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Adopted Meeting Minutes
December 19, 2002
Special Board Meeting

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 a.m.

Roll Call

Present: Heywood, Holden, Jeffries, Pelleran, Rasmusson
Absent: Canady

Trustee Canady arrived at 7:40 a.m.

Limited Public Comment Regarding Agenda Items

There were no comments from the public.

Trustee C. David Patterson?s Resignation

Chairperson Jeffries stated that there are issues whether or not the Board has to vote on this agenda item. Apparently, under the Michigan Community College Act it states that if there is a resignation it is automatic and not required for the Board to vote on it. He said that he tried to get an opinion this morning from the attorneys, but was unable to contact them.

IT WAS MOVED by Trustee Rasmusson and supported by Trustee Heywood to acknowledge that Trustee C. David Patterson has resigned and accept his resignation.

Trustee Pelleran stated that she wrote a statement for the public and for the Board. She requested that her written statement be entered into the record (it is on file with the official Board materials.) Trustee Pelleran stated that it is a sad day when we at Lansing Community College do not allow due process. We had a report the other night that was a review of our purchasing policies, practices, and procedures, and what it turned into was an indictment of a colleague. Whether or not he had done certain things, she does not feel as a trustee that she has been adequately presented with the evidence. There has been a series of rumors that have gone around this campus at any level. She thought what the Board had done the other night was premature and in the future she hoped that the Board would seriously consider our actions and the impact on this community, the college, and the people we are doing these things to before we do them. Trustee Pelleran stated that she would be voting no on Trustee Patterson?s resignation.

Trustee Holden asked that the record show that the motivating factor for her to support the motion to censure was based on a pattern of behavior against staff and Board members.

Chairperson Jeffries reminded the Board that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the resignation, not the censure.

Trustee Heywood read for the record a portion of section 157 of the Michigan Community College Act. The office of a member of a Board of trustee shall become vacant immediately without any declaration of any officer or acceptance of the Board of Trustees or its members upon several items that include a resignation. Trustee Heywood stated that the act was passed in 1966 effective October 1.

Ayes: Heywood, Holden, Jeffries, Rasmusson
Nays: Pelleran
Absent: Canady

Motion carried.

Vacancy Process

Chairperson Jeffries stated that there is a process before the Board with a proposed timetable, which includes a very short time frame (the process is on file with the official Board materials.) He said that the purpose of the short time frame is due in part that this appointment will become vacant as of June 30, 2003 and due to the budget cycle, which will begin in early February. Chairperson Jeffries stated that this is the same process used in the past when Trustees Canady, Pelleran, and Creamer were appointed. He reviewed the timeline with the Board and said that the process will be open and the applications will be available for public inspection.

Trustee Heywood recommended to change the application deadline to January 6 to allow more time for applicants considering the opportunity for individuals interested to pickup an application is conflicting with the holidays.

The Board agreed to change the deadline of the applications to be due on January 6 at noon.

IT WAS MOVED by Trustee Rasmusson and supported by Trustee Heywood to accept the Board vacancy process with the opportunity to amend it.

Trustee Pelleran asked to amend the timeline for the application deadline be extended to January 7 and that the reduction of applicant pool take place at the January 21 regular Board meeting to allow more time for applicants to come through.

Trustee Holden was concerned in changing the timeline because it would not allow ample time for the candidates and to set up interviews.

Trustee Rasmusson stated that he would accept as a friendly amendment Trustee Heywood?s suggestion of extending the application deadline to January 6.

President Cunningham stated that if would help the Board, the college could do more to advertise the vacancy and application deadline. She said that an advertisement could be placed in the paper this weekend and perhaps another advertisement prior to the deadline.

Trustee Pelleran stated that, yes that would be helpful.

Ayes: Canady, Heywood, Holden, Jeffries, Pelleran, Rasmusson
Nays: None
Absent: None

Motion carried.

Public Comment

There were no comments from the public.

