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Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
October 30, 2007     Lassen County Times
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October 30, 2007

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811 Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007 L.assen County Times, Westwood PinePress II Sam Williams News Editor swillia rns@lassennews.com Lassen Community College's Board of Trustees disagreed with most of the findings made by the 2007 Lassen County Grand Jury. According to a response to the grand jury" approved by the trustees on Tuesday, Oct. 23, the grand jury identified 19 concerns regarding the board of trustees and nine concerns regarding the for- mer college president. The grand jury also made 12 recommendations and issued 10 commendations. As part of the grand jury report, it issued seven paragraphs of findings that were not num- bered. The board unanimously approved the response to the grand jury report, but trustee Robert Hill and student trustee Christian Younger abstained. Hill said .he would abstain because he was not a member of the board at the time many of the issues noted by the grand jury occurred. Younger said he would abstain because he had not yet read the board's response. The student trustee's vote is advisory and does not count. Dr. Douglas Houston, LCC's interim president, said the response had been prepared in closed session in consulta- tion with the board's legal counsel. Trustees Hill and Jay Dow said theY did not agree with every response to the grand jury. Dow said he was sup- porting the document. Hill and Dow also said the board's response was proba- bly too long and too detailed. According to the trustees' response, the trustees are "obligated to respond only to the findings and recommen- dations of the grand jury;, accordingly, the board did not responded to the grand jury's concerns or Commendations unless related to a finding or recommendation." The trustees also noted a considerable portion of the grand jury report related to Dr. Homer Cissell, the col- lege's former president, or the board's relationship with him. "On June 28, 2007, Dr. Cissell announced his resig- nation from the district effec- tive July 3, 2007; therefore, the board believes he cannot rea- sonably respond to the grand jury report. Further, because 'Dr. Houston (LCC's interim president) was not employed by the district during the rel- evant time period, he will only respond on those specif- ic issues for which he has first-hand knowledge." Grand juw findings The trustees disagreed with the grand jury's findings the college board had given "almost blind support" to the college president that brought the college to "the brink of disaster" and result- ed in a "loss of enrollment, loss of fiscal stability and the loss of respect and support of the chancellor's office, the accreditat ion commission, this community and of poten- tial college students." The trustees noted the board refused to take action on at least six matters recom- mended by the college presi- dent between July 1, 2006 and" June 30, 2007. Of the 250 votes taken dur- ing the period, 223 were unan- imous, 25 were disputed and two votes resulted in no action because of a tie vote. "Although some board members were in the minori- ty more than others," the board wrote, "there certainly was no uniformity. Every board member was in the minority on at least one vote and no. board member was in the minority in more than half of the disputed-votes." The board's response noted the accreditation commission observed the board had On October 18, 2007 Lassen Community College filed an FCC 340 application permit for a reserved channel noncommercial education Broadcast station, channel number: 215,90.9 MHz. A copy of this application is available for public inspection (in the college library) during our regular business hours at: 478.200 Highway 139, Susanville, CA 96130. Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to the station's eligibility should file comments and petitions with the FCC prior to Commission action on this application. 1. Applicant: Lassen Community College 2. Purpose: Construction Permit 3. Date submitted: 10/18/2007 4. Call Letters: Not yet identified 5. The proposed station (class CO) will be located on the College campus, with the transmitting antennae on Schaffer Mountain at a height of 120 meters. Effective radiated power is 12 kW. A microwave link will provide point-to- point communication between the studio. -,- .:ft. Johnson's Printing is closing its doors on Oct. 31s and have transferred all the printing files to the printing division of the Lassen County Times. Owners Doug and Monica are in the process of moving to Quincy where Doug has taken a job with the Print Shop for Feather Publishing Co. (owners of the Lassen Co, Times). They want to thank their loyal customers for the patronage and want to assure them there will be no interruption in service. . Business Cards - Letterhead/Envelopes Brochures/Stamps Invoices/Statements And much more, with free pick up & defivery available. Wedding invitations Work orders Posters/Tickets Thank you cards or Call: Doug, Jill or Cobey LASSEN COUNTY usanvil "failed to back" the former president and had previously criticized the board for "micromanaging" the admin- istrative affairs of the dis- trict. The trustees responded the loss of enrollment was "com- mon to rural colleges across the state," however, the board did agree enrollment man- agement has become more challenging. The trustees said the col- lege is not ih a state of fiscal instability and the college and the board has addressed that concern. The trustees noted the col- lege is building its reserves, downsizing and reducing clas~ offerings to correspond to enrollment. According to the board's response, the trustees wrote the agencies have not expressed a "loss of respect and support" but instead have "focused on issues of compliance." The trustees also disagreed with the grand jury's finding the board had violated its own pol!cies, California state law, the education code and the state's Open Meeting Act, commonly referred to as the Brown Act in regard to a $21,000 transfer of funds to the Lassen College Foundation. " the district has not found any evidence that the deposit of the $21,000 check from J. Robinson into the account.of the Lassen College Foundation by the former superintendent/president or anyone else was in violation I of board policies or any laws or regulations," the trustees wrote. The grand jury referred the question of possible perjury regarding the issue to Lassen County DistriCt Attorney Robert Burns for possible prosecution. The district attorney's office has not announced the results of its investigation into the matter. The trustees wrote they already had responded to the grand jury's concerns about the sale of a generator in 2003: The trustees disagreed with the grand jury regard- ing an improper sale of real property. They acknowledged some technical errors in the sale, but said these deficiencies were corrected prior to the property being offered to the public for sale by bid. Citing an employee's right to confidentiality, the board declined to discuss a number of employee evaluations and personnel issues questioned by the grand jury. The trustees acknowledged a student who was not a resi- dent of the state of California served as student trustee. The trustees responded they were made aware of the situation near the end of the student trustee's second term, and the student trustee subsequently resigned from the board. The trustees also disagreed with a grand jury finding that the unquestioning support of the college president "may cost this college its accredita- tion and possibly its i, ery existence." The trustees responded the accreditation commission expressed concerns about a "power struggle" on campus that crippled the college's governance structure. The board also noted the college has had se4en presidents within the past 15 years, "causing further iilstability and quality assurance issues in the operation of the col- lege." ~ : - ~:e ~-/~=. ::-~ The trustees~so disagreed with the grandjumj fmdings about several violations of the Brown Act. The board did agree with the grand jury's finding that various groups on campus have their own agendas and are impeding the college's efforts to resolve its prob- lems. "To the extent that the grand jury findingsrelate to the college climate during the 2006-2007 academic year and prior," the trustees wrote, "the interim president/super- intendent has no first-hand knowledge; however, accord- ing to a recent survey of cam- pus climate, this does not appear to be the case current- ly." The trustees also disagreed with the grand jury's finding that the trustees had "failed to properly oversee the opera- tion of LCC" and "failed to ensure the college is being led by a competent administra- tor." Finally, the trustees agreed with the grand jury's finding "if efforts to save the college fail, the board of trustees, the superintendent/president and those faculty staff and student body members who are presently at odds will have no one to blame but themselves." "The board of trustees appreciate this concern," the trustees wrote, "and agrees that the future of Lassen College is the responsibility of all stakeholders." The trustees and the col- lege president agreed with the recommendations from the grand jury regarding the governance of the college.