By Katya Harmel
Process engineer Felix M. Grieder, 60, said he is running for the District 9 trustee position because he believes it is important to provide quality education at an affordable price.
He has lived in District 9 for nearly 18 years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in international affairs from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Master of Science degree in national security decision-making from the College of Naval Command and Staff.
He said he is qualified because he has five children who went through various educational systems — one of his sons attended Northeast Lakeview College before transferring to the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“I think having quality education at an affordable price is important for the citizens of our community,” he said. “I’m a concerned citizen. I am a father of five, a grandfather of five. I know the value of education.”
Grieder ran for the position in 2014 but lost to incumbent Jim Rindfuss, who died Aug. 15.
He said he was encouraged to run by co-workers at USAA and others.
“One of my motivating factors is that people have reached out to me to ask me to run,” he said.
He explained he has no personal connections to the board, but he met with District 8 trustee, Clint Kingsbery, in 2014 when seeking the District 9 position.
“And that’s another reason I’m running because I provide an independent voice,” he said. “I’m not tied to any current trustees or the chancellor or vice chancellor. I am able to speak independently, and I think that one of the issues is that there is too much group-think among the current trustees.
“Most of them are willing to go along with what the chancellor desires without a sufficient amount of questioning,” he said.
Grieder said he has not followed the current incumbent, Joe Jesse Sanchez, because Sanchez was appointed only three months ago.
Grieder has three main issues he would address if elected: improving governance, reducing administrative costs and improving relations between faculty and administration.
First, he said the policies that ensure and maintain accreditation must be improved.
“It took nearly 10 years for the Northeast Lakeview campus to be accredited,” he said. “That is excessively long. We must not allow that to happen again. To ensure that does not happen, we need to have good governance in place.”
Second, he explained the Alamo Colleges budget should be reconsidered. Thirty-five percent of it goes to administrative costs, he said.
“We need to revamp the budget,” he said. “We need to cut administration costs and gear that toward faculty and student needs.”
As an example of cutting costs, Grieder said the vice chancellor position is excessive and not needed so he would do away with the position. The district has five vice chancellors.
Third, Grieder said the relations between faculty and administration must be improved.
He said faculty input is not requested when changes within the administration are discussed, and faculty positions are often not considered, but, instead, dismissed.
“The previous chancellor was very authoritarian,” he said. “What he said — what he determined — the board would go with that.”
Grieder plans to improve the relationship by having more transparency when important policy issues are discussed.
He said most sessions should be open to faculty, students and citizens, and the administration should listen to their input.