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Oversight Needs A Look at EGCC

Obviously, more oversight of management is necessary at Eastern Gateway Community College. During their meeting this week, members of the Steubenville institution’s board of trustees, meeting at the Youngstown campus, voted to fire EGCC President Jimmie Bruce. He had been placed on administrative leave earlier this month.

To their credit, board members provided the public with some information on their decision. They said Bruce was terminated because of dereliction of duty and inappropriate management. More details would be good, but at least the board did not follow practice set by so many other college governing bodies in providing no illumination.

At the same time Bruce was placed on leave, the board took similar action regarding EGCC Vice President and Chief of Staff Jim Miller. This week, they deferred any additional action regarding him.

However, it was reported the board’s concern with Miller involves questionable expense charges on the college’s procurement card.

As we noted after the two men were placed on leave Jan. 7, this is not the first time concern about Bruce has been expressed. In August, faculty members approved a “no-confidence vote” concerning him. In notifying the board of that, faculty representatives reportly listed a number of “grievance-worthy items.”

Higher education boards have to have a high level of confidence in top college and university administrators. Watching over their shoulders and second-guessing their decisions is not conducive to efficiency.

But in replacing Bruce — and, perhaps, Miller — trustees also should take a second look at oversight procedures and policies. Every institution has them, or should. At EGCC, are they adequate, or do they need beefed up?

It seems obvious that at EGCC, those questions are not merely — dare we say it? — academic.

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