Montgomery College Votes 'No Confidence' in President

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 28, 2009

Montgomery College faculty members Thursday evening approved a no-confidence resolution on President Brian K. Johnson, amid mounting concern that he has steered Maryland's largest community college off course during his two-year tenure.

About 250 full-time faculty members attended the closed meeting in Rockville, and 93 percent voted to affirm the resolution, said Rose Sachs, president of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

A letter sent to college trustees by faculty governance groups over the summer alleged that Johnson, 52, has tarnished the school's strong reputation among the nation's community colleges. The letter asked trustees to place the president on leave and investigate his activities.

Trustees have scheduled a closed meeting for next Thursday to discuss the matter. "Ultimately, the most important thing is the institution," said Michael C. Lin of Potomac, who chairs the board of trustees.

Johnson said in a statement: "Montgomery College is a public institution with policies and checks and balances for every employee. The president is no different." In an interview Thursday morning on the school's Silver Spring satellite campus, he said he believed that the college was "on a very good trajectory," with record fall enrollment of 25,000 credit-earning students and a strong pipeline to four-year colleges.

The faculty members said in the letter that Johnson "has habitually failed to attend meetings" and ceremonial events, snubbing the likes of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and County Executive Isiah Leggett (D); that he sometimes leaves his office "for a day or several days" without explanation; and that he has spent excessive amounts on limousines, drivers, hotels and airfare.

They said that he has unleashed "explosive, targeted rage" on employees and that covert listening devices and cameras had been found in some offices and meeting rooms. The letter cited "sudden and unexplained departures by well-respected and key College leaders."

Johnson came to Montgomery College in February 2007 from the Community College of Allegheny County, Pa., where he was chief executive of the Allegheny campus. He replaced Charlene R. Nunley, a popular administrator who retired after eight years.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company