EDITORIAL: Making the right move at WNC
January 28, 2014
As the first week of the spring semester begins, we applaud Chancellor Dan Klaich and the Board of Regents for taking their search for a new Western Nevada College president to the communities in which the college serves.
Klaich, along with Regent Ron Knecht, visited Fallon and Carson City late last year to receive input on what qualities a new president should possess. Community leaders and former WNC instructors and deans offered their opinions and plans, and during the process, Klaich kept notes.
Since that meeting, Klaich recommended that an acting president serve at the WNC helm until a more solid plan for the future could be developed; additionally, trying to find a new president who will guide WNC through the next decade is tantamount to the college's success and survival.
Under WNC's structure, three vice presidents are responsible for specific areas. Klaich recommended Chet Burton as the acting president. Although Burton's resume shows a stronger background in finance, he still has two vice presidents who will assess WNC's educational mission for this semester and perhaps beyond until the end of the year or until 2015.
Although some of WNC's instructors may not favor an acting president, we see a parallel between the college and the Churchill County School District. Each institution had undergone years of discontent with the leadership, thus creating a major wedge between the president (or superintendent) and staff and between the institution (or school district) and community.
CCSD opted to hire retired WNC Dean Bus Scharmann as interim superintendent, and he proceeded to bring calm to troubled waters and implemented policies to restore trust between the staff and administration.
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Likewise, by selecting Burton as acting president, Klaich is doing the same. He received enough information from local residents in two separate meetings — the first one in November 2012 — to learn how much smoother CCSD was sailing with a temporary leader. Likewise, we are confident Burton and his two vice presidents will bring some smoothness to those WNC troubled waters running in Carson City, Minden and Fallon.
With tightened budgets being a major concern, Burton brings a strong financial background to the position, having served a 20-year Navy career in supply and finance and then 15 more years in the private sector in Northern Nevada. Additionally, Burton retried to Fallon after his naval career and spent 11 years here. If anyone knows of rural needs and the importance of the community college in smaller communities, we are confident Burton learned much during his time living in Churchill County.
This is just one step Klaich and the regents have made. Now, what about that controversial funding formula …
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.
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