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Shelby, NC — The trustees appear to be clueless and in the dark, or either just downright indifferent to all the things that have brought, and keep bringing shame to themselves and the college. And as a result of such, the people remain in the dark because of the actions and inaction of this board. All that’s missing is a ringmaster, big round red noses, and big floppy shoes. The greatest smoke show on earth. Usually, when the decision-makers are so tight-lipped, odds are, a terrible deal has just been settled. Why? Because if there were any good news, they would be fighting for position to see who would crow the loudest and closest to the cameras and mics.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how this fiasco has progressed in the local media. An alleged affair between top officials in the college has been referred to as an “office romance”, and then a board member declares that there’s nothing in the handbook that prohibits office romances. (As if that’s debatable) You can’t make this stuff up. Doesn’t that paint a lovely picture of a trustee, sitting in an office nook, poring over a large manual, looking in the index for office romance? Unfortunately, after this mess, I can see that, real as rain. On the bright side, the trustees have consent for the person to take a polygraph test.

Moving right along, unfortunately, there’s nothing in the official handbook about dealing with dumb moves by the trustees. They claim that they will be more transparent and open and honest with the people, right after they come out of a closed session, adjourn, without even a mention of anything. Remember the Trustees Manual I posted a few days ago? Does anybody here want to bet that these people have not even glanced at it? Maybe they should read it so they can be sure they’re not messing up their lack of transparency. Sure would hate for their masks to slip. As the old saying goes…not only do they not know anything, they don’t even suspect anything.

How can the people in Cleveland County who are in charge of economic development, seriously recruit businesses and workers into this area, when they see such leadership at work? The sad thing, the people who are hardest hit, the students and many of the employees, have been begging for relief for quite a while, but it has fallen on the tone-deaf trustees, time and time again. It has already been proven, quite often lately, that ignoring things and claiming everyone who suggests there are problems is lying, has hardly solved any of the problems. Changed a trustee or two, but still have a mess. And the new trustees are apt to form bad habits as they are coerced to follow the lead of the trustees still there. And as can be seen, leads to bad decisions. Rinse and repeat. Here we are again.

So, when is the next meeting? Or is that confidential too? Maybe it’s time for an accountability committee. Oh, did you guys on the board work it out as to when the school gets that $5,000 “donation” before that last goose is cooked? As they say in trustee speak, “Just asking.” wink-wink

How about the newly selected trustee that hasn’t been sworn in yet, being able to participate with the board in the closed session, along with the member that he is replacing? Oh, but he’s on a committee. Oh, but he’s not an official anything at the moment. According to the statute, a non-member has as much standing as a newly-selected/elected member, when it comes to sitting in on a closed meeting, especially, when there are confidentiality issues. I know, but…no buts. The statute doesn’t argue buts…and neither will I. Either the statute means what it says or it doesn’t. Until it is changed, I will take it at face value.

Trustees, remember that you aren’t there to decide what you think the people need to know or not know. You are there to protect the people’s business and interests concerning the college, the students and employees, as well as the citizens of Cleveland County. You aren’t there to be friends with the administration, and the administration is not your boss. And you are to put aside your personal and business interests when making decisions concerning the college.

Also, the people would ask, where is this money for polygraph tests and such coming from, even if it’s only about $2,000. I recall that the new chairman, Mr. Westmoreland, suggested when first seated as chairman, that all trustees should contribute monetarily to the college. This would be a prime time to put the money where your mouth is, and those who voted for this mess, well, share and share-alike. Solidarity, and all that! And you’ll feel even better about yourselves.