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Column: Gateway Foundation Chair Supports Hughes, Criticizes Board Chair

This op-ed is written by Lee Flischel, chairman of the Gateway Foundation board, the fundraising arm of Gateway Community & Technical College. It is in response to an article published at The River City News on Monday, Hughes Gets New Contract, Some Gateway Board Members Unhappy. The Gateway Board of Directors and the Gateway Foundation Board are separate entities.
 
Credibility and the ability to lead effectively are based on honesty and integrity, not personal agendas. In my opinion both Ms. Debbie Simpson, the outgoing chair of the chamber of commerce, and Dr. Ed Hughes, the President and CEO of Gateway Community and Technical College are effective, credible leaders with impeccable qualifications to lead.
 
On the other hand, it seems a bit disingenuous for people to complain about how Dr. Hughes' contract became public in light of the unilateral decision by Mr. Groob to cancel the regularly scheduled board meeting without consulting with his president. Had the meeting taken place, it’s entirely possible that the subject would have come up and the board members would have been informed during the normal course of business.
 
Clearly Mr. Groob's actions call into serious question his motives for being on the board and serving as the chair of an advisory board that is supposed to be about helping the college. It is clear that he has a personal agenda and one that is not good for the college or the community. 
 
How do any of his actions help a single student? Or advance the mission of the college? 
 
If the September board meeting was canceled for personal reasons that's why Mr. Groob has a Vice Chair, the well respected and experienced Mr. Ken Paul, who I expect could easily have run the meeting without missing a beat. 
 
For the record, I have the highest degree of respect for Dr. Hughes and have had the honor of chairing the Gateway Foundation Board for the past eleven years. I have never canceled a board meeting. Additionally, over the past 35 years I have attended and/or chaired well over 250 board meetings for various entities, including TANK, Tri-ED and the Chamber of Commerce, and have never had a board meeting canceled. I did have to suspend one for my former company on the morning of September 11, 2001 but only because everyone had to evacuate the tall building we were in due to terrorist concerns.
 
Leadership is not always easy but it can be rewarding when the proper skills and one’s personal qualities are employed wisely and objectively. Hopefully, Mr. Groob will set aside his personal agenda, work diligently, honestly and most importantly openly with Dr. Hughes to improve their relationship and provide the needed leadership for his advisory board so the students and the community will benefit from his tenure.
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
Lee Flischel, Chairman, Gateway Community and Technical College Foundation
 
Photo: Flischel (right) joins Hughes (left) and Bank of Kentucky's Bob Zapp for a photo op following a donation from the bank/Provided