Randolph Lumm, the president of the elected governing board that oversees Maricopa County’s 10 community colleges, was concerned about administrative bloat. So he sheepishly asked the district’s chief administrator, Chancellor Rufus Glasper, for an explanation.
Lumm prefaced his email with praise.
“I think you’re doing a great job as Chancellor,” the board president wrote in the opening sentence of the message he sent in December 2010. “I want to be supportive and I still want to be able to express concerns when I have them.”
With that Lumm listed his worries: that Glasper was growing administrative staff and hiring too many outside contractors into administrative positions.
In his five-page response, Glasper spent the first two pages lecturing Lumm about the limited powers of the governing board, the inability of the president to give him orders, and the chancellor’s near absolute control over internal operational and personnel decisions.
“I have found no policies that specifically limit the Chancellor’s authority” over employee decisions, Glasper wrote in a January 2011 email. “Staffing is a means and not an end, and means are my prerogative.”
This was not the first time Glasper rebuked the board for getting too meddlesome about how the Maricopa County Community College District spends its money. Nor was it the last.
For years governing board members have struggled to get straight answers about how much of the money being spent is feeding layers of unneeded management. They have voiced concerns that too much money is going to administrative overhead and too little to benefit students. Several current and former board members say they are not confident they’ve gotten clear explanations from staff as to how much is being spent in unnecessary management. But when they dig too deeply, they are blocked by Glasper’s warnings that they are venturing into the operational aspects of the district, where in his view they are not allowed to be.
Click here to read Schooled in Obstruction: Maricopa Community College Staff Blocks Cost-Cutting Reforms while Pushing Tax and Tuition Hikes.