The Committee for the Responsible Governance of Washtenaw Community College (CRGWCC) is a Washtenaw County independent political action committee.
In June 2019, the WCC Board of Trustees approved a $26.2M no-bid contract for managed IT services. The taxpayers will pay more for lower-quality IT services at WCC for five years. The move also eliminated 31 full-time jobs.
Collectively,the WCC IT staff had nearly 400 years of academic IT experience. It will be both hard and expensive to rebuild the College’s internal IT support capabilities when the outsourcing plan fails.
This is just one example of the way this College administration:
its operating funds.
Worse than that, the Board’s willingness to approve a multi-million dollar no-bid contract without asking questions or raising concerns is shocking. It confirms that the current WCC Board of Trustees does not provide the authentic fiscal oversight Washtenaw County taxpayers need and expect.
Most voters in Washtenaw County support WCC without question. In 2016, the College asked for a millage renewal, which nearly 70% of voters approved. In fact, most WCC millage requests pass by a margin of 2:1 – often more. If nothing else, it shows that Washtenaw County voters believe the community college is a worthwhile investment. It also means that voters take for granted that the College is being properly managed. It is time to start asking some hard questions.
What is the return on our investment?
Washtenaw County voters obviously believe in the promise of higher education. They deserve a worthwhile return on their investment. Unfortunately, WCC’s current administration willfully mismanages the exceptional resource we have created. Instead of taking care of WCC’s buildings and infrastructure, the current Administration has built up nearly $20M in “deferred maintenance” projects. Deferred maintenance is required maintenance and repair work that didn’t get done. And these aren’t minor projects. They affect all major systems in most buildings on campus.
WCC hasn’t put off these repairs for lack of operating funds. The voters have almost always given the College every dime it has asked for. WCC didn’t do the repair work because the administration consistently chose to spend its operating funds on other things – like:
- creating and filling more executive positions
- recruiting a growing number of conventions and training events
- building the Health and Fitness Center
– which now also needs huge repairs. The Board has approved virtually every purchase that took operating funds away from WCC’s core mission, often without asking a single question.
This is unacceptable. WCC enrolls more than 12,000 students per semester. We have a right to expect that the campus buildings aren’t rotting out from underneath them. After all, Washtenaw voters give WCC enough money to take care of the campus.
This careless approach to managing our community college must change. WCC is our primary occupational and technical education provider. It is our low-cost gateway to higher education. Every time the administration spends money on non-essentials, it undermines WCC’s mission.
Taxpayers expect the College to use operating funds for educational programs and legitimate operating expenses. Instead, we’re paying for unnecessary executive positions, business development projects, and expensive, faulty construction.
Our Commitment to Washtenaw Community College
Voters need to understand what’s happening at WCC and speak out against this mismanagement. To support Washtenaw County voters, the CRGWCC aims to provide fact-based information about WCC. We aim to more fully engage county residents in WCC’s governance and mission.
The CRGWCC believes that Washtenaw County taxpayers deserve better representation and more responsible governance from the WCC Trustees. Today, voters don’t understand the important issues facing the College, or even what the Trustees are supposed to do. To ensure that voters can clearly identify the highest-quality, most responsive and most responsible candidates for Trustee positions:
The CRGWCC will endorse only Trustee candidates who have publicly pledged to:
- Focus on WCC’s educational mission
- Recognize the College as an educational resource meant primarily for Washtenaw County residents
- Be open and transparent in all College matters to the fullest possible extent
- Recognize, represent and prioritize the taxpayers’ interests in the College
- Reject no-bid contracts for services
- Reject job outsourcing
- Demand that the administration prioritize facilities maintenance
- Repeal the “Voluntary Excellence Guidelines” in the Board of Trustees manual when they impair authentic Board oversight of the College president
- Avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety at all times in all matters related to the College
- Maintain and respond to an independent email address to collect constituent communications
- Examine all proposals presented by the College administration critically
- Withhold support for any Administration proposal until
- The administration has demonstrated that a proposed contract is the result of a free, fair and open competitive bid process
- The administration has provided substantive answers to all questions raised to and by the Board member(s)
- The Board has satisfactorily examined all possible alternatives to the proposal
What we won’t support for Washtenaw Community College
The CRGWCC will actively identify and oppose Trustee candidates who:
- Violate the conditions described above
- Seek a Trustee position solely to build name recognition for future partisan elective office bids
- Seek a Trustee position to enhance their professional credentials through a connection with the College
- Use a Trustee position to promote a private business
- Do not share the CRGWCC governance vision for Washtenaw Community College
If you believe that Washtenaw County residents and taxpayers deserve better from the WCC Board of Trustees, please consider supporting the CRGWCC in its efforts to demand responsible governance for our community college. Since CRGWCC is a political action committee, your donations are not tax-deductible, and are subject to campaign-finance disclosures as required by law.