The Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees met for its regular August meeting on Tuesday night.

The meeting was moved up in August from the regular last Tuesday of the month due to needing to have its budget completed and turned into the state.

With two trustees absent from the meeting, Gary Harshberger and Morris Reeves, the proposed 2017-2018 budget passed 3-1 on Tuesday night, with the lone vote against coming from Terry Malone.

"I voted against it because it still contains an enormously high and unnecessary payroll budget," said Malone on Wednesday when contacted by the Daily Globe. "As noted in my letter that I sent in early July 2016 to all newspapers in Ford County, the DCCC payroll had increased enormously from 2011 through 2016 — from $6M to just under $10M — a staggering increase of 65 percent.  

"The absurd increases were approved by the board even though no new programs were added at the college and the enrollment increased by a mere 13 students in those 5 years.

"The faculty did not receive the increase in wages, as they received cost of living increases of about 2 percent annually. The unbelievably high increases in wages were reserved for the administration (102 percent), business uffice (118 percent) and the athletic department (90 percent). In spite of no new programs and a virtually no increase in enrollment, the board approved 25 new positions to the payroll.

"These absurd wage increases have amounted to an unnecessary tax burden to Ford County residents of over $20 million and still counting and no end in sight. 

"However, other government taxing entities did a much better job of managing the tax dollars entrusted to them over the same time frame.

"The City of Dodge City increased its employee payroll 1.55 percent from 2010 through 2016. The 2010 payroll was $8,958,378 and in 2016 its payroll was only $9,097,828. The city showed amazing skill in managing the  taxpayer’s money. 

"The County of Ford’s payroll was $8,638,847 in 2010 and in 2016 it had grown to only $10,216,76 — a reasonable increase of only 18.26 percent — or just over 3 percent annually. 

"These ridiculous payroll increases amount annually to approximately 10 mills of the DCCC levy. In other words, but for the unwarranted payroll increases, the mill levy could be approximately 22 mills, instead of the present approximate 32 mills.

According to a chart given to board members and others in July, the June 2017 workforce at the college is made of 31 percent faculty, 24 percent program tech, 20 percent full-time classified, 15 percent athletic and 10 percent administration.

Malone has previously questioned salaries in both administration and athletics and asked for a reduction in salaries in those two areas.

In June of last year, his motion at the Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees meeting to instruct the president to reduce payroll by no less than $500,00 before Jan. 1, 2017, reduce payroll by $1 million by July 1, 2017 and reduce payroll by $1 million by Jan. 1, 2018 failed for lack of a second.

"I have been very disturbed over the increase in payroll," Malone said at the time. "I don’t like to say some of the things that I have to say, but I firmly believe the payroll issue is a critical issue that must be addressed for the benefit of the public and college. Dodge City Community College has been on an unprecedented and unjustified spending spree the last 5 years. While all other taxing entities in Ford County were tightening their belts to make due with austere budgets, our trustees squandered millions of tax dollars by adding 25 new non-faculty positions to the payroll and approving unbelievable, outrageous raises for non-faculty employees."

In his report, he stated the payroll increased from $6 million in fiscal year 2011 to nearly $10 million in fiscal year 2016.

"During the past 5 years, DCCC added no new academic or training programs, added no faculty positions and our total enrollment increased by only 13 students," he said. "Where did the nearly $4 million go? Most of the $4 million in payroll increases was spent on administration and athletics."

In other business on Tuesday, the board approved various bids for education technology equipment and approved the Department of Nursing Student Handbook.

Before tackling the agenda, Sue Hammond, a faculty member at the college, addressed the board concerning faculty awaiting back pay after acceptance of the 2016-2017 contract. She also requested records regarding Higher Learning Commission credentials.

As of late, the board and administration has been working with the HLC to make sure they are on the right path to accreditation. Some faculty members are disagreeing with the administration on what credentials are needed for teaching.

 

To contact this writer email rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.