The Garden City Community College Board of Trustees unanimously approved Ryan Ruda, vice president of instruction and student services, as interim president of the college, as outlined in a contract by GCCC attorney Randy Grisell.

The board named Ruda as acting president in early August during the search for an interim. He has been listed as “Interim President” on GCCC’s online directory for several weeks.

Trustee Merilyn Douglass told the room it took the board about 12 months to complete the most recent search for a president, including posting and considering applications, calling candidates to campus for interviews, selecting someone for the position and waiting for that person to move to town. She recommended beginning the process again, using the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees to help facilitate the process, which would include a fee.

Trustee Leonard Hitz objected to Douglass’ statements, insisting a search was not necessary. A long, extensive search would be a waste of money considering the board could look internally and hire Ruda quickly, he said. At Hitz’s questioning, Grisell confirmed that there was not an established process for the college’s presidential searches, though he recommended following the precedent set by the prior board.

The rest of the board members pressed back against Hitz’s argument, saying the search process needed structure, and methodology and the opportunity to consider all potential candidates. Trustee Chair Steve Martinez said an expanded process would better serve the whole community and the board needed to do its due diligence to the public, and Trustee Blake Wasinger reminded the room that Ruda was still welcome to apply.

Trustee Jeff Crist asked Ruda if he had any comments, to which Ruda said he thought it was important to go through the process and establish a criteria for the search.

The board ultimately reached a consensus, deciding to create a committee of board members to consider the criteria and details of the presidential search. Crist, Douglass and Hitz volunteered to serve on the committee.

As the consensus was settled, Crist leaned forward, telling Ruda the board supported him 100 percent.

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