The faculty and staff on the two campuses of Northwest-Shoals Community College are expected to take a vote of "no confidence" today on President Glenda Colagross.

Colagross, a 25-year veteran of the two-year college system, has been president at the college since April 2018.

The vote will be held by secret ballot from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on campuses in Muscle Shoals and Phil Campbell.

Ballots will be marked either "yes" or "no" that the employee does or doesn't have confidence in Colagross' leadership, according to Northwest-Shoals employee Sharon Jo McBride, who serves as president of the Shoals Education Association, the local affiliate of the Alabama Education Association (AEA).

McBride said that to her knowledge, today's vote is the first such organized ballot for the college.

Dana Clement, the postsecondary UniServ director for the northern district of the AEA, said votes of "no confidence" are in fact a rarity in the two-year system. 

"There's no road map, no guidelines, but there comes a time when faculty and staff have reached the point they feel this is their only recourse to have a collective voice," she said.

The results of the vote will be verified by a committee of three employees, and a representative of AEA will be present as well, according to McBride. 

Results will be turned over to the AEA representative, who will submit them to the two-year college system Chancellor Jimmy Baker.

McBride said there have been multiple issues among faculty and staff that have gone unaddressed leading to feelings of frustration and intimidation. 

"Our hope is for the employees to be heard," she said. 

One of the most recent issues causing dissension on campus was when Colagross posted at least two of three dean-level positions, which will be new, high-paying jobs on campus.

Employees say one of the positions will mean about a $30,000 pay raise for the position (and individual) now handling those duties. The other positions will include a pay increase of approximately $12,000 each.

"The college laid off 17 employees before Humphrey Lee left, and now they've giving huge raises," McBride said. "The employees here have questions but they haven't been answered."

Clement said she doesn't know how Chancellor Baker will respond to the results of the vote. "If nothing else, it should open dialogue for others to speak up."

She went on to say the employees don't have any expectations for the vote other than to express their opinion and send the message for the need for dialogue on the problems they've been experiencing.

Clement said she can't speak specifically about all the concerns, but an underlying problem has been of a financial nature with enrollment being down, and the push by administration to cut back and cut corners in order to compensate.

"New high-paying positions are being established when there are employees there who've worked 15 to 19 years for $25,000 per year and are told there's no money for their advancement or raises," Clement said. "The employees feel the environment has become hostile, and that the college is letting the community down by not meeting their academic and training needs."

As of press time Tuesday, Colagross had not returned calls from the TimesDaily. Likewise representatives for Alabama's two-year college system failed to return calls.


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