The Sadducees and the Pharisees and the Chancellor

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In a stunning and intense behind closed doors lobbying effort by the Greater Houston Partnership’s (GHP) Houston Business-Education Coalition-PAC (HBEC-PAC) led by Jonathan Day, Welcome Wilson, and Richard Schechter (AKA “The Bag Men”), trustees Carolyn Evans-Shabazz and John Hansen caved in to their pressure. Last night (9/18/17) in a 5-3 vote by the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, Chancellor Cesar Maldonado received a new contract giving him a $ 100,000.00 raise per year and an extension until August 31, 2021. More about the Chancellor’s accomplishments (or lack thereof) later in this post.

On September 8, 2017, the “Bag Men” purchased breakfast for Trustee John Hansen. At the breakfast meeting they told him: “Boy you need to vote for the Chancellor’s Employment Contract Renewal”, and he did. Richard Schechter reminded trustee Hansen that he recruited him to be on the HCC Board and he needs to remain loyal to him, and he did.

The “Bag Men” approached Trustee Carolyn Evans-Shabazz and allegedly offered to finance her re-election campaign in exchange for her vote to renew the Chancellor’s Employment Contract. And she did vote for the contract. We will watch her campaign finance reports to see if they pay her or double cross her.

The HBEC-PAC has previously donated:
• Adriana Tamez   $ 46,000.00
• Zeph Capo         $ 21,000.00
• Eva Loredo         $ 20,000.00
• Dave Wilson             zero

Along with Trustees Hansen and Evans-Shabazz, guess which other three trustees voted (5-3) for the Chancellor’s Employment Contract extension? Good guess (Tamez, Capo, Loredo).

The “Bag Men” tried to shake down Trustee Glaser (who is running for re-election and deserves our total support) but he stood by his principles.

Trustee Sane, a person with principles, resigned her position as Secretary of the Board rather than signing this embarrassing contract. This contract sends a bad message to the rest of our faculty and staff.

It goes without saying how I voted. The Chancellor’s contract should be based on merit, rather than personal relationships with certain Board Members. Some of the challenges facing our school:

  • The College has been placed on “warning” by the Southern   Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Our accrediting agency.
  • Declining Enrollment
  • Out of control Budget increases
  • Misappropriations’ of CIP Bond money
  • Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) program on probation. We cannot enroll new students
  • CONN’s property acquisition (fraudulent appraisal cost extra $ 3.2 M)
  • Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment missing at Coleman College ($ 2M)
  • Trustee convicted of Bribery
  • Et al.

The College should have put the Chancellor on “warning” and instructed him to fix the problems at HCC in the next two years (which is what is remaining on his original contract). If he corrects the problems, he gets a bonus. If he doesn’t, he gets fired. Now the College is obligated to a four-year contract for over $2,000,000.00. We all know the college’s record on buy-outs for Chancellors.

The real problem at the College is the Board. It is not the “Best Board money can buy”. Until we decide to stop the “Pay to Play” culture in Houston, I am afraid nothing will change. If we want change, we must continue to fight corruption and waste.