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HomeArchivesASCOCC executive member’s boyfriend paid over $19,000 in student fee money

ASCOCC executive member’s boyfriend paid over $19,000 in student fee money

Eric Ercanbrack
Kirsteen Wolf
Tobey Veenstra


The Broadside

The highest paid member of Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College last school year was honorary member Rob Walker according to public documents.

Walker, who it appears primarily made videos for ASCOCC’s Facebook page,  made nearly $20,000 in student fees. He is the boyfriend of ASCOCC member Brenda Pierce.

Walker’s wages included four payments totaling $8,350 for outside contracted services from July 2009 to November 2009, and a salary totaling $11,007 from February 2010 to June 2010.

Walker’s salary as an honorary member exceeded the $9,500 salaries executive members Pierce and Terry Link, and the $8,962.50 salary of executive member Matt Coito.

ASCOCC is currently attempting to define its role in relation to the college. At issue, in part, is whether ASCOCC must follow college policies with regards to financial responsibility and fiscal oversight.

Members of ASCOCC declined comment and referred questions to their student fee-funded lawyer, Greg Lynch.

“I am choosing not to do an interview with you,” said Pierce to a Broadside reporter. “And no student government member will either.”

Lynch did not immediately return calls for comment.
Honorary members and outside services

Honorary members have no voting power on the student government. They often help out with events and typically get paid $10 per hour. Walker is the exception; he gets paid $15 per hour.

Walker, who was hired initially to create videos for student government, has created 16 videos that can be found on ASCOCC’s Facebook webpage.

“To my understanding, he was their videographer and would upload onto Facebook,” said Gordon Price, advisor to ASCOCC for the 2009-2010 school year.

The videos include two Thanksgiving food drive videos, two bowling night videos, and an ASCOCC Facebook video. The majority of these clips are under two minutes long.

Walker’s job was the same throughout the year but the way he was paid changed, said Price. He was paid as an outside contractor from July to November and he was paid as an honorary member from February to June of last school year.

Kevin Raichl, president of Visual Thinking Northwest, a local video production company, viewed Walker’s video promoting ASCOCC’s publication “The Voice.”

“If I assume you wanted me to estimate the cost of producing a promo similar to that one, I would say about $200,” he said.

Using Raichl’s estimate, Walker’s 16 videos would cost $3,200 to produce.
Payroll

COCC, through student fees, allots money to ASCOCC—$278,536 in the 2009-2010 school year—and ASCOCC in turn funds programs and clubs, and puts on events throughout the year. With those fees they also pay their executive council, general council and honorary members.

The total payroll costs of ASCOCC for the last fiscal year—July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010—was $78,485.50, according to public documents. This is a $35,725.60 increase from the previous school year and about 50 percent more than the organization budgeted.

There are 43 individuals listed on ASCOCC’s payroll for the last fiscal year. Walker’s pay as an honorary member is 14 percent of the payroll.

This percentage does not reflect money Walker made as an outside contractor, which totaled $8,350.
ASCOCC’s legal questions

COCC’s student government has been trying to clarify their role at the college through legal negotiations between attorneys. ASCOCC hired Greg Lynch, a lawyer who typically charges $295 per hour, and India Simmons, a public relations consultant. Documents have been requested as to the amount paid to both Lynch and Simmons, but currently ASCOCC has no public documentation on the requests.

Legal negotiation topics include the student government’s autonomy, its relation to the college, whether it falls under college policy, and whether or not it can be dissolved, according to an ASCOCC memorandum.

Price encourages students to get involved if there are issues regarding the use of funds and potential fiscal wrongdoing.

“Students can stop it by saying, ‘I demand a change,’” said Price. “Students have always had that power.”

You may contact Eric Ercanbrack at eercanbrack@cocc.edu, Kirsteen Wolf at kwolf@cocc.edu, and Tobey Veenstra at tveenstra@cocc.edu

Quick facts

  • Walker has been paid $4,180 in salary so far this school year, since June 2010, according to ASCOCC’s payroll documents.
  • Pierce’s salary for this period $9,500. Their combined salaries are $28,857 which is ten percent of the total revenue for the 2009/2010 year.Pierce is in her fourth year of serving as a member of ASCOCC.
  • According to the ASCOCC constitution, students can serve on the student government while taking as little as one credit
  • All council members and honorary members are eligible for a cell phone stipend. The current college policy on cell phone stipend is $60. Cell phone stipends appear in payroll according to Taran Underdal, ASCOCC advisor. Some members of ASCOCC’s payroll went from $750 to $810.
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10 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, all. I truly enjoy the journalism you all are putting forth this year, and I respect the amount of time you all are putting in at the office. This continuing ASCOCC saga is intriguing.

    One quick note about your graph…although it’s very eye – catching, it’s a tad misleading. You see, you’re trying to show Mr. Walker’s heightened salary with a modified bar chart. No prob there; Mr. Walker’s height is roughly double the other three, as it should be. The issue arises when you made his pictograph about 50% WIDER than the others. By doing that, you actually make the AREA of the figure about 3 times the area of each of the other three (ah, the beauty of geometry: the areas of each of Coito, Link, and Pierce are (base)(height); Walker’s is (1.5 base)( 2 height), or 3 times the area of the others, which appears 50% bigger than it should).

    Why does this matter? Because the human eye won’t ignore one dimension to favor another, readers will inevitably look at the total area of the figure, which is inflated. I’m not disputing your numbers, mind you…simply recognizing the bias you most likely inadvertently created.

    Keep up the good work, friends. I’m proud of you!

