Monday, April 6, 2015

Time for a Fresh Start at Logan


On Friday, April 3, The Southern Illinois endorsed Ray Hancock, Brad Heuring, and Mandy Little for the three open positions on the John A Logan Board of Trustees. This election for the Logan Board on Tuesday, April 7 gives the college a unique opportunity to elect 3 new people to the Board.

As the Southern Illinois stated, John A Logan is facing a deficit of “anywhere between $2.5 million and $3.8 million” in the next fiscal year.  There are many contributing factors to this perfect financial storm. First, although enrollment at the college has remained steady over the last several years, the number of credit hours taken by those attending students has dropped steadily over the last 5 years.  Second, the State of Illinois most certainly will reduce its contribution to the college this coming year because of its financial condition.  Third, and perhaps the biggest factor, John A Logan can no longer count the health credit hours generated at Logan’s Community Health Center.  The credit hours generated at the Health Center represented $1.7 million in revenue for Logan in the last 5 years.

So, with these daunting financial challenges it is refreshing to see the possibility of electing a brand new slate of Board members. On Monday, March 2, the John A Logan Political Science Department sponsored a candidate forum. In attendance were Bill Alstat, Ray Hancock, Brad Heuring, Mandy Little, and John Sanders. Jake Rendleman chose not to attend and participate in the forum.  At the forum Hancock, Heuring, Little, and Sanders each demonstrated that they not only understood that challenges John A Logan is facing today, but they also articulated a passion for the quality education that John A Logan provides.  Alstat has a nice resume, but didn’t communicate an understanding or passion about education.  Rendleman just didn’t show up, maybe that shows us how important education is to him.

Since the forum, John Sanders has been appointed to the State Board of Education and has resigned from Logan’s Board.  Sanders has been a good Board member and will be missed. But Sanders departure gives voters in Logan’s district to elect brand new people to the Board for the first time in many years.  Let this be a change election and elect a new slate of candidates who can bring new vision and ideas to John A Logan College.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Using Logan's logo

Driving around Williamson County, this weekend, one sees lot's of yard signs popping up like crocus.  Many are for candidates to be on John A. Logan's Board of Trustees.

A couple questions spring to mind.  One, is it permissable to use the Logan logo in partisan ads?  Two, if not, why are current Board chair Jake Rendleman and former president Ray Hancock displaying the Logan logo on their yard signs?

It gives the impression that their campaigns have an institutional endorsement.  If it is not OK to be doing this, when will Steve O'Keefe and/or the Logan legal counsel be insisting that Mr. Rendleman and Dr. Hancock cease and desist?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leadership, A.W.O.L.

So, much has happened in the last week!  Carterville fired its police chief.  Carbondale mayoral candidates are squabbling about who to replace their fired chief with.  The Jackson County States Attorney announced their would be no indictment in the case of Praveen Varughese., leaving many unanswered questions.  The John A. Logan College Board of Trustees approved a plan that will result in the layoff of a combination of full and part time staff.

The Political Science Club, at Logan will sponsor a forum for candidates seeking election to the Board.  The forum is tomorrow (Monday) night, March 2, in the Tarpin/Crisp Rooms, at John A. Logan College.  (UPDATE:  We've learned that the location has changed to the Batteau/Ivy Rooms.)  Rumor has it that one of the candidates for re-election, Board Chairman Jake Rendleman, will be absent.  Given the current climate on campus, recent layoffs, budget pressures and recent close scrutiny from the media, one would think a candidate would arrange his schedule to accommodate the only real opportunity the public will have, during the campaign, to compare the candidates.

Hopefully, this is an unfounded rumor.  However, if true, one has to assume the absence is not due to any emergency, given that word of Rendleman's intended absence has been circulating for days.  If he has some previously scheduled medical procedure preventing his attendance, he should publicly announce that.  Otherwise, non-participation is an insult to his fellow candidates, the student body and the voters of the district.  It would be the height of arrogance to believe that simply because of incumbency one could simply run on past experience and reputation and not be subject to probing inquiry and debate.  The forum starts at 6:00, tomorrow night.

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UPDATE:

There are six candidates vying for for three seats on the Logan Board.  Here's what we know, or think we do, so far.

Ray Hancock:  Another Hancock on the board?  Yes, Ray Hancock comes with baggage.  His sister-in-law Jackie is already a Trustee, and the hiring of his son Barry when Ray was president raised one of the first cries of nepotism at JALC.  But he is genuinely concerned about the college, he certainly understands budgets, and he has a backbone.  Now that the BOT can't fire him, he might be the best choice to stand up against Brewer and his ilk.

Mandy Little:  Mandy Little is a former student trustee.  Student trustees have no power and their votes don’t count.  They can, however, make one symbolic vote – oppose any tuition increases. Mandy didn’t do that as student trustee.  She’s already been sucked into the “club.”  Student trustees generally make poor board members – remember Cecelia Dunbar?

John Sanders:  John Sandershas been a decent board member and so far, we see no reason to oppose his re-election.  He just needs to show his backbone more than playing the occasional role of board buffoon.

Jake Rendleman:  As we pointed out above, he may play hooky from the candidate forum.  Lacking a really good excuse, that's a real slap in the face to the voters.

Bill Alstat:  Bill Alstat serves on the Jackson County Board and is tight with the Jackson County
Democrats in the style of Brewer and Kilquist.  So far, Alstat has demonstrated an incredible lack of knowledge of higher education and the very serious issues facing JALC.

Brad Heuring:  Brad Heuring is a public school administrator who at least should understand some of the issues facing the college.  He is a former Logan student and athlete.

The Southern Illinoisan had another Voice of the Southern editorial regarding Logan today.  It's unclear that they understand that people have already been given notice that they've lost their jobs. This should be a subject of tomorrow night's forum.

After the candidate forum, conducted prior to the last JALC Board election, WJPF posted the audio recording and we linked to it.  If they do so again, we will link to them again, so those who don't have the opportunity to attend can hear the candidates full answers.