Traverse City Record-Eagle

Our Views

April 27, 2014

Editorial: Community deserves better from NMC

(Continued)

Record-Eagle publisher Neal Ronquist and the paper’s editor in March 26 letters to Bishop and NMC President Tim Nelson - vetted by Luce-Herrmann - alleged NMC’s board violated the OMA. The Record-Eagle offered NMC’s leaders a chance to correct wrongdoing without exposing taxpayers to additional costs. The Record-Eagle informed them the OMA violations could prompt a criminal investigation or a lawsuit, and asked NMC officials to instead publicly acknowledge they violated the law and to update board policy and training to protect against future violations.

But ‘fess up, even when caught stone-cold? Not this outfit. NMC’s attorney simply issued a clean bill of health, though now NMC officials say they’re considering giving trustees a crash course in the law - the law they claim they didn’t break.

This board has a history of rewarding cronies, keeping taxpayers in the dark, and trying to stem public participation. Remember when NMC paid William M. Craft $30,000 to assist with a planning initiative? Nelson failed to mention (other than to a couple of board members) that Craft’s business partner was then-NMC vice president Kathleen Guy.

Remember when the board spent $1.15 million in taxpayer money on a leaky, 30,000-square-foot industrial building owned by NMC trustee Bob Brick’s business partner Frederick W. Sorensen? The board’s bailout saved him from foreclosure.

The board approved — and later reversed — a bizarre policy that would have prevented elected board members from addressing college issues in public. Only the board president could speak.

The board OK’d a “Campus Expression” policy to require protesters and petition circulators to get advance permission to speak; they could only stand in college-designated “Free Speech” zones. A little problem with unconstitutionality grounded that brainstorm.

And don’t forget the board’s millage flim-flam last year that cost taxpayers $78,000.

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