The Luna Community College Board of Trustees once again plans to hold a meeting outside the school’s service area — away from the public it represents.
The trustees had planned to hold a two-day training at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Albuquerque this last weekend, but it was postponed. The school hasn’t rescheduled the event yet.
It costs $200 for a room at the Hyatt, although Luna may be able to get a bulk rate. The average single room is more than double that of the rate of $89 at Las Vegas’ Plaza Hotel.
The board’s training will be open to the public, but it will take around two hours for Las Vegas residents to get there, not to mention the cost of gasoline.
Last month, the board held its regular meeting in Santa Fe because the president, Pete Campos, also a state senator, was in a state legislative session. Like Albuquerque, Santa Fe is out of Luna’s service area, which includes Las Vegas, Santa Rosa, Mora, Wagon Mound and Springer.
With the exception of Trustee Abelino Montoya, the other board members couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday about their plans for the training at the Hyatt.
Montoya said the training would be a “big benefit” to Luna, but he wouldn’t describe what it was about, saying the Optic twists his words. He referred further questions to President Pete Campos.
Campos said the training organization, Pacific Institute, recommended that the board meet out of the service area. He said he understands the importance of keeping business local and that he welcomes the public to monitor Luna to make sure it achieves that goal.
Joe Dennis of the Seattle-based Pacific Institute said his organization provides training on the premise that human beings have unlimited potential, he said.
“The goal is to release people’s potential so an organization can rise to new levels,” he said.
Dennis, who is based in Santa Fe, said he would be facilitating the training and that he recommended the board meet outside of its normal surroundings.
“We try to create an environment where people are focused on their education,” he said.
Dennis noted that more than 130 Luna employees had already undergone the Pacific Institute training. The employees’ training sessions were held at Highlands, so they could get away from their usual environment, he said.
Not everyone believes that the training should be held at the Hyatt in Albuquerque.
Harry Anderson, a business adjunct professor at Luna, questioned why the board couldn’t meet in a conference room at Luna or somewhere else in the area.
“There are plenty of facilities in the area where the board wouldn’t be interrupted,” he said.
Andersen said that by meeting out of the service area, the board is showing a lack of respect for the public.
“It (the meeting) is a burden to everyone but them,” he said.
Leith Johnson, a longtime government watchdog, agreed, calling the planned meeting in Albuquerque “ridiculous.”
“There are plenty of places here to have a training. When an organization schedules something like that as far as Albuquerque, that means to me they don’t want the public there,” she said.
Alex Aragon, a member of the local watchdog group Committee for the People, questioned why the board couldn’t hold its training session at Highlands as Luna did with employees.
“Why do the taxpayers have to pay this exorbitant amount of money?” Aragon asked.
However, Kim Delgado, another watchdog and a member of the Optic’s editorial board, said she is fine with the out-of-town training as long as it’s not a regular event.
“Sometimes it’s nice to get out of Dodge,” she said. “I wouldn’t object to them holding it out of town, but not very often. You have a pleasurable time at the same time you’re doing business.”