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Luna board erred

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By Optic Editorial Board

There’s an old saying that actions speak louder than words, and that’s certainly the case with Luna Community College’s Board of Trustees.

The board voted last week to ease its nepotism rules, which, to some degree, is understandable given how strict they had been. The previous policy prohibited the college from hiring in any capacity a person related to a current board member, administrator or employee of the college.

We can see the argument that the policy was too restrictive, particularly in places like Las Vegas and the other communities where Luna has a presence.

But for the board to approve the least restrictive policy presented to them, one that specifically exempts each of the trustees from the policy, is outrageous and inexcusable, and it speaks volumes about what the board’s true intentions are.

The new policy prohibits the president from hiring his or her immediate relatives, which is a good thing. But then the policy goes on to state, “This nepotism rule does not apply to members of the Board of Trustees because the hiring responsibilities have delegated to the president.”

That’s complete and utter bunk. Trustees may not be hiring employees directly, but the mere fact that they control the fate of the president — the person who does make hiring decisions — gives them the leverage they need to get their way and effect the hiring of their relatives.

It’s a sad day for Luna Community College.

Yes, the new policy requires the president to disclose publicly when a trustee’s family member has been hired. But that’s not enough.

Here’s the unfortunate thing: The minute the college hires a trustee’s family member, the perception is going to be that the individual got the job because of his or her connections, and that will be the case even if the individual was the most qualified person for the job. That’s not good for morale at the school or for the community’s confidence in Luna.

Worse yet, Friday’s vote leaves the perception that Luna board members are merely in it for themselves and to see to it that their family members make a buck or two. And to be perfectly blunt, that assessment probably isn’t too far off from the truth.

It’s unfortunate that no board member had the courage to stand up and say that this new policy is wrong. The trustees have done nothing short of jeopardizing Luna’s credibility, and all so that their relatives can tap into jobs at the school.

What a shame.