Western Board Approves Rules for Trustee Communications

Western Board Approves Rules for Trustee Communications

SweetwaterNOW file photo

ROCK SPRINGS — The Western Wyoming Community College Board of Trustees approved a measure at their May 11 meeting to ensure that there are no violations of the open meetings act.

The focus of the agreement revolved around avoidance of a quorum of trustees communicating with each other by electronic means.

The opening paragraph of the measure states in part: “The board adheres to the letter and the intent of the Wyoming Public Meetings Act and stipulates that no meeting shall be conducted by electronic means or any other form of communication that does not permit the public to hear, read or otherwise discern meeting discussion contemporaneously.”

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Later, the measure adds the following: “Trustees may use electronic communications to send messages or forward information to each other on an individual basis but should avoid sending these communications to the entire board to avoid violation of the Wyoming Public Meetings Act…Trustees should not discuss College business in a ‘chat room’ or ‘group text’ setting unless there are no more than three trustees involved in the discussion. Trustees are prohibited from discussing substantive matters by email or from using email to interactively communicate among themselves concerning College business. In order to avoid the appearance of a violation of the Wyoming Public Meetings Act, trustees should refrain from using the ‘reply to all’ function. Use of this function could create the potential for a conversation among trustees.”

The measure was put forward by board President James Jessen and was passed unanimously with only brief discussion. The wording of the Board Electronic Communications measure had been discussed at length during the board’s April meeting.

The board agreed to postpone a second reading of proposed changes to Policy 7610A concerning Board- Staff Communications. The proposed changes to the policy created extensive debate among the trustees at the April meeting, with Trustee Neil Kourbelas expressing concerns that college employees should have the option, if they feel the need, to approach trustees directly regarding an issue or problem, rather than feel that they have to go through chain-of-command channels first.

Manufacturing and Industrial Technology

Instructor Carlton DeWick from the School of Manufacturing and Industrial Technology presented the Board with the department’s annual report. DeWick had special praise for Powerline Technology Instructor Lance Caldwell, who is completing his first year and has been “phenomenal”. Seven students have completed all POLT Core Courses.

“When you only have seven students, you really develop a relationship with them,” DeWick said regarding Caldwell’s performance, “and they develop a relationship with each other.”

A coincident 23 students have applied for the POLT program for fall ’23. DeWick likewise praised Plant Operations Instructor Derek Jacobsen who is also completing his first year and has been exceptional.

DeWick added that the Oil and Gas building will be used as the temporary Powerline Technology Program classroom and lab. Caldwell has been assembling the contents. Currently, the following faculty positions remain unfilled within the M.I.T.program: full-time industrial maintenance instructor, adjunct welding instructor, and fiberoptic/electrical instructor.

The M.I.T. program recently awarded $17,000 in scholarships following a high school welding competition. Among the new equipment purchased for the M.I.T. Program were a D4 Caterpillar dozer and a Low-boy Trailer, both for the Diesel Program.

“It’s been a really good year for M.I.T.,” DeWick declared.

Web Governance

Director of Marketing Kim Rembacz appeared before the Board to discuss proposed changes to Policy 2110A, regarding Web Governance. The proposed changes to the policy underwent a first reading. Among the several proposed changes is a stipulation that the policy will be maintained and administered by the “Marketing and Information Technology Services offices,” rather than by the “Office of Marketing and Communication”.

The proposed changes go on to stipulate that “’The Marketing office’ will maintain and publish institutional standards, guidelines, and best practices that further define the Web Governance Policy. These living documents will be revisited and revised on a frequent basis so that they may be adapted to the ever-changing experiences and web content requirements of the Western community.”

A key proposed change to Policy 2110A deletes the word “Online” and replaces it with “Digital” Content, and goes on to state that this wording refers to “Any information or service that may be accessed via a web browser on any electronic device, including—but limited to—internet websites, images, audio, video, search engines and locally or remotely hosted (e.g., “cloud”) software systems.” The word “on” in the second line replaces a second reference to “via”.