Phi Beta Cons

Alabama Colleges: Cleaning Up

…is so very hard to do.
The basic management of Alabama’s community colleges is under scrutiny in a far-reaching criminal investigation.  The Birmingham News has been chronicling the scandal, such as the system hiring legislators, lobbyists and relatives of administrators; contractors making financial deals with system officials and their relatives; and the fired chancellor, Roy Johnson, arranging millions of dollars in contracts for companies that helped him or his relatives.
Meanwhile, as the News reports, the new chancellor, Thomas Corts, seems to view public scrutiny as a hindrance, and thus the system’s board continues to make major decisions with little discussion. State school board member Stephanie Bell correctly defends the public’s right to have “a front seat” to board action.
What’s not to understand? All dispensation of public moneys for higher education must be made crystal clear, and public systems across the nation need to be thoroughly and independently audited. And with boards and administrators so mired in secrecy, media watchdogs such as the News must re-double their efforts. 
(Tip from Joan Battey.)


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