First Posted: 4/14/2009
LUMBERTON The Robeson Community College board of trustees voted unanimously Monday night to renew the contract of President Charles Chrestman for an additional four years. The contract extension is effective June 30, 2010, when his current contract ends.
Chrestman said he was very pleased with the decision.
Its been an honor to serve this institution, said Chrestman, who was hired in January 2003. The county has been a great asset. I hope we can continue to make the contributions to help the people of the greater Robeson County area.
The board voted on the extension following a closed session. Chrestmans initial hiring came during a turbulent time for the college. The board haggled for a long time over an extension of the contract of Fred Williams, who had served as president for parts of three decades. Williams eventually rejected a contract offer, and went to work for the state Community College System.
At the time RCC had also gotten into trouble with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools over accreditation. The institution spent some time on probation before winning accreditation.
Mondays decision comes during a challenging time for the college. Like a nagging mosquito, concerns over Robeson Community Colleges shrinking budget wont go away.
Theres not a whole lot of good news going around right now, Chrestman told the trustees. At least not in the budget.
The college continues to trudge along despite the state continuing to withhold money and ordering that spending be frozen.
Tami George, vice president of Business Services, said the college has been placed on a budget lockdown. In a memorandum from State Budget Director Charles Perusse dated April 9, Perusse said the state has terminated for the remainder of the fiscal year travel expenses, employee promotions or increases in salary. Also, there is a hiring freeze unless commitments were made before April 9.
George also said that the state has asked the college to cancel all purchase orders that have not been received by this Thursday.
Any orders received after that date must be canceled, she said.
Chrestman said the college currently has about $54,000 in purchase orders that may have to be nixed. The college is asking for further clarification about money needed to furnish the new Workforce Development Center, slated for completion in July. Chrestman said even those purchases are in jeopardy.
In addition to the expanded freeze, George said the state has asked for another 1 percent reversion.
At least that is easy to do, George said. We cant spend our budget anyhow.
The college has already sent $527,624 to the state to help with a projected $2.2 billion budget shortfall.
In other business:
Chrestman was honored by WKML radio program director Dean Severanc for his part in the recent Big Heart Bash, held in the schools auditorium. More than 600 people participated in the annual radiothon, which raises money for St. Judes Kids, a research hospital dedicated to children with cancer and other terminal diseases.
Architect Walter Vick The board told the board that construction on the Workforce Development Center remains on schedule. The project is expected to be completed in July.
Architect John Murray gave an update on the re-roofing projects of Buildings 14 and 15. He said the project had a setback when rusted metal decks were exposed that pushed up costs by $22,000. He said the project remains on schedule.
Vice President Mark Kinlaw gave the board an update on accreditation. Kinlaw said an offsite committee is expected to review a compliance report submitted by the school in March and the school should receive recommendations in June. At this point, we can take a breather and focus on our QEP, Kinlaw said. The college has chosen reading as the topic of its Quality Enhancement Project.
The board announced that Sheila Regan, who works in the College Transfer and Allied Health programs, will replace Barbara Walters as the new assistant vice president.
I think shes prepared for this, Chrestman said. Shes a perfect fit.