WHY IT MATTERS: The Montgomery College Furor
There are important reasons that all of us should care about the furor at Montgomery College--and one of them involves how much of your tax dollars are going to waste.
Here’s a recap of events: Brian Keith Johnson, the president of Maryland’s largest community college, is being accused by faculty of running up lavish expenses (read the details here ) while neglecting his duties. The school's trustees will vote tomorrow on his future.
With these kinds of allegations, it is possible that we are headed down a road where the school may decide to give Johnson a package to leave rather than go through a drawn-out public airing. A well-placed county source says the issue has already been raised in county government. That could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money.
The trustees will want to avoid repeating the episode at American University several years ago when its president, Benjamin Ladner, was found to have wracked up huge expenses on fine wine, travels and other niceties. A long investigation sparked lots of negative publicity (Disclosure: I wrote many of those stories)--and in the end Ladner still walked away with a package worth several million dollars.
The bottom line is that the college's Board of Trustees--which oversees the president--should move swiftly to figure out the truth and resolve it. Montgomery College’s reputation has been growing as a great pipeline to four-year colleges, with record growth and a growing honors program. It would be a shame if the college is further tarnished by a failure to act swiftly.
After this episode is resolved, the trustees will then have to take a look at how they allowed this to happen--and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. If it means replacing underlings who contributed to the problem, so be it.
Washington Post editors
| September 2, 2009; 10:12 AM ET
Tags: Montgomery College, community colleges
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