Trustee Canady - I just have a few comments about what transpired this week. I don't take any issue with this body?s ability to censure a member, if you feel it is appropriate by a majority of the vote. However, the manner in which it preceded it was quite frankly despicable. When you have a situation where you want to get someone, I don't think it's necessary to repeatedly bushwhack them. You put them at a disadvantage whether or not he would have been able to appropriately defend himself. I think it's unbecoming of this body, I think it's unbecoming of the college. I don't take issue with anyone?s position on the merits of the thing - their votes are their votes. But that's the second time, that I recall, that Trustee Patterson was ambushed at a meeting. Now, I was in Grand Rapids at the time and I looked at the agenda and knew we were receiving the reports. I had read the reports and I had no questions about them. However, had I known that we were going to have a motion to censure one of the Trustees, I would have come back to the meeting when I was done in Grand Rapids. And I think part of the reason that type of behavior goes on is the inadequacy of our bylaws. We should not have a bylaw that allows anyone to bring a motion the day of the meeting - as particular one of such a magnitude without some type of process requiring super majority to allow a late item. When you post a meeting and you explain what the meeting is going to be about and then you turn around and use that as an opportunity simply to engage in a vendetta against someone, irrespective to the merits of why you're doing it, it makes us look second rate. It makes us look vindictive and quite frankly I'm ashamed that we would engage in that type of conduct. Not once, but repeatedly. I don't understand why, why these things can't see the light of day. Why they have to crawl out from under rocks to be voted on in a semi private meeting? When you know that people aren?t going to be here, when you know that the guy is out in California, why wouldn?t you at least, the very least let someone have advance notice and put it on the agenda? I don't think that's the way a public body should do business and this body does that repeatedly and has done so in the past. So, I think we should take a serious look at changing our bylaws to reflect that you can't have motions like that at the last minute. It's violative?I mean if he had a due process right and it would be violative of due process. Certainly violative of any sense of fairness and I would think that this body would be above that. I mean we try to be fair and open and honest with respect to every aspect of the review that took place. And in the very end we engaged in (inaudible) back handed, back stabbing activity. It's unnecessary, it's unbecoming and when people look at this body and talk about the type of conduct we engage in, that is what they're talking about. I will be the first one to admit the trustee was censured and could be overly strident. He can sometimes say inappropriate things, but I've never questioned his motivation. I may question his methods, but I doubt that I would have voted to censure him. However, that's not the issue. The issue of the manner is in which it was done. And it is a shame. Absolutely shame. I would add that at least, the very least, the guy has submitted his resignation, so you got what you want. At the very least I would ask that we reconsider the censure and at least lift that at this point, so the guy can leave office with a clean record. that's the very least you could do after the ambush was done. I would make that motion.

Trustee Pelleran - I would second that.

Chairperson Jeffries - is there discussion or debate on the motion that wasn't on our agenda?

Trustee Heywood - Mr. Canady, I think that this is, first of all, unbecoming to stand here having not been through the five hours that rest of these Trustees were involved in. Having not read or spoken with any of the affected individuals from this institution whose lives were threatened and just literally beaten upon for months and months and months and months by this said trustee. I will not support the removal of the censure at this time. Mr. Patterson made a choice to resign from the Board. The censure was there to say, from this Board, your behavior is unacceptable. And I believe that privately many of us have said that to Mr. Patterson since May. So, to say that there was no warning or no indication that people were upset with Mr. Patterson is absolutely wrong. To characterize this as bushwhacking, to go to the media and make allegations of violations of the Open Meetings is absolutely inappropriate. The fact is that this was within the context of a meeting where we received a report that clearly showed consistent wrongdoing by a trustee.

Trustee Pelleran - I?d like to make a comment on that. There was no report that showed consistent wrongdoing by a trustee and, Trustee Heywood, I think that those comments are inaccurate that you just made and inappropriate as well. So, it was a bushwhacking. Under open meetings it says all decisions of a public body shall be made at a meeting open to the public. I believe that you and others came to this meeting with every intention in bushwhacking Dave Patterson.

Trustee Canady - I agree with that and I just want to respond to that. I just sat here and said that I don't take issue with the merits of the thing. that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the way it was done. And if you're telling me that because you spoke with him privately and said that you thought that he was out of order on some things, that's fair warning that a motion for censure is going to be brought? Then that just shows how willing you are to ambush someone. That doesn?t tell him anything about a motion for censure. And the vote may have gone through exactly as it did had it been done fairly and openly with everyone knowing what was going on. Todd, and I would have been here had I know that was going to be on the agenda. I would have come back from Grand Rapids for that. I read the reports. I understood them, I was comfortable with them, and I certainly have a great deal of sympathy for anyone who had to go through that process. A great deal of sympathy for them. But that does not justify in anyway ignoring any sense of fairness, ignoring any sense of due process and waiting until the guy is 3,000 miles away to bring a motion that he had no idea was coming until he got on the phone. If you think that's the way to do business, then that's why people think that this Board is nuts. Because that's not fair, that's not right, it's not just. There is nothing, nothing commendable about that type of activity. There?s nothing ethical about that type of activity. There?s nothing good that can be said about a process like that. And if this is the type of process that we're going to continue to engage in on this Board, then I feel sorry for whoever decides to apply for this position.

