Middlesex CC Staff, Faculty Need Open Communications

February 6, 2019

If a recent Middlesex Community College survey is correct, its president, James Mabry, faces a major bridge-building process if he’s to regain the confidence of his disaffected faculty and staff.

About half of full-time faculty and staff members, 95 of 183, took part in a poll. A majority of responders indicated they don’t have confidence in his ability to effectively lead the institution.

We don’t know the genesis of this apparent rift, though factors may have influenced the unsettling atmosphere at the Lowell and Bedford campuses.

All colleges are facing the challenges that come with declining enrollment, and MCC is no exception. That could mean a reduction in people or programs, which obviously could contribute to the staff’s unease.

A lingering resentment towards Mabry, a former vice president of academic affairs at Mesa Community College in Arizona hired as president in December 2014, could also be a contributing factor.

Many expected Jay Linnehan, a longtime MCC administrator, to be a finalist. Instead, he was ousted as executive vice president a year later.

Board of Trustees Chairman James Campbell noted that MCC was recently ranked the top community college in the state. “There’s a real disconnect here,” Campbell said in response to the negative survey.

That’s the obvious conclusion. Now what to do about it?

Mabry indicated after a recent trustees meeting that he will sit down with union leadership soon to evaluate these concerns.

At some point, it seems, communication broke down between administration and faculty. Perhaps a dose of transparency is all that’s required. If not, maybe those critical observations raised by that survey need answers.

Impressive look at revenue potential of legalized sports gambling in Mass.

Since we’re still in the afterglow of our New England Patriots Super Bowl victory, it would be instructive to see how legalized gambling fared on that event, now that Las Vegas no longer holds a monopoly on professional sports wagering.

Our governor recently proposed legislation to allow professional sports wagering online and at the state’s three licensed casinos. Gov. Charlie Baker’s bill, which also includes daily fantasy sports operators like Boston-based DraftKings, would generate an estimated $35 million in revenue in fiscal 2020.

According to the Associated Press, bettors in three states legally put down almost $185.5 million on Sunday’s Super Bowl. Feeling the competition, Nevada operators experienced their first decrease in the total amount wagered on that game since 2015.

New Jersey accepted about $34.9 million in wagers, while in Mississippi, fans bet around $4.67 million at non-tribal casinos.

Sportsbooks at two casinos and a racetrack in New Jersey took in record amounts, as did DraftKings. Both entities indicated sustaining minor losses, since more bettors, apparently sensing a sure thing, took the 2.5-point favorite Patriots.

This state’s one-day revenue on a New Jersey-sized $35 million pot -- taxed at 10 to 12.5 percent -- would have been a sizable take. And while certainly the exception rather than the rule, it shows the potential for new treasury funds that would be lost to other states.

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