MCCC Faculty Association declares vote of no confidence against Kojo Quartey

President Kojo Quartey (Photo by Megan Kane).

Editor’s note: Due to a source error, Kojo Quartey incorrectly stated the raise percentage for the maintenance staff, which was actually 1.5%. Quartey also clarified to the Agora that the 2% was for professional staff between steps, and the support staff have not received raises this year.

The faculty has no confidence in their president.

“We are concerned about the college, the state of the college, and we are here in support of the vote of no confidence regarding President Kojo Quartey,” said Mark Bergmooser, president of the MCCC Faculty Association.

Bergmooser announced this at the Jan. 23 Board of Trustees meeting.

Despite the Faculty Association making this vote, Bergmooser said this is not related to the ongoing union negotiations.

“They’re interdependent of each other,” he said. “The vote of no confidence has nothing to do with the negotiations, I mean, you may say it’s coincidental, and that would be as far as it would go, but they are independent of each other because the reasons that are listed have nothing to do with negotiations.”

MCCCFA sent the vote of no confidence document with an Unfair Labor Practices document to Kojo Quartey on Jan. 18, 2023. An Unfair Labor Practice is a legal document that states that a college is not negotiating fairly.

The union negotiations began in April 2022, and the faculty’s contract, called the Master Agreement, expired August 2022 but is still in effect as negotiations continue.

“There are so many other things that have gone on here,” Bergmooser said. “For example, just our high turnover rate of employees in the Student Services area. We are concerned about the direction of the college, both of these documents serve as a piece of communication toward the Board of Trustees, other administrators, Kojo himself. He’s president of the college, if anybody has the ability to affect some change, it’s him.”

However, the administration does not agree that the vote of no confidence and the union negotiations are interdependent.

“My experience, in my decades of experience negotiating, it is not unusual to have an Unfair Labor Practice, to have a vote of no confidence, when the negotiations are not going well,” said Linda Torbet, director of Human Resources and lead negotiator for the administration. “It’s not unusual.”

“A vote of no confidence is a negotiation tactic when negotiations become insanely contentious,” President Kojo Quartey said, regarding the vote brought against him. “And this is not the first time it’s happened here, and it’s not the first time it’s happened at any other institution. From all people I’ve talked to, it happens more than you think.”

“They were not making headway as far as the negotiations were concerned, as far as the issues,” Quartey said. “For example, pay, compensation, that we have not agreed on. So, the vote of no confidence essentially compels the administration to then accelerate the process, and perhaps lean more in their direction. But I have to say, we are negotiating fairly with them, and if anybody is on the side of the students, we are.”

“As part of their no confidence vote, they level certain charges which are completely false.” Quartey said.

When asked for an example, Quartey said there were issues prior to his arrival in 2013.

“For example, that prior to my coming in 2013, there had been no issues with accreditation,” he said. “And the fact of the matter is, there were issues with accreditation prior to my arrival. And in 2015, we had a follow up visit, and it was a clean report. No issues whatsoever, under my leadership. So in 2019, we had one where we had a few issues, that was the most recent one. So my disappointment is that they didn’t do their research.”

Quartey said no employees receive special treatment at MCCC, regardless of position.

“I think the big picture we’re not seeing eye to eye on is that there are no privileged employees here, we are equal, we’re all equal,” Quartey said. “The maintenance staff, we negotiated a contract with them very amicably. Linda Torbet was in charge of that. We’re currently negotiating with the support staff. Amicable, respectful conversations are ongoing. And then you have negotiations with the faculty. We have given the maintenance employees two percent in terms of raises, and we’ve done the same for all other employees. Two percent. Why should the faculty be any different?”

Quartey addressed the high turnover of Student Services employees that Bergmooser has mentioned.

“People leave for different reasons. People may leave for financial, people may leave for personal reasons, when they leave a particular area,” Quartey said. “We can’t blame a particular individual for all of that. There’s new leadership, certainly there’s new leadership in that Student Services area, and when new leadership comes, sometimes there is change. And so that’s what’s happening in that particular area.”

Despite the turnover rate, Quartey said he is optimistic about the future the Student Services department holds.

“The high turnover rate certainly is a concern for me in that area,” he said. “But with those turnovers come additional opportunities for us to hire individuals who are more on track and are more likely to work with the institution, and change the way that we’ve been doing business in that area.”

“There may have been one or two that were unhappy with the direction things were going, certainly that happens at any institution, any organization where you have new leadership in that particular area,” he said. “So we’ve taken some steps to ensure that we can better retain individuals in that area.”

Mark Bergmooser disagreed with Quartey’s statements.

If there were issues prior to President Quartey’s arrival on campus,” Bergmooser said, regarding Quartey’s statement that there had been issues with accreditation prior to his time in office. “What does that have to do with the fact that there are issues now?”

Bergmooser provided the Agora with a portion of the draft of the vote of no confidence document, which contradicts Quartey’s statement that the document claimed there were no issues prior to 2013.

“The Reaffirmation Review required follow-up visits not mandated prior to 2013, when Quartey became president.” According to the document.

Regarding Quartey’s statement that all employees at MCCC are equal, Bergmooser said that is false.

“What does he mean by equal? Do we all have the equal amount of education to do our jobs? The same equal amount of training?” Bergmooser said. “Don’t hire me to fix a plumbing issue when there are things here that the maintenance needs to fix. Don’t hire me to operate or enroll students into courses when certain student service faculty do that. Don’t hire me to balance the budget ,when there might be a vice president or another administrator hired to do that job.”

“We all have different degrees related to our level of training,” he said. “So this claim that we are all equal is a false claim.”

Bergmooser said employees are not equal in terms of compensation.

“If we are, then I would like that equality to come from the top down,” he said. “As it should with good, effective leadership.”

“But where we can all be equal on,” he said. “Is in terms of how people are treated in a climate.”

Bergmooser said there is nothing in the vote of no confidence about compensation.