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.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pizza Czar?

Excerpt from an email sent from President Drieth to JALC employees:

“At last night’s Board of Trustee’s meeting, Trustee Bill Kilquist said he would no longer vote for approval of college expenditures as long as the college continued to spend “so much money on travel and pizza.” He said he wanted one person to ultimately approve travel so there was accountability. 

As the President, I agreed to accept that role. Until further notice, all out-of-state travel must be approved by the President. 

 I will be studying the pizza data to determine if our consumption merits a new policy.”

People are losing their jobs and Trustee Kilquist is worried about pizza?  It is that lack of vision and insight that helped get JALC into this mess in the first place. Just what higher education needs – pizza data!

The education part won't suffer?

“  …I do not feel that the education part itself is going to suffer."  What does the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees Chairman mean by this?

In the January Board of Trustees meeting, the Board, under the leadership of Jake Rendleman, had the opportunity to cut almost $100,000 in college expenses without firing any fulltime faculty or staff.  Before a packed house, and after some articulate and passionate speeches, the Board decided to table the issue.  By tabling the golf issue, Mr. Rendleman, and the Board, gave a pass to the golf team, but set up the firing of full time faculty, who contribute to the College’s core mission: Teaching!

Not to pick on the golf team, but the central question is:  does the John A Logan Board of Trustees choose the sports programs, and the Community Health Education Complex over its core mission of providing an accessible quality education to residents of Southern Illinois?

On its January 28 newscast, WSIL-TV reported, “The chairman of John A. Logan College's board is revealing even he was surprised that the men's and women's golf coaches weren't informed until Saturday that their program was on the chopping block.” It’s hard to believe that Jake Rendleman was surprised.  He starts almost every day of the week at John A Logan College at the Community Health Education Complex.  After he works out, he then goes to the John A Logan Administration offices and wants to know what’s going on.  Can anyone really believe that Jake Rendleman didn’t know about the golf team’s dismissal?  Rendleman was first elected to a 6 year term in 1997.  He has already served 18 years on the Board of Trustees; one would think that by now he knew everything there is to know about the college.

Jake Rendleman is running for reelection to the John A Logan Board of Trustees.  In the meantime, tonight, the Board has a choice to make.  Education? Or, sports and the Community Health Education Complex?

The quality of Logan's courses is something that won't be cut, the Chairman insists. We’ll soon see.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's a snow day

It's a snow day at SIU, John A. Logan and the local schools.  A good day to catch up with some old newspapers.  JALC Board member, John Sanders, had a letter published in the Southern Illinoisan, last week.  Mr. Sanders points out that the Board could have handled the proposed abolition of the golf program a little better.

He also responds to the Southern's opinion that the Board must "demand" a comprehensive plan from the administration.  That reminds us that, at the last BOT meeting (when it became obvious that the golf cut was turning into a fiasco), a member (not Sanders) complained that the Board needed better leadership from the administration.  Is that a fair complaint?