About 15 members of the Northwest State Community College Education Association appeared before the college board of trustees and announced the membership had no confidence in the college administration.
Speaking to the board at its Friday, Oct. 3 meeting, members of the NSCCEA, which functions as a union for teachers and support staff, asked Tom Stuckey, president, and vice presidents “to step up to the responsibilities of your respective position and lead in an appropriate manner, or resign from this public institution.”
In response, Sue Derck, board vice chair, read a prepared statement.
“As we move forward, it is the desire of the administration and the board to work together with the union to address these concerns, while balancing the needs of the institution.
“The administration and the board will continue to ensure Northwest State Community College provides quality educational opportunities for our students.
“We will continue to put student success at the center of everything we do. Our focus will remain on our students,” the statement read, in part.
Following the exchange of statements, the board went into executive session for about 45 minutes to consider collective bargaining strategies.
Ed Singer, co-president of the NSCCEA, said the Association and college officials are in the process of negotiating a new contract.
Union membership has worked without a contract since the last agreement expired Aug. 15.
Singer said he could not comment on contract negotiations, because both sides had agreed not to discuss the talks with the press.
NSCCEA officials said of its 105 members, 65 attended the meeting where the no-confidence vote was taken. Among the members attending, the vote was unanimous.
Singer laid out the basic complaints against the college administration.
•Centralized decisionmaking. Singer said decisions are being made by Stuckey and his cabinet of vice presidents without valuing the input of employees.
Singer said “shared governance” of the college is a requirement of accreditation.
•Climate of intimidation. Singer said the NSCCEA is concerned about a climate of intimidation created at the college by the shared human resources services agreement between NSCC and the University of Toledo.
Mari Yoder, NSCC vice president of institutional advancement, credits the agreement with saving $40,000 in one year.
Jason Rickenberg, NSCCEA co-president, said since UT and NSCC began sharing human resource services, there have been 11 investigations into employee conduct and a number of resignations.
•Lack of accountability. Rickenberg said the NSCCEA is also disturbed by a lack of accountability among senior leaders at the college.
The association statement to the board refers to a Sept. 22 meeting, when the board voted to fire two NSCC custodians.
Two others, and a custodial supervisor, resigned.
The two custodians were fired because they left work early and falsified their time cards to reflect a full 40 hours worked.
The NSCCEA statement said, “Time sheets used and distributed to the Association as the college’s purported evidence in two separate meetings were portrayed as original documents, but were later found to have key administrators’ names purposely omitted from the chain of command approval section…
“Higher level supervisors were clearly complicit in the behavior that led to the firing of employees, yet the administration is selectively shielding these managers from consequences.”
During the meeting, Phil Ennen, a board member, questioned the role of the board in termination proceedings.
Ennen said with a high turnover in board members, it’s difficult for a member to be fully up-to-speed on issues involving employment.
“I’m really wary of trustees being fully educated in employment law at their first meeting,” he said.
Paul Siebenmorgen, board member and secretary, said, “Hiring and firing is a management spot. The board provides direction. Managers manage.”
The board agreed to discuss the issue at a December retreat.
Yoder said the NSCC board is currently short two members.
The terms of Joe O’Neil, of Defiance County, former board chairman, and Robert Hall, of Henry County, expired in June.
Members of the NSCC Board of Trustees are appointed by the governor.
So far, Yoder said the college has heard nothing from the office of John Kasich, Ohio governor, on board appointments.