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EGCC leader cashes out in outrageous deal

In an outrageous agreement with Eastern Gateway Community College, outgoing president Jimmie Bruce will collect his full, $250,000 annual salary through June 30, 2021, plus many other lucrative benefits.

Bruce this week announced his resignation, effective June 30, although he already has been on administrative leave since mid-January. That’s when college trustees voted to terminate his employment “due to dereliction of duty and inappropriate management practices.”

At that time EGCC board Chairman James Gasior criticized Bruce for a “lack of leadership, particularly over the last five months.” Gasior accused him of failing to be “fully engaged with his cabinet, members of the board and … our business partners.” He also claimed Bruce had failed to respond to requests for information and had left key administrative positions vacant.

Bruce first came in 2015 to the community college that is based in Steubenville and has a growing Youngstown campus.

In August, Bruce survived a no-confidence vote by college faculty. Although details behind that vote were never revealed, faculty sources who didn’t wish to be identified said they’d compiled “a list of concerns and grievance-worthy items” to present to the board, along with the vote results.

In the days following his January termination, Gasior released a statement calling the situation “regrettable, but necessary, to restore confidence in the leadership of Eastern Gateway Community College and to continue the growth” on campus and online.

At that time, Gasior acknowledged that “contractual aspects of the termination” still needed to be worked out.

This week, we learned what outrageous terms the two sides agreed upon.

As part of the deal, Bruce was allowed to begin a 90-day professional development leave on March 31. He’ll receive full medical, dental and vision insurance benefits through the end of his separation period, along with $5,000 per year in his deferred compensation fund, a pre-tax benefit. The agreement also includes a non-disparagement clause and would be moot if he were to secure comparable employment.

Additionally questionable is the one-page statement that was drafted by lawyers and released by EGCC as part of the settlement agreement. It painted a glowing picture of Bruce’s five-year tenure, characterizing it as “a period of significant change and development.”

Really? This comes after the faculty showed no confidence in his leadership and the board voted to begin termination proceedings “due to dereliction of duty and inappropriate management practices.”

As a public institution of higher learning, EGCC should be sending messages to its students about the importance of hard work and ethics.

We believe this public display allowing Bruce to “cash out” from the publicly funded community college after being criticized by the faculty and board of directors for his performance teaches a very different lesson.

editorial@tribtoday.com

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