Our View: College earns an 'A'

Although people came and went, there were never fewer than 30 residents listening in December when the four Colorado Northwestern Community College presidential candidates spoke.

It's worth noting that not only did the college make that opportunity available, but also residents took advantage of that opportunity.

Kudos to everyone.

Colorado Northwestern Community College has been without a president for nearly two years. Although that may seem like a long time for such an important position to remain unfilled, there are two reasons: Officials wanted to make sure the college was well organized and financially stable before it hired a new president; and they're seeking exactly the right person for the job.

A series of budget cuts put the state-funded college in a tough position. College officials made program and personnel cuts to balance the budget.

College officials didn't want a new administrator to walk into the turmoil. It would have been a bad start to the president's tenure and could surround the transition with negativity that would have taken years to fade.

The work interim President Bob Rizzuto has done in the past 18 months will help ease the transition when a new president is selected. And that looks to be soon.

College officials have narrowed a field of 13 applicants to three. They've done so by using input from college staff members, students and residents of Craig and Rangely.

In 1989, Moffat County residents thought having a community college was important enough that they voted to support it with a local mill levy. They showed it again by participating in the presidential candidate forums.

We should appreciate that college officials responded to community support by letting residents meet the final candidates and evaluate them.

It's a process that deserves applause.

Also deserving recognition is Rizzuto's recommendation that the new president have the choice between living in Craig or Rangely -- showing that top officials recognize that the Craig branch could be as important as the Rangely campus.

No matter where the candidate lives, the position has been set up so the president will spend as much time in the Craig community as in Rangely.

The residents who voted to financially support the college 16 years ago, as well as other residents who believe in the college's importance, should be assured that the state community college system also recognizes its importance to us.

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