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College board vote reveals philosophical split
by Bill Clough
Jul 21, 2014 | 540 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CBC President, Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, left, discusses grievance information with trustees Martha Warner and Jeff Massengill during a special board meeting Monday evening.
CBC President, Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, left, discusses grievance information with trustees Martha Warner and Jeff Massengill during a special board meeting Monday evening.
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BEEVILLE – Votes by the board of trustees at Coastal Bend College are further indication of a philosophical split between those newly elected trustees and those with seniority.

Meeting Monday evening to decide what actions to take following three rare public grievance meetings by employees and former employees, the board voted to back the administration’s wishes. But, one decision was a tie; all three votes resulted in abstentions.

In the first case, on whether to uphold the firing of former nursing director Eloisa Garcia, Trustee DeeDee Bernal moved to have the college pay off the rest of Garcia’s contract, from March 25 when she was dismissed.

At issue was days Garcia took off from college to work at a local clinic to fulfill the requirements to keep her family nurse practitioner (FNP) license. While she was paid by the clinic, she also was paid by the CBC. When the college ordered her to pay the salaries she was paid for the two days a month, she refused. CBC terminated her; she filed a breach of contract grievance.

Trustee Jeff Massengill, who also voted with Bernal, noted that throughout the exchange of emails between Garcia and CBC President Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, the college referred to the days off as professional development while Garcia called them FNP time.

“We were never on the same page,” Massengill said. “I think that is unfortunate. That lack of communication is the germ that grew into this whole issue.”

“I think we should make that terminology painstakingly clear in the future,” said Board Chairman Carroll Lohse.

“Noted,” Espinoza replied.

Massengill then seconded Bernal’s motion; Trustee Bryce Carillo voted with Bernal and Massingill.

The vote would have been 4-3 in favor of the administration except Trustee Victor Gomez abstained.

In the second case, involving an instructor whose full-time contract was not renewed because the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges review committee determined that although she had been teaching a certain series of health classes, she only was qualified to teach a single course in medical terminology.

The vote would have been unanimous to back the administration’s decision except Massengill abstained.

In the third case, the board would have voted unanimously in favor of the administration concerning an incident of unprofessional conduct but Carrillo abstained.

Throughout the board’s discussion of the three cases, questions by Bernal and Massengill dominated the discussion.

Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.
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