No-confidence vote against Colorado Northwestern Community College president fails 3-2
April 17, 2018
CRAIG — During a Monday meeting, the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board of Control called for a vote of no-confidence in Colorado Northwestern Community College President Ron Granger's leadership of the institution.
The motion ultimately failed 3-2.
"We have a goal to see this college grow and thrive — but we are rudderless — without vision — have no tangible goals and objectives as we watch CNCC, as an entity, slowly decline without any plan for growth," Board of Control Treasurer Andy Daniels wrote in an email to the college system president.
Granger is employed by the state of Colorado through the Colorado Community College System.
A letter from Colorado Community College System President Nancy McCallin prompted Daniels’ email.
She was responding to new proposed policies that would see Granger become more accountable to the district board of control.
After outlining the role of the college district board and college governance structure described by statute, McCallin wrote, "All authority with respect to the operation of CNCC, including personnel authority, statutorily, resides in the SBCCOE (State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education), the Colorado Community College System president and the president of CNCC."
She continued by praising the board for its efforts on behalf of the college and said she would discuss the suggestions with Granger.
Her response did not satisfy Daniels, who replied to McCallin with specific concerns, including the length of time — almost a year — Granger has spent in developing a new strategic plan and board requests for consolidated financial information that have allegedly been ignored for four years.
"It took a public open records request just to accomplish what is standard business practice and two months of symbolic actions to decline to approve financials," stated Daniels.
After reading his email aloud at the board meeting, Daniels made a motion calling for a vote of no confidence in Granger's leadership.
Lois Wymore seconded the motion.
She said her decision was not influenced by her family, some of whom are working for, or who have worked for, CNCC.
“My passion for CNCC goes beyond my family. I have no confidence in Granger; I haven’t since he came here. He’s never taken the time to listen, to appreciate the history and to understand what we need,” Wymore said.
When the question was called, Wymore and Daniels voted “yes,” while board members Zach Allen, Terry Carwhile and Board Chair Mike Anson voted “no.”
Carwile said that, while there were "some serious missteps in the last couple of years," he remained optimistic that Granger had a small window of opportunity to turn things around. Having a spouse who works for CNCC did not influence his vote, he said.
Allen agreed there is discontent among the board and the community but felt a vote of no-confidence, as a personnel matter, was not within the board's power.
"It is fairly clear to me that our role is purely fiduciary and that we have no employees. It's purely symbolic. It's not our job," he said.
Anson did not state a reason for his vote.
In a follow-up interview about the vote, Granger said: "We have to take it in a constructive way and move forward with it."
In response to criticism that he lacks vision for the college, Granger said: "The staff has created a strategic plan that will be out by the first of July. It has a vision and measurable goals."
He expressed an appreciation that times are difficult.
"We are all trying to do our best for our students and our communities. I understand it can seem to take forever for things to get done, but I believe that we are on the right track. I think we have to concentrate on the positive things, moving forward, and if we do that, I think we are going to be successful," Granger said.
Craig Mayor John Ponikvar was in the audience during the meeting and listened as both McCallin's letter and Daniel's email were read into the official record.
About a year ago, Ponikvar sent a letter to McCallin expressing his concern about the direction of the college.
"They keep making excuses and not making things happen for this community. Rangley and Moffat support the college through a mill levy. For us not to have any meaningful input is wrong," he said.
In response to frustrations expressed by the board and community, Granger said, "I do understand that these are tough times … We are all trying to do our best for our students and our communities. I understand it can seem to take forever for things to get done, but I believe that we are on the right track."
McCallin did not respond to Ponikvar. She did, however, respond to Daniels’ email and has offered to personally meet with the college district board in Craig prior to her retirement in July.
"What kind of good is that going to do? Her successor is someone we really need to be talking to," Ponikvar said.
Ponikvar is planning to hold discussions with other colleges to learn what opportunities might be available for partnerships outside the Colorado Community College System.
"I think the college district board sent an important message to CNCC and to our community: that this college is valuable to the future of Craig, and we deserve more," he said.
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Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.