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Hold the Trustees accountable for WCC Administration

Earlier this month, the WCC Administration pulled the plug on the Children’s Center. They announced the closure at the Spring Trustee Retreat, which was news to everyone, including the Children’s Center staff.

(SIDE NOTE: If you are a WCC employee and you haven’t figured this out, Trustee Retreats can be hazardous to your career.)

Apparently, the WCC Administration believes that working with the union is an acceptable substitute for communicating directly with the people who they are terminating. And that a public meeting is an appropriate venue for announcing mass layoffs.

That would be like the Administration showing up for a Board of Trustees meeting and having the Board inform the President that the College no longer employs her. If a public meeting is not an appropriate way to terminate an executive, it is not an appropriate way to terminate anyone else, regardless of their position or the circumstances.

The WCC Children’s Center staff deserved a face-to-face meeting with the administrator for that group. They deserved to be informed of the closure and their job losses before everyone else found out. They deserved to have their questions answered. Because nothing says that the leadership of the organization did not value your contribution like being publicly terminated.

The minimum standard for humanity goes deeper than working with the union “to answer questions” and “comply with the collective bargaining agreement.” It means giving people adequate notice, and looking people in the eye when delivering bad news.

Instead, the “leadership” at WCC hides behind unions and lawyers.

WCC Administration on the outside, looking in

This may come as a surprise to some, but the WCC staff is a community of people who work together. They are all on the same team. They develop relationships with each other even though they may perform very different functions at the College. And they all have the same “big picture” goal – to serve the people of Washtenaw County.

The closure of the Children’s Center should make very clear that WCC’s “leadership” is not here to serve the people of Washtenaw County. Many of them do not even live in the county. So, it is very easy for them to treat people they do not know and do not care about like they do not matter.

The Trustees owe the residents of Washtenaw County an explanation of exactly what the mission of the WCC “leadership” is. Why were these particular people brought in, and exactly what “change” have they been charged with bringing about?

In the last five years, Washtenaw County residents have provided more than a quarter-billion dollars to WCC. We did so with the explicit understanding that the Trustees would be overseeing our investment. Instead, we have “leadership” who cannot answer 7th grade questions without help from a lawyer.

The Trustees have approved all of this. It is about time they start explaining the plan to those of use who pay the bill.

Photo Credit: Kevin Boyd , via Flickr