By Nathan J King
Tempe, Ariz.

Maricopa County Community Colleges Governing Board President, Ms. Colleen M. Clark “steps down” from a rocky and controversial term of 2006- August 24, 2010. Clarks resignation is the result of “Economic realities require that I maintain full-time employment” wrote Clark in an August 24, 2010 e-mail addressed to the ‘Citizens of Maricopa County.’

Colleens Legacy

Clarks first claim to fame, then only 26 years old, hit the back pages of the Arizona Republic on Friday, September 11, 2009. The article written by Alex Bloom, on page B3 of VALLEY & STATE, indicated that Board member Deborah Pearson contacted the press via e-mail calling for the Presidents resignation, earlier that Wednesday.

Later it would come to light in an article posted online by the Phoenix New Times where Clark was satirized as a lush drunk driver during a routine traffic stop. Indeed Clark had withheld knowledge of her DUI charge from her fellow board members, over a 2 month period from July 11- September 8.

Clark was arrested in Old Town Scottsdale after blood-alcohol tests concluded she was operating at 0.204 BAC (blood-alcohol content). Mesa Legend reporters M. Obbards and J. Smith reported Clark had released to them in an interview that she had let this time expire due to finding “an attorney and figure out what I was going to do,“ said Clark. Though it was not because of this incident that Clark was being asked to resign.

Although the DUI provided an adequate smokescreen for Clark whose resignation offered by Pearson within a day that Clark announced her arrest to her piers and public September 8, during a board meeting.

Clarks resignation was being questioned in lewd of heading the spending of “$1.143 million to hire Alvarez & Marsal [A&M], a crisis consulting firm,” wrote Pearson on her Solutions blog, posted Tuesday July 28, 2009,” since 2004 the district has contracted with outside consultants on 15 occasions-$68,000 a week to do what we as a Governing Board can and should be doing.”

As a result of Clarks actions proposing and later contracting A&M , Art Decabooter, Maricopa’s liaison to Maricopa County Community Colleges Governing Board Chancellor Rufus Glasper, posted an email sent to faculty members that stated “In May 2009, the Higher Learning Commission [HLC], the organization that is responsible for accrediting colleges in the region that includes Ariz., received an anonymous letter from Maricopa employee’s. In the letter, the writer said,” We believe our Governing Board is overstepping their role. They are acting as a chief operating officer and ignoring the shared governance structure.”

This was not the first time that Anonymous contacted the Governing Board. July 23, 2009 Anonymous posts,” To even consider hiring a group who specializes in crisis companies is a slap in the face… MCCCD has been and continues to be a leader in the country for innovation and initiative- not a crippled company like Lehman Bothers… A&M’s documented failure to improve St. Louis public schools– causing financial problems and accreditation issues, does not promote confidence that they have the skills necessary to analyze MCCCD.”

The real question is if Colleen offered A&M a friends with benefits proposal (possibly a 1 million dollar contract for a fulltime job), and what is Colleens full-time job? If you know please leave a comment. Photography by Andreanna Sullivan

In the November 2009 issue of Puma Press J. Berry reported that Clark had stated via a July 29 email that “This is an opportunity for us to identify what we do well, maximize those programs, processes and services and then improve upon the areas that may not be giving our students and improve upon the areas that may not be giving our students the best chances to succeed,” in regard to A&M currently listed at the top of Clarks employment history from June, 2008 to Present: A&M Partnership, as Project Manager, among other employment occupancies.

Clark has also been employed from April, 2008 to Present as the East Valley Bible Church, Women’s Ministry Coordinator. In the August 24, 2010 email Clark noted to her community that “I am proud of the work accomplished, including the 21st Century Maricopa Effectiveness and Efficiency Review (A&M), improved transfer opportunities for students, and strengthened external partnerships.”

What Happens Next?