Trustees consider changes to dining service
TORRINGTON – The Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) Board of Trustees convened for its September meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
President Dr. Jeffry Hawes was present with trustee members Chairman Robert Baumgartner, Randy Adams, Kurt Sittner, Jackie Van Mark, Doug Mercer, Rick Vonburg and Katherine Patrick. Converse County advisory member Jim Willox was also present.
The request for Sodexo to provide management solutions for EWC’s auxiliary services was presented to the board by Sodexo representatives and Hawes during the work session.
Sodexo is a company that does on-site services of food and facilities management for different organizations like colleges, school districts and hospitals.
The trustees were presented with an example model of what Sodexo could look like for the college.
“This just shows an area where Sodexo can demonstrate what their modeling can do not just in an outsourcing fashion, but also take a look at a variety management service,” Hawes told the board. “We did a lot of internal conversations with leadership last year about new leadership structures. We continue to have conversations about how we actually look at doing things differently when it comes to food service.”
Through these conversations, the board voiced their concerns about providing more options for student dining, including weekend options and holiday breaks, along with other alternatives.
“We came up with a program that we really think will do well in eastern Wyoming,” Sodexo representative Jason Rosvall said. The program’s focus is on three main things, partnership, program and management.
Rosvall said with the dining service, the company would focus on improving the experience for the students. They would bring in new tech that can grow with the college and provide a better experience for students.
Sodexo is looking at providing management for custodian services also. According to the presentation by Sodexo, the college would decide exactly how the college would like to do the transition. During the transition period, the employees in these services will transition to Sodexo employees. At the time of transition, the company will honor wages, PTO, benefits will be active and provide employee resources.
“If the college is interested, [I will send a letter of intent] and the board will get full blown proposals for Sodexo,” Hawes said. “They will put our actual numbers into the proposal.”
This will give the board an actual view of the full cost of the services and everything Sodexo will be able to provide the college. If the board decides to go with Sodexo, the transition has to be done in no less than 90 days, with the official transition set to happen during student Christmas or summer breaks.
The board approved of Hawes writing a letter of intent to the company.
The trustees discussed changes to policy 1.1 dealing with board purpose and operations. The main change to this policy was to allow the advisory member to attend executive sessions at the discretion of the college board.
This potential change motivated a lot of conversation and debate between the board’s members.
“I do not think that this is a good idea; I would encourage the board to stay with the original language,” Van Mark said. “My concern is that, though I greatly appreciate my colleague [Willox] and have appreciated his language, experience and advice for many years, he’s not an elected official of this board.”
“We are all voted by the taxpayers of Goshen County and state statute says; that’s our job,” she continued. “It’s one thing to have information provided in an executive session and then ask an individual to leave, but it’s another to have discussions.”
A major concern is whether the advisory member is bound by the same oaths and rules to not disclose topics or details discussed in executive sessions.
While they know and trust Willox, this change is not specifically for him alone. It is for his position, and it is unknown who that person would be or how they will handle private information.
After much debate, the board unanimously denied the motion to approve the first reading for board policy 1.1. However, it was said they would revisit the issue with further explanation and/or possible changes to the proposed policy from council.
The board also approved to have Hawes sign the financial assistance award for the EDA Grant for the Douglas campus expansion project. In preparation for the project, the college will prepare the RFP for the development of the architectural/ engineering prints.
Willox suggested it may be possible to request prints from the original architect who did the campus, since prints should already have been made with the expansion in mind. However, several members of the board felt it was necessary to let to project go to bid to ensure legality and good rates.
“In my dream, we are going to move ground in March and April, right after the legislature ends,” Willox said. “That is doable by the people I’ve talked to, impressive, but doable.”
HelioCampus was approved by the board as a data management solution for assessment and accreditation for EWC. The budget for this program is not to exceed $50,000.
During his presidential report, Hawes explained that this software will help the college organize and use its institutional data. This type of software will help the college be more prepared for the upcoming accreditation visits.
The board approved the public hearing for the final budget for fiscal year 2023 to be held Sept. 29. The meeting will be held in the Dolores Kaufman board room.
Kwin Wilkes, vice president of administrative services, explained that the public hearing process had already been done, but there were two unrecorded expenditures that came up afterward. In order to follow regulations, he will go back through the process again to present these additions to the budget. After the public hearing, the final budget will come back in front of the trustees.
The board approved the design and equipment to implement phase one of a three-phase process to repair the sound system in the fine arts auditorium. The amount of this repair is not to exceed $50,000.
The trustees approved an increase to the HLC accreditation budget by $50,000. The funds will be budgeted from the $1.2 million in new spending approved in fiscal year 2024.
The board approved the extension to the Dynamic Campus contract by 750 hours, pending legal review and scope of work clarification. This extension is not to exceed $112,000.
The board approved the final reading for policies 1.11, 1.12, 2.16, 4.3, 5.0, 5.7, 5.8, 5.11, 5.13, 5.14, 5.15, 5.16 and 5.17. The changes to these policies are minor language changes. They do not change the intent of any of the policies.
During the meeting, the board received program reviews from Glen Morovits and Margaret Farley for the gunsmithing program and Dr. Monica Teichert for the associate degree in nursing.
During the president’s report, Hawes announced two upcoming events at the college.
On Thursday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m., author Peter E. Sabella will be presenting in the fine arts auditorium. Sabella is a Palestinian Christian author and speaker from Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 5 to 8 p.m., the college will host a Bands on Campus to continue the 75th Anniversary Celebration. Everyone is invited. The celebration will feature live music, games and food trucks.
The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 5:45 p.m. The agendas, minutes, and recordings of meetings can be viewed at https://ewc.wy.edu/about-eastern-wyoming-college/presidentscabinet/board-of-trustees/board-agendas-minutes/.