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updated: 5/23/2013 9:37 PM

MCC board aims for greater transparency, communication

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  • Ron Parrish

    Ron Parrish


When Ron Parrish became the new leader of the McHenry County College board of trustees, he knew he would be overseeing some changes.

A contentious election season ended with a transformed board, thanks to the retirement of Trustee Dennis Adams and voters' decisions to end the service of longtime incumbents Barbara Walters and Carol Larson.

New trustees Molly Walsh, Chris Jenner and Thomas Wilbeck have already suggested new policies and procedures that Parrish has embraced in a move toward greater transparency.

"We have taken on a new direction," Parrish said. "We are going to be more open, better communicators with more clarity."

Parrish announced several new initiatives at Thursday's board meeting during a newly created "Chairman's report" agenda item.

Board meetings will be recorded starting in June with the video posted online. All board members will get MCC email addresses with those posted on the college's website as well. Also online will be information about Freedom of Information Act requests, PowerPoint presentations from meetings and legal explanations for going into closed session.

College President Vicky Smith said she also would report at each board meeting the number of bargaining unit sessions held since the last meeting.

During Thursday's discussion, Jenner asked for more expansive meeting minutes based on public comment, making clear what side of an issue the community member took when speaking. And Walsh asked that copies of the president's report be made available to the public during meetings, a practice that has been in place, though not expressly advertised.

Many of the ideas announced Thursday were presented at the May 14 committee of the whole meeting, a gathering Parrish left feeling hopeful about the board's next stage.

"I was expecting anguish and what I got was honest, respectful debate," Parrish said. "I just think we've turned a page."

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