Well, well now, ask and ye shall received.
Just yesterday I wrote that the taxpayers and voters of Benton County deserved to know the reasons why Marty Parsons the Chief Financial Officer and vice president of administrative affairs at the Northwest Arkansas Community College, was unceremoniously canned from his job.
And today, PRESTO!, there’s a news story quoting college President Becky Paneitz, as well as a memo the college kindly provided from Parson’s personnel file that makes him sound like some kind of egoistic ogre behind a desk. I don’t know if that’s true or not. The memo says Parsons was counsled and warned on multiple occasions on all form of alleged behaviorial issues ranging from “insubordination” to providing a late budget for the board in June and daring to seek FOIA information from the state’s atorney general against Paneitz’s directive not to do so.
He was in effect placed on a probationary period. And according to Paneitz who administers all firings of the administrators at NWACC, he failed that test and was fired.
What the news account sounded like to me is that Parsons was intent on performing the CFO responsibilities in the way he perceived was correct, including seeking advice about openness from the attorney general, and he wound up on the president’s “Not My Favorites ” list of top level employees.
I also found it peculiar that two board members were complimentary of Parson’s work, one even saying he had shed light on financial dealings that needed shedding. But, as one noted, Paneitz does the firing and the board goes long with her.
So while I know some information has been released by the president’s office that makes Parsons appear inept and insubordinate, I still feel like I’m in the dark on the backstory to this higher ed brouhaha in Benton County. There are plenty of questions yet to be answered in the public interest: Why did Parsons feel compelled to seek out the attorney general in matters of transparency? Why was the budget delayed until June? In short, was was bugging Parsons enough to obviously make him such a pesky pest to Paneitz when some board members believed his work on behalf of NWACC was just fine?