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New bylaws bother LCCC board member

NANTICOKE – Revised bylaws defining how the Luzerne County Community College Board of Trustees operates don’t sit well with all its members.

Board member Tom O’Donnell was vocal Tuesday night about his belief that the new bylaws give too much power to the school’s administration while restricting the duties of the board.

“In my view, it introduces a new exposure to additional liability,” he said.

Mahmoud Fahmy chaired a committee to develop a new set of bylaws. O’Donnell was a member of that committee.

Fahmy defended the new bylaws, stating that several of the board members, including O’Donnell, and LCCC President Tom Leary sat on the committee to develop the new rules.

He also said he sought out the recommendations of the county commissioners and state educational agencies to write the document.

Fahmy said he feels the document does provide for a more honest and transparent board while avoiding micro-managing the college.

O’Donnell said the document would also allow the college to expand into other counties, but he feels strongly the college was created to serve Luzerne County.

He pointed out that California and Arizona governments are actually cutting back on their college program offerings, and the county and state governments, which both provide a significant chunk of the community college’s funding, are experiencing financial woes.

“The intent of the community college was solely for the citizens of Luzerne County. … This document provides for expansion through designated sites. I think we should take a very cautious position on expansion,” O’Donnell said.

He was the only member who voted against the new bylaws. After hearing O’Donnell’s comments, Dr. Joseph Lombardo moved to approve the bylaws on the condition that the board and administration take O’Donnell’s comments seriously.

Board Vice Chairman and Commissioner Greg Skrepenak and board members Agapito Lopez and Thomas Pizano were not present.

In other business, the board approved a contract with Empire Services for $122,300 to demolish the inside portion of the Health Sciences Building on Main Street, formerly the Kanjorski Center. Once the demolition is complete, work on the renovation can begin.

The board also approved a rough-grading contract with Popple Construction for $517,311 to do work at the Public Safety Training Institute. Board member Elaine Cook was the only person to vote against that contract.

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