College board plans for future retirements

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

Interest rates and retirement dates were key items of discussion during Tuesday’s Mesalands Community College Board meeting.

Two items were handled with future retirements of President Phillip Barry and Dean of Administrative Services David Gallatin, and board members also voted on two options for an interest-bearing account for operational funds.

During a report on strategic planning, Barry asked the board to reconsider the amount of time upcoming strategic plans would cover. Generally, Barry said, strategic planning covers a three-year period, with the plan covering what goals the college has for that period and how the college plans to achieve them.

“We’ve always done three years,” Barry said, “because we don’t want to get too far out.”

The problem, Barry said, is that he is considering retiring in five years, and his successor would be put into a tough position to work on a new strategic plan after one year on the job.

Barry suggested the next two strategic plans could be for three years, followed by a four-year plan, giving a successor an additional year to learn about the college’s needs and the resources available in the area. Board members chose this plan over another option Barry gave — three years, followed by a five-year plan.

The board agreed later in the meeting to create a new job title, associate dean of instructional services. The person hired for such a position would directly report to Gallatin, and most likely take over when Gallatin retires. Gallatin gave no specific date, but said he would likely retire before Barry. Barry said it would probably take longer than a year to find somebody for the position, but it would help make a smooth transition after Gallatin retires.

Business Manager Amanda Hammer came to the board requesting a selection of an operating account with First National Bank of New Mexico. The college, which currently has an account with First National, was given two options for an interest-bearing account.

Both of the accounts had the same general interest rate, currently 4.61 percent. One account option had a 0.5 percent interest premium and $200,000 collateralized by the bank, and the other had no interest premium with $400,000 collateralized by the bank.

Based on a 30-day month and a beginning balance of $500,000, the first option would result in $2,100 interest earned. The second option would earn $1,894.52, a difference of $205.48 for the month.

Board members were wary of the first option because of the amount collateralized. If the bank suddenly went out of business, the college would have $100,000 insured through the FDIC and either $200,000 or $400,000 collateralized by the bank.

Board member Jim Streetman said he trusts First National is a solid bank and that he does business there, but the extra interest still seemed like a huge gamble against the potential loss of $200,000.

“The biggest bank in the community, the biggest bank in the country could run into trouble,” Streetman said. “These are public funds and we’re entrusted to take care of them.”

The board agreed with Streetman and chose the plan without the bonus interest.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting:

• Public Relations Director John Yearout gave a reminder that Albuquerque author Geoff Habiger would be at the MCC Bookstore today to sign copies of his dinosaur learning activity book for children.

• Christine Dougherty, the school’s director of educational services, said seven MCC representatives were planning to attend the career day at Moriarty High School, which offers concurrent enrollment at MCC. Dougherty said high school students earning college credit in Moriarty, Tucumcari, Clayton and other New Mexico cities would receive a promotional T-shirt for the concurrent enrollment program.

• Dougherty said MCC’s Adult Basic Education program had positive results from its most recent performance report. A letter from the New Mexico Higher Education Department commended the school for having a 56 percent success rate, the highest of all state programs for the 2004-05 year. The success rate was measured by how many adult students made significant improvements in standardized testing issued by the NMHED.

• Barry said during the March 16 meeting of the New Mexico Association of Community Colleges, MCC was one of seven schools to split into a different group of community colleges. The group MCC joined includes independent community colleges in the state, and the remaining group is made up of colleges that are branch campuses of bigger colleges. The split was amicable, Barry said, because branch institutions and independent colleges often have different needs and different personnel.

• Barry thanked everyone who attended and/or supported last month’s Cajun Shrimp Boil fund-raiser. The event brought in more than $18,000 with proceeds of more than $14,000, Barry said, and 55 percent of MCC employees bought at least one ticket to the event.