Archive for District Governing Board

WAS HARRIS LEGALLY APPOINTED TO GOVERNING BOARD INTERIM TERM? WHERE DID REVISED RESIDENCY CRITERIA COME FROM?

County Attorney and Tim Carter remain mum when asked to explain the  basis for sudden revision of residency requirement that allowed Connie Harris to be appointed to College Governing Board;  Public left in the dark

The question being asked by citizens in Yavapai County of Yavapai County Attorney and Yavapai County School superintendent Tim Carter is this: “What was the basis for changing the long-standing residency eligibility requirement for  anyone seeking to sit on the College District Governing Board?”

Recall that for years the requirement was a one-year residency in the District. Applicant Connie Harris did not meet that residency requirement and the County Attorney and Carter changed it in December 2016.  Carter said the state statute setting out requirements to sit on  a school board did not apply.  However, he did not explain how the current requirements were reached.

In response to a request from the Blog for an explanation for the changed residency requirement, the Yavapai County Attorney claimed attorney/client privilege, saying the following:

“Thank you for contacting the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office. No. Any legal advice we may have given to an elected official is covered by the attorney/client privilege.
Penny Cramer, Administrative Assistant to:
Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney
Dennis McGrane, Chief Deputy Yavapai County Attorney
255 E. Gurley Street
Prescott, AZ 86301” 

Here is the history of this issue. Recall that in the fall 2016 Mr. Carter posted an announcement of the opening on the Governing Board following the resignation of Mr. Al Filardo.  As originally posted, the requirements were stated as follows:

To be eligible to hold this seat a person must be a registered voter in Yavapai County, be a citizen of the United States of America, be at least 18 years of age, possess their civil rights, have continually resided within the school district for at least one year immediately preceding taking office, and the candidate or their spouse cannot be employed by the district. [You may view the original posting by clicking here.]

When it was learned that applicant Connie Harris did not meet the one-year residency requirement, Carter contacted the County Attorney.  According to Carter, he was advised by the County Attorney that there was no one-year residency requirement for the Board position. 

Carter stated in the announcement eliminating the residency requirement that “It has now come to Superintendent Carter’s attention, and has been verified by the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, that this [residency] requirement only applies to `School District Governing Boards’ and NOT to `Community College Governing Boards’”. He stated, “I am the responsible party for the posting and apologize for this error. As a result, I feel it is my obligation to re-post this position, so no resident is disenfranchised in any way. The integrity and fairness of the ultimate appointment is critical.” [You may view the revised posting by clicking here.]

The revised residency criteria then read:

To be eligible to hold the seat, a person must be a registered voter in Yavapai College District 3, a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age and possess their civil rights. The candidate and spouse may not be employed by Yavapai College.  You may view the revised posting by clicking here

The problem is that neither the County Attorney nor Mr. Carter will explain the statutory basis for the revised criteria, if one exists.  How was this revised criteria reached?  As noted above, the County Attorney refuses to disclose the criteria claiming attorney/client privilege.  Mr. Carter has not responded to an email request for an explanation.

So, citizens in the County can only guess at how the revised criteria was arrived at. Why won’t the County public officials thoroughly explain the basis for the sudden change?  Your guess is as good as mine.

GOVERNING BOARD ELIMINATES MONTHLY MEETINGS IN JUNE, JULY, AUGUST–TRAVEL DISTANCE TOO MUCH

College accountability shrinks as information to taxpayers narrows; Wills in full agreement with elimination of the three public meeting dates

The Yavapai Community College Governing Board voted 4-1 (McCasland “no”) to  eliminate monthly meetings in June, July, and August of each year. (A June meeting could be called if the budget was not approved in May.) The result is that the sparse information now flowing from the College to County taxpayers is reduced even more.

Chair Sigafoos suggested three reasons for eliminating the monthly meetings. One involved the amount of time to drive from Prescott to the East side of the County.  A second involved a statement that he would like “to have the meetings have more content that is meaningful.”  He said “we hear reports that are nice but let’s try and do something with the content of the meeting.” A third suggestion was that staff weren’t around much during those months.

President Wills had been contacted by Sigafoos before the meeting and said at the meeting that she was in total agreement with the idea of eliminating 25% of the yearly public meetings.  

From the Blog’s perspective, the Board and College are increasingly developing a closed-door process that keeps from the County owner-taxpayers’ view most of the College’s operation.  This decision fits like a glove and strikes at the very heart of government accountability by publicly supported institutions. 

Deb McCasland dissented indicating her concern about taxpayers having more knowledge and providing the Board with more stakeholder input. She is the only Board member who consistently raises the interests of the stakeholders who are the citizens residing in the County and who pay the property taxes to support the Community College.

You may view the highlights of the discussion in the video below. You may also view the entire video by going to the Agenda for September 2017  Click here to see Meeting Videos and follow instructions.

DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEETING AUGUST 8 AT 1 PM ON PRESCOTT CAMPUS ROCK HOUSE

Agenda for meeting published late on Friday before meeting

The Yavapai Community College District Governing Board will meet at 1 PM on Tuesday, August 8, 2017. The meeting will take place on the Prescott Campus at the Rock House. The meeting will begin at 1 PM. The Rock House is located at 1100 E. Sheldon St., Prescott, AZ.

The full agenda for the meeting is usually posted late Friday afternoon of the Friday before the Tuesday meeting. It can be found when it is posted by clicking here.

Often, PowerPoint presentations that are used during the Board meeting are not posted along with the agenda. They generally appear after the meeting if they were not previously posted.