August 30, 2007

...and the ritual continues... US

Board of Directors
North Harris Montgomery CCD
5000 Research Forest Dr.
The Woodlands, TX 77381

Ladies and Gentlemen:

For 3-1/2 years, I served as an employee of the NHMCCD (North Harris Montgomery Community College District). I was among the first Division Operations Managers (DOMs) hired within the District, and during my tenure, I believe I brought much structure and positive change to both Montgomery College and the District in general. I was instrumental in organizing the DOMs throughout the District into a professional and effective business group, developing our own training programs, peer support structures and all-District networking with the District administration. I loved my work, and most of the people I worked with on a regular basis.

I came to NHMCCD as a military retiree, and a retiree from a major Fortune 500 corporation. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in General Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration specializing in Management. In my corporate position, I directed a world-wide program for Corporate Recognition, and worked extensively in training supervisors, managers and Corporate executives in emerging styles of people management and Corporate Quality. I was a certified Senior Examiner, trained under the Malcom Baldridge Award criteria. I am currently an Adjunct Lecturer (Professor of Management) in the University of Houston system.

I only mention my background to emphasize three prime issues: (1) I am considered an expert in my field: Management, (2) I accepted the position as DOM because it was an opportunity to “make a difference” and contribute to my community – not because I needed to work, and (3) I know good management – and bad - when I see it.

I have the utmost respect for John Pickelman and your staff of Vice-Chancellors and other administrators at NHMCCD headquarters – most of whom I worked with closely in my position, and I received exceptional cooperation and support. However, I feel the District has removed itself so far from the individual campuses, that it is not aware of the unethical practices and behavior that may be occurring on a regular basis. My refusing to participate in this type of behavior, and stating so strongly, led to my eventual resignation.

I did not resign because I wanted to leave Montgomery College, but because I was forced to. For the last four months of my employment, I was subjected to continuous harassment, verbal abuse, complete disrespect, removal of my supervisory responsibilities, exclusion from District educational opportunities offered to me, and behavior uncharacteristic of an ethical supervisor. This was instigated and orchestrated by Dean Deborah Ellington, [The link connects to a page which has been removed since this posting - a photo of Dean Deborah Ellington by the Acropolis] in order to force my resignation. There was no attempt to “fire” me because no reason could be found. Dr. Tom Butler displayed a complete lack of leadership by even refusing to meet with me to discuss my situation, and VP of Instruction Julie Leidig tried to intervene but was so concerned for her own position that she was unable to effectively address the issues or the truth about what was occurring. Whatever Dean Ellington said was accepted without question. Most was fabricated or otherwise untrue.

I only stayed the additional 4 months in order to protect my Division employees, who were also being harassed by unfair practices and unfair expectations, false accusations, and pure terror - in fear for their jobs. In fact, as I was able to prove some of the allegations false, Ms. Ellington waited until I resigned before terminating one of those employees using those false accusations as a basis. By the way, that employee was one of the most dedicated, loyal and productive employees any supervisor would want to have. The District lost an exceptional person when she left.

I have spent the past 7 months investigating the supervisory background of Deborah Ellington, and I must admit I have been surprised at what I have found. Where Dean Ellington goes, chaos prevails, especially when dealing with employees and faculty. I will not go into detail, since detail should be readily available in District records. A good question to ask is WHY North Harris College wanted to get rid of her so badly? How many people were affected or lost their jobs because of her “leadership”? How many law suits and/or threats of lawsuits and/or grievances have been initiated against her at North Harris and Montgomery Colleges? Why are her actions acceptable to the Administration? Recently, I discovered that Ms. Ellington has been making false accusations against me in order to protect herself and her very poor fiscal and ethical practices, and the ensuing results. I don’t need to defend my reputation to those that know me, but I will to those that don’t. And strongly.

I have accepted my current situation, although I was just over a year from qualifying for TRS retirement. This was a major financial “hit” to me. More so, I miss my good friends, coworkers and employees at MC, DSTC and the other campuses. Yet, I CANNOT accept what has happened to so many others, and I am refusing to just “drop it” – too many others may suffer. Therefore, I am asking you, as the NHMCCD Board, to investigate this continuing situation and take some action to prevent it from happening in the future. Although you probably were not aware of it before, now you are; and I trust you will ask questions and advise me as to what investigation will be initiated and what the resolution is. You could start by asking Mr. Glen Powell about what occurred during the 4 months I was being pressured to resign, as I kept in constant contact with him until my last day of employment. There was nothing he could do but listen, and he did listen and I appreciate that. Yet, no one seems to want to challenge Ms. Ellington for her management practices.

I am prepared to release further information publicly, if necessary, within the next two weeks. It is not my intention to embarrass the District; rather, to cause some action. But, I do expect to be informed what action the District plans, and how any investigation will be handled. I have nothing to lose by going public with my information; my goal is simply to gain some satisfaction for the many current or former employees whose lives or careers have been damaged by this very unstable person, who the District has placed in such a high position. Her actions violate your own Ethics Policy (see the NHMCCD Staff Handbook), so I would hope that you do support your own written policies. I also urge that you research “workplace mobbing” and the effect is has on employees and organizations.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing a reply from you very shortly.


Richard E. (Dick) Martin

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