Kelly is reappointed chairman of Balto. County college system

March 30, 2000|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

Francis X. Kelly, who spearheaded an extensive reorganization of Community College of Baltimore County, has been reappointed chairman of the board of trustees by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

The reappointment this week -- which is subject to state Senate confirmation -- occurred after growing speculation that Kelly, a Democrat, would be passed over as part of a political payback. Kelly aggressively supported Glendening's Republican opponent, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, in the 1998 election.

Yesterday, Kelly said he wanted to bury the hatchet and look to the future.

"This wasn't easy for the governor to do politically," Kelly said, "and I thank him. Now, we're going to continue to try to make CCBC one of the best systems in the country."

Among his priorities, he said, is evaluating the college's changing role as more continuing education students join those attending full time. Enrollment at the campuses in Catonsville, Essex and Dundalk is about 60,000.

Kelly also wants to persuade the General Assembly to allocate more money for new buildings at the three campuses.

Politics aside, Kelly's work as head of the board that oversees Maryland's largest two-year college system has been highly successful, a top county lawmaker said yesterday.

"We're all delighted that Frank Kelly has been reappointed," said Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, a Fullerton Democrat and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

"It's good that the governor and Kelly have mended fences because after all is said and done, the chairman has brought quality back to the colleges through his leadership," Bromwell said.

Bromwell was among a group of legislators who lobbied Glendening to reappoint Kelly, a former state senator and ally of County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger.

"The colleges were in total disarray, and Frank helped restore professionalism to the system to where it is now being recognized nationally," said Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, a Baltimore Democrat who lobbied for Kelly.

Kelly made diversity a top priority and that, said Hoffman, is "much needed to reflect a county brimming with diversity."

The lobbying effort paid off.

"The governor was very impressed with the support the former senator received in Annapolis," said Michelle Byrnie, press secretary for Glendening. "He was impressed with the job [Kelly] did at the community colleges."

Kelly's four-year reappointment is scheduled to be voted on tomorrow in the Senate, where leaders expect it to pass easily.

Kelly was appointed chairman by Ruppersberger in January 1997, when the colleges were reeling from a critical report that said they and the board that oversaw them were in "chaos."

Kelly's reorganization plan merged the three independent campuses. As a result, territorial battles between board members ceased. Faculty members say they feel more united and better represented under the new leadership.

The system has 400 full-time and 800 part-time faculty members. An additional 800 staff members serve in administrative and other noninstructional positions.

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