Merger argument doesn't make senseYOUR APRIL 2 editorial...

April 16, 1996|By Ronald G. Abe

Merger argument doesn't make sense

YOUR APRIL 2 editorial, ''There's a crowd in Baltimore County,'' said the idea of merging Dundalk and Essex community colleges ''makes sense.'' My fellow trustees and I reject your proposal, not only because we support the current three-college system comprised of Catonsville, Dundalk and Essex, but because three of your key points are ill-founded and erroneous.

Your statement that ''county council members are openly discussing the (merger) idea'' is incorrect, and you mislead the public by saying so. No recent agenda of county council public meetings has included an item proposing a merger of two community colleges. And that's because such a reorganization is under the purview of the board of trustees -- not the county council. The county council's rightful authority is in decision-making on the college system's budget.

Let's set the record straight on the new college system administrative offices in Towson. The decision to create the system office was made three months before Chancellor Daniel J. LaVista arrived last September. The office was, and is, considered to be necessary to the proper leadership of the three colleges, and the lease costs required to support the office were the lowest of five sites considered.

Importantly, the reorganization of the college system warranted a space for centralized functions that could not be accommodated on an existing campus. In sum, trustees, not the chancellor, made the decision on the system office, and we stand by it.

Trustees grow weary of the repeated reference in editorial copy and news articles to the so-called ''added layer of bureaucracy'' created by Chancellor LaVista. Despite repeated attempts to explain this ''bureaucracy'' issue to reporter Joseph Nawrozki, you keep missing the point. Because of the board of trustees' decision to centralize numerous administrative functions in the chancellor's office, four senior staff members were hired to direct these functions, and numerous staff in like positions were reduced on the campuses. The savings generated on this staff model justify the so-called ''added layer of bureaucracy'' and promote the attainment of the desired management controls which the board of trustees envisioned when it embraced the college system concept last year.

Ronald G. Abe


The writer is chairman of the Community College of Baltimore County Board of Trustees.

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