OPINION COLUMNS

Change in leadership offers fresh start

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017
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Weatherford College Board Chairman Frank Martin lost his bid for re-election May 6, and just five days later WC President Kevin Eaton announced he was stepping down.

If you’re not sure what this means for Wise County, let me assure you, it’s a good thing.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

The relationship between local county officials and Weatherford College administration and board members has been rocky at best in recent years and downright contentious the last two.

A pompous duo, Martin and Eaton led the anti-Wise County charge and at times seemed bent on ruining the campus just to spite County Judge J.D. Clark and others.

While I’ll refrain from speculating what their next move might have been had they retained power, it’s obvious their egos had overwhelmed logical thought and eliminated any compassion and appreciation for the students and staff at WCWC.

Of course, they would argue just the opposite, but as the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.”

In the same week their reign unraveled, the Senate gave its OK to House Bill 2194, which will grant Wise County voting representation on the Weatherford College board.

The bill, originally proposed by Rep. Phil King and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Craig Estes, has been a sore subject for some college board members, leading to heated discussions and multiple secret sessions.

If signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, it, along with the promise of a new president and a fresh perspective on the board, will mark a new era in the relationship between Wise County and Weatherford College.

That’s not to say there won’t be bumps in the road; there will still be points of contention, like indirect costs and held-over hurt feelings.

But hopefully these can now be addressed with a spirit of teamwork and increased transparency. The No. 1 priority for all parties should be the students, and sadly, I think a few leaders at the main campus lost sight of that as they jockeyed for power.

Judge Clark actually spoke Saturday at Weatherford College’s afternoon commencement ceremony, after being invited to do so by Eaton earlier this year, and Brent Baker, the school’s vice president of institutional advancement, told the Weatherford Democrat it was a good opportunity for the college and the judge.

He also noted the college was “ready to work with whomever Wise County sends our way,” allowing the parties to “keep moving down the road and advancing” the Wise County campus.

As an era of strife seems to be coming to a close, the possibilities for WCWC are endless, but everyone involved must be willing to put politics aside, make students a priority and operate with the utmost integrity.

Kristen Tribe is editor of the Messenger.

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