Area needs qualified voice on college board
Within the next four days, a dedicated citizen in Southwest Nebraska needs to step forward to file for election to the Mid-Plains Community College Area Board of Governors.
This area -- including Red Willow and Hitchcock counties and major portions of Hayes and Frontier counties -- has been served with distinction for the past seven years by Harold Bennett. But, Bennett has chosen not to file for re-election, leaving an opening in what is known as District I.
"We have made tremendous strides forward in the past seven years," said Bennett, who is currently serving his second year as chairman of the Mid-Plains Board of Governors. Bennett gives great credit for the college progress to Dr. Richard Tubbs, the vice president for McCook Community College, and Dr. Michael Chipps, president of the Mid-Plains Community College Area. "They have helped smooth the transition and created a wholesome working relationship between the colleges in McCook and North Platte," Bennett said.
In Bennett's view, the turning point came when the college board approved McCook Community College and North Platte Community College as the names for Mid-Plains' two major campuses. The Mid-Plains Area has also made major strides forward in policy development, finances and accreditation, Bennett declared.
Eight years ago, Bennett was motivated to file because of disturbing statements made during what was called "Operation Starlight," a plan for revamping the college structure.
Now that the troubling times have diminished, Bennett believes it is time for the college area to go forth with renewed board leadership. "Roger Wilson (the other District I board member) is doing a good job, but we need another dedicated member to serve this area," Bennett said.
The deadline for filing for the District I position for the Mid-Plains board is Monday, March 1. But Bennett said the decision really needs to be made before then because the filing has to be in the Secretary of State's office in Lincoln by Monday, meaning the candidacy papers and filing fee must be mailed before that time.
If you -- or someone you know -- is interested in filing for the Mid-Plains board position, you may give Bennett a call at (308) 345-5079 or Wilson a call at (308) 345-3652. You can also contact Dr. Tubbs or Dr. Chipps. The board members and college officials can fill you in on the responsibilities of being a board member and the time required for attending monthly and special meetings.
This area needs a dedicated person to look out for the interests of McCook Community College and the Mid-Plains Area. College conditions and cooperation have improved considerably, but we must stay focused in our efforts to have the Mid-Plains colleges provide educational opportunities.