MCC gets new boss
Kearns will take over as chancellor on Nov. 1
KINGMAN - A new senior management team was appointed Tuesday during a meeting of the Mohave Community College Board of Governors.
Michael J. Kearns will become the next chancellor of the college. He presently is vice chancellor for instruction.
Other appointments that take effect Nov. 1 include H. Lynn Cundiff as vice chancellor for administration and Charles D. Spotts as vice chancellor for instruction and student services. All three administrators were awarded five-year contracts with Kearns to initially earn $185,000 annually.
Chancellor Thomas Henry and Vice Chancellor for Administration Bill Lovejoy have announced they will leave MCC as of Oct. 31 to pursue other unspecified professional opportunities. Billy Bates, vice chancellor for student services, will leave June 30 and plans to move to southeast Arizona, Henry previously said.
"Instead of talking about me, we should celebrate what Dr. Henry has given the college these last five years," Kearns said in comments made after his appointment. "We have a management team focused on a target of student achievement and success and are among the nation's best (community colleges) now.
"I have the utmost confidence we'll continue to move forward and achieve the same target. My challenge will be to set the bar higher."
Chairman Dan Hargrove and members Victor Wakimoto and Kathy Hodel approved issuance of the five-year contracts. Members Lynda French and John T. Neal voted no.
In addition, campus presidents Mike Ford (Kingman), Nicholas T. Sanchez (Lake Havasu City) and David D. Shahan (Bullhead City) were given new two-year contracts.
French raised several concerns before the vote was taken.
"There are some technical aspects of the agenda that concern me," she said. "The item itself has the term intention (for the resignations of Henry and Lovejoy) that sounds tentative. This could make one conclude there may be conditions attached under which they would rescind the resignations.
"In addition, nowhere (in the language of the appointment on the agenda) does it say whether we would accept those resignations or not and that needs to be made clear."
The heading of "employment contracts" under which the matter was discussed also is too generic and the manner it was being handled placed the Board close to a violation of the open meeting law, French said.
French further said there should be a public posting for the positions being vacated, rather than have multiple appointments immediately, in order to conform to the college's human resources policy.
She also did not like all of the appointments being of one gender and without an application process through which the Board could review candidates and ensure background checks are done.
French went on to read comments she said she had gotten from Kingman Mayor Les Byram, Kingman Vice Mayor Dave French and Lake Havasu City Vice Mayor Margaret Nyberg. The gist of all of them was for the Board to "slow down" and go through a thorough search to get the best candidates.
"I urge our members to vote no on this matter and schedule it for discussion in executive session, where it belongs," French said in conclusion.
Hodel said she has full confidence in Kearns. Wakimoto added Kearns would provide a seamless transition and that he supported Kearns.
Neal said he felt Kearns is the right candidate, but he has a problem with issuing five-year contracts. He recommended a three-year pact for Kearns, Cundiff and Spotts and introduced a motion for it.
The motion died for lack of a second.
Biographies were provided.
Kearns received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Case Western Reserve University Dental School, a master's in business administration from Cleveland State University and a bachelor's degree from John Carroll University. He was in private dental practice 24 years before joining MCC and becoming founding director of the MCC dental hygiene program.
Cundiff got his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University, master's degree from Northeast Missouri State University, and bachelor's from William Jewell College. He has served as a chief executive officer in the private sector for 12 years, plus periods as president of Salt Lake Community College in Utah and Floyd College in Georgia, and executive vice chancellor in the Alabama College System.
Spotts got a master's degree from George Mason University and bachelor's degree in business magna cum laude from the University of Maryland. He previously worked as regional general manager for SunGard Higher Education, chief information officer and vice chancellor for information technology for SunGard/MCC and deputy chief information officer and director of information technology at the University of Maryland.