Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

June 22, 2014

NMC president excludes details

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College President Tim Nelson spent little time describing two of NMC’s recent stumbles in a written self-evaluation that will accompany his pending performance review.

Nelson mentioned the public’s trouncing of the college’s special August millage only once in an introduction to his 2014 performance review, a 20-plus page document that also contains no mention of recent allegations by Record-Eagle executives that NMC officials violated open government laws in January 2014.

Nelson on Friday said his self-evaluation cannot include a chronology of everything that happened at NMC over an entire year.

“I’ve written what I’ve written,” Neslon said. “I’ll talk about that with the board. We’ll see what their comments are at that point.”

Nelson’s introduction lists about a dozen highlights of the college’s work since last summer, and states the year was not “without its challenges.”

“Included in those were the August millage election loss ...” the memo states.

It’s the only mention of the August 2013 defeat of an NMC operations millage by a two-to-one margin.

NMC officials remained vague throughout their millage campaign about how they planned to spend the desired tax money.

County taxpayers later learned college officials could have saved almost $80,000 by holding the election in November instead of August -- a fact Nelson learned from NMC’s attorneys but never mentioned to his board, and about which board members never inquired.

The millage miscue eventually prompted college trustees to consider videotaping their meetings, a move many board members opposed for months until an abrupt about-face at a public meeting in January that included no substantive discussion.

Record-Eagle executives in March alleged college officials reached their decision to videotape meetings behind closed doors in violation of Michigan’s Open Meetings Act. College officials denied the allegations.

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