The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Board needs to listen to public

The TCC board of trustees is an elected body that is supposed to make sure the college is run as the people of the county want it to.

For this to happen, the board members have to listen to their constituents.

But a review of this board’s actions reveals a history of heavy-handed decisions made over constituents’ heads.

Take, for instance, the appointment process of the new District 2 trustee.

The county received applications Sept. 16 through Sept. 26, a total of only 10 days.

On Oct. 20, the board will interview all three finalists in one hour then go straight into the regular meeting, which includes appointing the new trustee.

Short public comment will be allowed before the vote.

That does not allow enough time for the people affected by this to have a voice in choosing their representative.

Thursday night is a busy night for many with family activities and work schedules. Most people cannot get off work in time to drive downtown to make a meeting at 5 p.m. 

Even if they could make it in time for public comment at 6 p.m., they wouldn’t have heard the finalists speak or be able to form an opinion to tell the board.

Whoever is appointed will represent numerous people for more than three years, so the issue of the public’s voice not being properly heard is a problem.

It would be easy to post the interviews online for a week or two so people could listen to them and then email comments to the board.

This is just one example of where the board did not give the public enough time to participate.

The 2011-2012 budget was presented at the beginning of August, and some board members were trying to pass it with a tax and tuition increase without giving the public a real chance to view the budget and comment on it.

Only after a huge stink was raised by the Star-Telegram did they arrange a separate public hearing.

Any decision TCC makes that will profoundly impact students or Tarrant County residents should not be taken lightly, nor should the public be brushed off or passively ignored.

While the board has technically taken the steps required by law to allow input, in reality, it is impractical to impossible for many people to participate the way it is being done. The letter of the law is being followed, but the spirit is lacking.

A decent amount of time for people to give feedback needs to be implemented whenever there’s a change of the magnitude that warrants it.

The board has a job to do, but they should be careful about turning a deaf ear to public opinion.

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