  2. Talk about fleecing of the students. I was so furious when I read this. ASCOCC wants to know their connection to the college? Who signs the pay checks? It is all paid with student fees that we pay to the college, that is ASCOCC’s connection. It is almost like they have no shame. I am a struggling student that now gets over a $1000.00 less per term I am sole provider of my family and I am sure that there are more students like me. To read this and finding where our students fees go makes me mad. Did we not just have our students fees raised. ASCOCC you need to be ashamed and think of the students not yourself!

  3. Dear Concerned Student:

    I was angry when I read this. The article is full of inaccurate info. When the newspaper is reporting info to discredit student government, intellectual readers must use critical thinking to be an observant, “why would they say that. To discredit members. For a catchy headline. To attack a group or students. Who gave the paper this information? Thier advisor? administration the publications board an individual with their own agenda? What is their motive? Are all views presented? Is there a history of strife? The former EIC personal views? Staff members? What does their ed board write about student government? Negative emotions thus far

    Is the editorial board made up of the same people that wrote this article? Yes, it is. Did the papers advisor have conflict with this person or group? Yes, for several years. Student complaints have been filed against Erin Marlowe and complaints against members of The Broadside for not reporting news in the news section but instead editorial.

    As a journalism student I was encouraged to attend that meeting about Iler. Didn’t Mr. Walker work for Broadside? Did he leave on good terms? What is that story? There is a sense of revenge coming from or being fed to The Broadside student reporters.

    Facts. What is missing? Did a council member hire their boyfriend directly or is it implied? This was covered in a previous article where Ms. Pierce was not involved in any employment decisions concerning Mr. Walker, but that wasn’t mentioned? Why?

    Does the college, or The Broadside have girlfriend/boyfriend at the same institution? This college does. Last year’s eic employed his brother Patrick as photographer. Casey Husk was dating the Editor in Chief Lauren Miller. This was mentioned in The Publications meeting my class went to and the Broadside’s own board said it was not unethical. So why is it now unethical?

    Did The Broadside gather all of the facts about production? The answer is no. Call Kevin Rachl at Visual Thinking. He will tell you otherwise. Someone at the paper messed up and if I was Mr. Rachl I would be furious that The Broadside just demeaned my business and my name, my reputation. What is Mr. Walker’s job description at ASCOCC? The truth in those questions paints a different story than the one The Broadside journalists would like you to believe.

    So Dear “A Concerned Student” perhaps you should question not only these things but why almost $40,000 of your student fees each year are going towards a paper fueled by personal agendas. Every issue this year has attacked student government. Any reasonable person could see the bias. Students do not want their fees to go towards this kind of journalism anymore.

    This paper is obnoxious. When the truth is revealed this paper loses ALL credibility no matter how hard they try to hide it. Wake up Broadside! You can’t fool educated students any longer. WE are on to your tactics and WE demand you be more accountable and question YOUR own motives OR those that are shoved upon YOU. Stop trying to pursuade the student body. It is obvious. WE are not dumb. WE have the ability to think and question what you write before WE make judgement calls on those WE elected. WE hope you can do better in the future. WE are tired of it and will not stand for YOUR poor journalism any longer.

  4. Kudos Ercanbrack, Wolf, & Veenstra. I too “truly enjoy the journalism…” And the artistic freedom in your graph.
    I read the article, formed an opinion, countered that opinion, settled back into my apathy and returned to my drudgery. We place people in positions but that’s the end of it. I cast my vote, now back to the grind. The problem may not be individuals, but us (or just me). Mr. Price said we (students) have a choice. Instead of feeling powerless, I’m ready for dialogue. Where do we start? Friday’s are good…

  5. Regardless of what kind of crappy underground COCC soap opera fueled the idea for this article, if this dude actually made close to twenty big ones for these videos–which are a good effort, but unimpressive and arguably useless–then yes, as A Concerned Student contends, the students have been hustled. I’m not a professional videographer(obviously neither is Mr. Walker; no offense) but using the skills I’ve gained from one (!) digital arts class I could easily produce videos of comparable quality using iMovie (!), and none of them could possibly take more than a few hours to make. Seriously. Actually if you don’t believe me, hire me next time.

    Assuming the numbers are correct, the real comedy will be the half-baked PR response they cook up (with more of your money, ha!) to justify the spending. A note to current students: if you decide to go all tea-party on their asses and dismantell the guverment, don’t make the same mistake as the rest of these lunatics by ignoring your actual interests as a student who is probably poor. Good job Broadside, someone’s got to do some damn muckraking in Bend. Next target: administrator salaries!

  6. @jodie miller

    I am guessing, as most people who jump to defend ascocc, that you are friends with one or more members of the student government. For a journalism student you are projecting a great deal. you talk about lack of bias and then assume that the Broadside staff are pursuing a personal agenda.
    Fact: Mr.Walker was vastly overpaid for the work he did.
    That is all I have to say. as a member of the student body, as some of my money went into this, I should have the right to know about, and other instances were my money is being misused, such as trips to Washington D.C. These things are fact, the information comes directly from ascocc’s records. There is nothing you can say that will justify these expenditures.
    WE are tired of OUR money being put in the pockets of people who are going to misuse it.

  7. There is no agenda or personal vendetta, the fact is Rob Walker is in a relationship with a council member and got paid a lot of money. People may try to claim that I had a personal agenda, the current staff does or other students do. There is no conspiracy though, there are no personal attacks. The fact remains that Rob Walker got paid a lot of money and he is in a relationship with Brenda Pierce. That’s corruption in one of its most basic forms, and something that the student newspaper has a right to report on. Now, whether students feel that it is worth their attention to try and do something about this, is up to them.

  8. I love the fact that this extremely untalented Mr Walker was pd 20 g’s for being Brenda’s b!$@h, yet has never paid the correct amount of child support ever!!! In fact he stopped paying child support all together in 2009 bx he claimed he didn’t have any money and was barely making it.
    I will be sure to hand this over to the correct parties, thank you for your wonderful article.

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