Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ben's endorsement: Re-elect Scott Stewart to the Pima Community College governing board

The beginning of my (late) remarks on the upcoming election, this one is more a personal endorsement than any. For as long as I have known Scott Stewart--almost as long as I have been in Tucson--I have known him to be a man of integrity and not only a capable intellect but someone with enough concern for propriety and realities of the day to be said to exhibit wisdom.

He has his detractors (*cough* glibertarians... *cough*) but the worst they say about him is that he is not a reactionary or ideologue, that he takes this "public servant" stuff seriously and is acting to better Pima College and the community rather than to further some outside agenda. So self-absorbed and overcertain of their small beliefs are his detractors that they do not realize that to normal people what they are saying would be a serious compliment!

Beyond that, just consider what Scott Stewart himself has wrote of his service on the PCC Governing Board:
My Record (Scott Stewart)

When I was first elected my primary intention was to keep the college effective and affordable for both students and taxpayers. I also was interested in exporting Pima's strengths to other institutions. The reason this was a priority was (and it still is!) Pima's fastest growing market share was remedial education for recent high school graduates.

I have never governed as a partisan. Instead, I work hard and study the College and the choices before it. Some of our main choices relate to where our students come from and where they go next, either transferring to a 4-year university or going directly to work. I believe my study has allowed me to make the best judgments possible regarding such choices.

In my time on the Board, I've personally worked to attract students from alternative venues such as charter and private schools and home-schooling. I have ensured Pima remains friendly to such students. We have reached out as well to these institutions and associations to help them solve their student challenges. I've also successfully pushed partnerships so our graduates can afford further education beyond Pima. The College now offers several of these.

During my years on the Board, I've helped Pima make the following improvements:

· More transparency - our “metrics” are now posted on the PCC website

· Moved our Aviation Technology Program to a site on the airport grounds to qualify for FAA Certification in more areas

· Increased the staff workweek from 37.5 to 40 hours

· Moved staff closer to a “Pay for Performance” plan, rather than simply basing their pay on time employed

· Improved pay dramatically for the high-demand nursing faculty

· Ensured that Pima listens to local employers so we can learn what is needed and wanted from our graduates

· Ensured the College works with local high schools, charter schools, private schools, and home school associations to know how their students do on our placement exams.

· Reduced opportunities for identity theft by insisting that Pima not use Social Security Numbers as a student ID

Obviously, I'm proud to have successfully worked on all of the above. I would appreciate your support to continue my work.

There's nothing in there not to like, and to the best of my knowledge no serious omission of any reason to not support the man, either. I give the re-election of Scott Stewart my wholehearted endorsement.

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