MCC board president addresses hiring of newest administrators

KINGMAN - Dan Hargrove, president of the Mohave Community College Governing Board, was traveling through Texas when contacted last Wednesday to respond to questions about how the Board-handled appointment of a new administrative team during its meeting on March 13.

Michael Kearns will become the next chancellor on Nov. 1, taking the reins from Thomas Henry. H. Lynn Cundiff replaces Bill Lovejoy as vice chancellor for administration, and Charles Spotts takes on the dual role of vice chancellor for instruction and student services, replacing Billy Bates, who held the latter designation.

The new administrators each were given five-year contracts. Kearns initially will earn $185,000 a year. Salaries were not specified at the time for Cundiff and Spotts.

Kearns will recommend salaries for both men to the Board at a future time, Hargrove said.

MCC is an equal opportunity employer. Why then weren't the three positions advertised in professional journals and through other sources as is customary to draw applicants that may be more qualified than those given the contracts on the recommendations of Henry?

"We asked Tom for recommendations five years ago when he joined us," Hargrove said. "We wanted replacements in the positions quickly, so we can keep moving in the direction we are going.

"Yes, we are an equal opportunity employer. But when you have fantastic individuals in the wing, you want to hire from within."

Hiring from outside would mean putting someone at or near the top that "could have taken us down the wrong path," Hargrove said.

He went on to say he knows Kearns well and could not have found a better man to be the next chancellor.

"I've watched Mike's work and actions for several years now, and we as a board were extremely pleased that he was the one recommended by Tom," Hargrove said.

Salaries for Cundiff and Spotts are not a "black and white situation" and will be discussed by the Board once Kearns makes recommendations, Hargrove said.

A source that spoke to the Miner on condition of anonymity said the Board is negligent in that it failed to follow state statutes as well as its own established procedures for hiring administrators.

"We talked with the state Attorney General's Office as well as our own attorneys and both said what we did is not illegal," Hargrove said.

"I was interviewed by a reporter with another paper who checked with the newspaper attorney and he also said there was nothing illegal in what we did."