Changes coming to LCC board; Laverty retiring, Meyer running

By Kyle Melinn

If you've been waiting for the next volume of "Lansing Community College Board of Trustees Saga" to drop these last two years, youve been sorely disappointed.

Ever since voters swept into office the Jerry Hollister/ Edward Woods III/Deborah Canja slate in 2007, the antics of the LCC board have vanished from the headlines and the seemingly disagreeable board has appeared (publicly at least) to be more agreeable.

As opposed to treating the board as a Single A political league, members have taken pettiness off the agenda, as was evident by the unanimous decision to offer Brent Knight a contract to be the colleges sixth president. Before that vote, six of the seven members liked Knight more than the other two finalists. The one dissenter liked Knight second best.

Now, one of those blamed for the 2006 forced ousting of former LCC President Paula Cunningham is not running for another term. Trustee Chris Laverty, the public lightning rod for the Cunningham sweeping, opted not to file for re-election by Tuesdays filing deadline. His term expires at the end of the year.

Laverty is the only incumbent not seeking reelection this fall, when three board seats will be on the ballot. Canja, who chairs the board, is seeking reelection (she was elected in 2007 to fill an unexpired term), as is Trustee Robert Proctor, a local attorney and administrative law judge.

Laverty said hes going to miss serving on the board, but that health concerns and new responsibilities at his job, which requires him to drive to Wixom every day, have caused him to take a step back, despite the urging of some within the college.

"Its been rewarding helping educate and train people for new jobs in the new economy," he said. "Im going to miss it."

One familiar face who wants back into the local political scene is former Lansing City Council President Larry Meyer, who was among the seven candidates who filed to run for the board by Tuesdays deadline.

Meyer said he sees community colleges as being "the hope for Michigans recovery and growth" in that it gives people with limited means the ability to get the skills they need in the new economy.

Meyer was first elected to the City Council in 1995. He left in 2005 after two terms.

"I think highly of the institution and I want to be part of it," Meyer said.

Interestingly, one of the local scribes who covered the LCC controversy extensively in 2006, former City Pulse managing editor Thomas Morgan, is stepping into the political ring. Morgan read through four years of LCC Board of Trustees minutes before writing an extensive cover story on the then-saga in the early months of that year.

Now a political consultant for Byrum Fisk Advocacy Communications, Morgan, 29, said hes eager to take his first leap into an elected position.

"I was the first person in my family to attend college, and that was only possible because of the low costs and high educational standards offered by community colleges," Morgan said. "Im running because I want to do everything I can to help open the doors of education to others throughout Greater Lansing. Lansing Community College will play a critical role in rebuilding our economy and preparing students for the job market, and as a trustee I will fight every day to ensure every person in Mid-Michigan has access to an affordable, quality education."

Laverty said hes encouraging Proctor and Lawrence Hidalgo in the 09 race. Hidalgo, who has ties to the electrical workers union and is an attorney, ran unsuccessfully in 2007. Other candidates include Brandon Currin of Mason and Deo Wells of Dimondale. The candidates have until Friday to remove their names from the ballot.

(Kyle Melinn is the editor at the MIRS newsletter. His column runs weekly. Write him at melinn@lansingcitypulse. com.)

Because of a reporting error, Kyle Melinn's column last week on board candidates for Lansing Community College incorrectly reported when Larry Meyer completed his second term on the Lansing City Council, which was 2005.