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LCCC board imposes ethical standards

High standards for trustees put in writing to build public trust.

NANTICOKE – Mahmoud Fahmy believes he and his fellow Luzerne County Community College board members should be held to a higher standard, so he developed a code of conduct policy.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the policy during last week’s board meeting at the main campus.

The board adopted new bidding and contract-awarding procedures in June to ensure all contracts would be approved by the full board.

The new procedures were adopted a few weeks after it was discovered that Precept Associates was hired in May 2007 to serve as a construction manager for the college’s master plan projects.

One of the college committees approved the contract, but it was never revealed to the entire board that Precept would be hired.

Fahmy said he believed it is important for the board to conduct its business in an honest and open way, so the public does not think the college or board members are trying to hide anything.

“I would like the whole community to know that this is the purpose for us to be on the board of trustees. We don’t have any other motives other than to promote this college and service to its students,” Fahmy said.

Drawing on his years of experience from serving on other boards, committees and as a professor, Fahmy said he wrote the conduct policy to serve as an introduction and welcome mechanism for the five individuals who joined the board in June.

“I have no doubt that each member of this board has the dignity, integrity, honesty and ethics. But I feel that this will be reminding them of what is our responsibility,” Fahmy said.

Board trustee Elaine Curry began serving on the board when Patricia Donohue was LCCC president. Curry said that as long as she’s been on the board they’ve never adopted a conduct policy, but she supports this one.

“In order to have an ethical school, you need to have an ethical board. I believe that high ethical standards must start at the board and I think it will trickle down,” Curry said Wednesday afternoon.

Code of Conduct

• Attend and prepare adequately for trustees meetings.

• Commit and actively participate in decision-making.

• Support the mission, purpose and goals of Luzerne County Community College.

• Identify and avoid areas of potential conflict of interest.

• Maintain confidentiality of privileged information.

• Support and when necessary clarify or explain the Board of Trustees’ positions on issues.

• Agree that board chairman or vice chairman serves as the official spokesperson for the board

• Refrain from representing one’s self as speaking for the Board of Trustees.

• Refrain from using undue influence to affect any program, position, purchase or service of the college.

• Work harmoniously with other trustees regardless of differences of opinion to encourage productive dialogue in open discussion, respecting the opinion of all trustees.

• Honor the division of responsibility between the board and the college president and staff.

• Refrain from making demands on staff unless directed by the board.

• Request only authorized and legitimate reimbursement of expenses.

• Engage as a trustee the ongoing process of professional development and continuous personal improvement.

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