An open letter

Published 2:50 pm Friday, April 23, 2010

On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and the citizens of Decatur County, I write to express sincere and genuine concern about the composition of the Presidential Search Committee for Bainbridge College.

Prior to the establishment of Bainbridge College, the citizens of Decatur County were asked to participate in a referendum vote indicating their interest in having a junior college unit of the University System of Georgia located within the county. The positive response of the citizens resulted in the establishment of a local committee composed of citizens and government officials whose mission was to work with the Board of Regents in developing a plan which led to the chartering of Bainbridge College in 1970.

Throughout the prehistory and history of Bainbridge College, there has been tremendous support from the Board of Commissioners and citizens from throughout the entire county. This support has been in the form of monetary contributions and volunteer support. In fact, the last monetary contribution from the Board of Commissioners was $400,000 toward the construction of the Kirbo Center.

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Yet, when the Presidential Search Committee was announced, there were only three persons named to the committee who are not faculty, staff or student members of the Bainbridge College family. That all three of these persons are associated with the government of the City of Bainbridge, the mayor and two members of the city council, created much dismay and disbelief.

Of the six members of the Board of Commissioners, one has a medical degree and has long been active in community services. A second member has a doctorate in education and has served as school superintendent of Decatur County and Glynn County. A third member has a Ph.D. in mathematics, for 24 years served as a faculty member in the University System and holds the rank of Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of West Georgia.

A fourth member of the board is a graduate of a system junior college and had extensive experience in administrative positions with the Florida Department of Corrections. A fifth member worked as a certified forester and for many years directed the International Paper research facility in the county. The sixth member has more than 30 years experience as a business owner in Bainbridge, has long been an active financial supporter of various community projects and is a past chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce.

Each member of the Board of Commissioners has a tremendous wealth of business, professional and life experiences, which would make him a good member of the Search Committee.

Numerous nongovernmental citizens of Decatur County have life experiences and strengths, which would make them excellent members of the Search Committee. These people are active participants in the Chamber of Commerce, civic organizations, industries, agribusiness and various professional organizations.

Whatever the reason, the decision was made to have all the non-college members of the Search Committee be from the City of Bainbridge government. I respectfully urge you, and the other members of the Board of Regents, to be considerate of all segments of government and citizens in any future search committees in Decatur County and other locations throughout Georgia.

Sincerely,Earl Perry, Ph.D.Certified County CommissionerCertified Commissioner Advanced Program graduateChairman