Trustee Heywood - I bring motions as needed. And I'm sorry that you feel upset about them, Mr. Canady. But the fact is that there was clear, concise evidence, in my opinion, of wrongdoing and clearly there was for these four. If Mr. Patterson had wanted to, he could have called for a special meeting and gone through his rights. He chose not do that. Mr. Patterson also chose not to return to Michigan from his home in California, which is also part of the issue is his residency, which was consistently brought up in the meeting as well. Had Mr. Patterson decided to come back for the meeting, he would have been here.

Trustee Canady - You know, Todd, that? ridiculous, that's utterly ridiculous. Brian, I want to say this, Mr. Chair. You know that's ridiculous and that's the kind of stuff you engage?.

Chairperson Jeffries - (chairperson Jeffries hitting gavel numerous times) Mark, Mark?

Trustee Canady - that's ridiculous. If he knew it was on the agenda, he would have been here. that's ridiculous this Board would engage in that type of conduct.

Chairperson Jeffries - This isn?t doing anybody any good.

Trustee Canady - I agree with?I agree with that. But I do have a motion, and I want to bring a motion that we review the bylaws and we have a proposed bylaw at the next meeting to prevent this type of ambushing.

Chairperson Jeffries - This isn?t doing any good to this body. It's not doing any good to the college. It sure as heck isn?t doing any good to Dave Patterson. What?s happened, has happened and to regurgitate all of this other stuff isn?t doing anybody any good. Process wise?as a process there have been serious statements here that Open Meetings was violated, that this was some sort of semi private meeting. This was as open as a meeting should get. The fact is, Mark, and you have said this repeatedly, under our bylaws?our bylaws permit us at any time to suspend the rules and add anything to the agenda or any motion that comes up. All bylaws are like that, whether it's a public body or private body, they all have those. It allows that organization to be able to function and, you know, those bylaws we follow you mentioned that before, you?ve said time and time again that this Board can do anything it wants at any time under its own rules. And it can. It's true. And I think if you would have been here and heard the things and heard the reports and had an opportunity to address the investigators, I think that moved some people here to do something. Something had to be done and I don't think it does anybody any good to rehash those particular issues, but I think the process was fair. I mean this investigation was going on for six months and you know there had been conversations between various Board members with Dave. So, I think we got to just move on, I mean, we've talked about addressing our bylaws and we certainly could do that. We do that at other meetings, we've talked about addressing policies. We certainly can do that and I think a number of recommendations were made at the meeting that will be helpful in that regard. I think it's time to move on.

Trustee Canady - Well, I disagree. I do have a motion pending. I recognize the need to have late items on the agenda, but there needs to be a mechanism where you by vote allow the late item before you vote on the item itself. And this, the way it was done in this particular instance was an abuse of bylaws that we have now. And anybody who thinks that it was not, anybody who thinks that it was not is clearly in my mind willing to bend the rules to effectuate whatever political purpose they want at anytime. And that is what gives this Board a bad name. That is why we have a bad reputation because we will do things like that. We will turn around and we will cannibalize our own Board members because we don't agree with their position on something. We don't agree with the way they vote. We don't agree with what they say and it's not right. And all I'm saying is that if you're going to do something like this let it be done fully under the light of day. You can't say that it's a fair and open meeting when you give no notice whatsoever as to what's going to happen. And that runs counter to any, any notion of fair play, of due process, of what this Board should be about.

Jeffries - there's a motion on?

Heywood - I was going to call the question.

Jeffries - Motion on the table. All those in favor say aye. This is the motion to rescind the censure.

Pelleran - I?d like a roll call vote.

Roll call vote:
Ayes: Canady, Pelleran
Nays: Heywood, Holden, Jeffries, Rasmusson

Motion failed due to lack of support.

Pelleran - I would just like to say, Mr. Chairman, you mentioned that there was no mention to?there, that?there was a motion to suspend the rules. There was no motion to suspend the rules the other night. And I just wanted to clarify that. And once again, I will cite the Open Meetings act, under section 15.263, section 3, item 2 ?all decisions of a public body shall be made at a meeting open to the public.? And I again, once again, believe that there was a prior conversation probably a round robin on this issue before people came to this Board meeting the other night.

Heywood - I should point out?

Jeffries - It's enough, it's enough, o.k. Anyone from the public wishing to speak? Meeting?s adjourned.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 8:04 p.m.



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