Maryam’s Speech to Board of Trustees 11/18/14

9th Speech to BOT
18 November 2014
Dr. Bellanca, in her remarks at last month’s BOT meeting, reported that the union had refused her offer of mutual gains training. That is not accurate. I’ve made copies of the exchange the union had with her on this issue back in August and September. I hope you will take the time to read through the exchanges. Our difficulty with this administration is that we are no longer included in the governance of this institution, not that we have encountered problems in negotiations. We negotiated the adjunct contract two years in a row, and while the experience was much more balanced this past time than it had been the year before, both times resulted in outcomes each side could live with. As the past presidents of the WCCEA would verify, we have focused on win/win solutions in our interactions with the administration. As you will see in the exchanges, the faculty would rather use the expertise here on campus and not spend additional money hiring consultants. The focus on bringing in outside “experts” to address and solve our problems is not working. This institution would be better served by using the experience and insight that is here, embodied in many of our long term employees. Finally, according to the literature she directed us to, mutual gains only works when climate of trust already exists.

If the climate here becomes worse than it already is, and we end up not being able to successfully negotiate the upcoming WCCEA contract with this administration, of course we will be open to reasonable solutions. Given that we learned in Contract Implementation last night that VP Kruzel will mysteriously no longer serve as Chief Negotiator for the college, but will be replaced by Mr. Entemann, the part-time lawyer for the college, it appears a change may be in store.
On a different topic, I know that you received a letter from faculty member Julie Kissel about the number of full and part time counselors available to our students, which I hope corrected Dr. Bellanca’s remarks at last month’s meeting. While I appreciate VP Blakey’s providing us with those figures, I’m discouraged to report that yet another professional faculty counselor position has been downgraded. I wish VP Blakey had been able to attend CI (Contract Implementation) earlier this week to discuss this with us. We asked for her to attend, as we have many times before. The next International Advisor will be available more days of the year, get paid substantially less than the last one, and will have much lower credentials for the position than her predecessors. This advisor most definitely will NOT be an additional LPC available to work with our troubled students.
Despite all this, I remain hopeful that trust can be rebuilt. One way that we could begin moving forward together would be for Dr. Bellanca to be willing to resume monthly liaison meetings with the WCCEA leadership. Since May, she has refused to have liaison meetings if they included my chief negotiator, David Fitzpatrick. The WCCEA board has authorized David Fitzpatrick and me as their representatives to Liaison. Of course Dr. Bellanca can bring her choice of representative. Traditionally that has been the VP of Instruction. Refusing to meet with a member of the WCCEA leadership who is widely respected by the faculty does not speak to a willingness to communicate openly and collaborate with faculty. As communication remains a significant problem here, I strongly hope you will urge her to rethink her position on that.

Thank you.

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