommending that the retreat have two components. The first is to focus on process, i.e., with new membership on the Board, how do you go about forging new relationships that result in a highly, effective working team with fellow trustees and the chancellor? With the exception of an external facilitator, only trustees will attend this first part of the retreat. The second portion of the retreat is substantive and deals with our physical plant needs. Following the defeat of the bond referendum, what are the District’s options, especially responding to some critical needs? Attending this portion of the retreat will be the trustees and executive committee.

So in other words they were going to decide how they will spend money they no longer have and they were going to do so at a private "retreat" where the public was not invited.

Well I can tell you part of how they plan on dealing with the failure of the bond election. They plan on floating yet another bond election in November. I don't know how much yet, When I find out I will let you know, But I'm guessing that it will be a carbon copy of the one that failed. This tidbit was leaked at the January Faculty Senate meetings out at Kingwood College.

Also at the meeting, it was revealed why NHMCCD refused to reveal the results of the abortive election back in May. The following is excerpted from the official minutes of the meeting:

IV. Old Business:

A. Advising – Advisors are in the area high schools because Dr. Stegall wants them

to be there. Kingwood College advisors are the only advisors there so she believes that they do create a presence for us there. If they weren’t in the high schools part of the time, we would not need to employ so many of them. Initially we did receive some grant funds to begin the program but now only Cleveland ISD continues to qualify for the grant. There is a concern that some students report that they have a difficult time seeing advisors in their offices.

B. NHMCCD has filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General’s Office because of an

Open Record’s Request regarding the May election. This was done to protect our employees. The Board may try to hold another Bond election in November.

C. Writing Across the Curriculum – President Almstedt stated that he encourages his

students to purchase the WAC handbook and he has found it to be very helpful in class. He encouraged other faculty to do the same.

D. Search for the Chancellor – Todd Miller reported that the ad has run in the

“Chronicle of Higher Education” and that the committee is meeting next week to review the applications. The committee will meet in person and will not review the applications on-line.

E. December Graduation – Faculty like the December graduation ceremony but

there is concern about the timing of the ceremony. Is it possible to have the ceremony after finals have been completed?

Protect their employees from what? prosecution? Would that not then make the board guilty of obstruction of justice?

NHMCCD has issued a "correction" to the senate meeting minutes that states that the lawsuit is to protect the voters, not the employees. Their logic is that by opening the ballots, it will expose who voted for what. I assure you that anyone who knows ANYTHING about how ballots are recorded on e-slate machines knows that no name is ever attached to a ballot except in the case of provisional ballots and absentee/mail ballots. You can tell who voted, but you cannot tell who or what they voted for. You can tell how many votes were for a given measure and how many were against and that is all you can tell. The only way you could assume that a person voted a given way is if the ballots were unanimous. But if the ballots were unanimous, I would question the validity of the ballot anyway. Therefore the logic is as faulty as their meeting minutes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like they are either hiding something or just plain think that they own the world....?

February 07, 2007 1:39 PM  
Anonymous rideuponthewind said...

Protect the employees!?! Latest on the agenda is to install security gates at The District Entrances up in The Woodlands. No real reasons put forth for the expenditures, but we all know who's paying for it!

They can install gates, put up fences, and file lawsuits 'till the cows come home.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah - SPEND THOSE TAX DOLLARS!
And Take the money & Run!

(But can they hide?????) That's the question!

February 07, 2007 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Open meetings violation? Do pigs fly..... WOW we need more info on this one.

February 07, 2007 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will they get a clue that the aborted May election and failed November bond referendum did nothing to enhance the public's faith in the district or it's board of trustees? There is still the issue of outstanding ethic's complaint violations pending a hearing with the Texas Ethics Commission. Do they think they have successfully swept that issue under the rug? Is the board so naive as to believe that the District Administration is above contempt and beyond condemnation? The big dog is on his way out, however, we are still left with his legacy of reckless spending of tax payer dollars, a history of using tax dollars to lobby the state legislature (we paid for his sabbatical to do just that), and there seems no end in sight. Hiding elections on college property? Who are they kidding?!?

Pickleman will hand-pick his successor and the board will turn a blind eye just as they have in the past. It's despicable.

February 08, 2007 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything that comes out of the District seems suspect. This is a fine example of them trying to clean-up after the fact. They can't get their stories straight in-house, so how are we to trust them? I'm staying tuned in for more insight into the shennagans ongoing at NHMCCD. I can't wait to hear the outcome of the lawsuit!

These people need to be put in their place once and for all !!!!

It's an outrage! (one of many).

February 09, 2007 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Loyal Faculty said...

Cleaning up something with dirty "hands" is like drinking bathwater. The cleaner you claim you are and the more you scrub the dirtier you get.

WHO in the fig patch do they think they are fooling?

February 10, 2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger southerntragedy said...

Mr. Inkblots:

Keep up the good work!

Glad to see ya rideuponthewind! :)

February 11, 2007 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If HCCMD wants to get a bond passed, they should promise to build a $80 million dollar stadium.

After all, that's what the voters really want.


February 13, 2007 7:04 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Hush Don, you are going to give the morons ideas! =D

February 13, 2007 8:03 AM  
Anonymous rideuponthewind said...

Hi Southern Tragedy, et al! I was sent a link pertaining to a bill proposed by the Committee for Higher Education in Austin, which would allow for sale of community college properties to "trust" companies who would use these facilities during "off-class" hours. I encourage anyone reading this to check out the link and contact the committee members and demand an accounting of why they feel selling publicly owned facilities should be sold to the highest bidder. Is it a means to usurp the voter's right to decide how our tax dollars are to be spent? Is it a means to by-pass bond elections? Scary stuff!

Representative Geanie Morrison

Here is the contact list for the Higher Education House Committee:

February 13, 2007 9:31 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Rideuponthewind, you beat me to the punch, that was on my agenda to address today.

February 13, 2007 9:35 AM  
Anonymous rideuonthewind said...

Please do it anyway!!!!!


February 13, 2007 9:59 AM  

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