|New United Brownsville President Irv Downing|
During Downing's pep talk, outgoing leader Rusteberg handed him a brass-colored baton, admonishing him "not to drop it." Ceremoniously, the baton was passed to the other two newly installed tri-chairs, Debbie Portillo and Jorge de la Garza. Neither officer dropped the baton.
Downing continued: "Some on this board are not certain of our mission. United Brownsville has never paved a single street. Our role as facilitators is to bring segments of the community together. We seek collaborative strategy, collective success."
Skillfully bringing board member Minerva Pena into the discussion, Downing asked: "How long had it been since we collaborated with BISD, 6 years?"
"12 years," responded Mrs. Pena, who articulates a couple pay grades below Downing.
"You see?" Downing continued. "Too long!"
|Outgoing UB President Fred Rusteberg|
As Downing reiterated the accomplishments of United Brownsville since it's startup in 2010, incredibly including "the emergence of Texas Southmost College as a free-standing, fully accredited community college. Back in 2010 we had a partnership."
None on the coordinating board seemed to wince at that revisionist history. Actually, one of the original UB tri-chairs, former UTB President Juliet Garcia, fought vehemently against TSC "separation" from the system agreement into its historical role as a "free-standing" entity.
Downing did not explain that, in reality, United Brownsville is an imaginary board, with its board members not appointed by the city commission, but chosen by the board itself and certainly not elected by the taxpayers. Still, the board draws taxpayer and ratepayer funds from 8 local entities to provide its $200,000 annual operating funds. In other words, "taxation without representation."
|Carlos "Viva Las Vegas!" Marin|
Downing, who mentioned that he works for a "regional educational institution," admonished the coordinating board to not be afraid of "thinking regionally." He gave the board "at the very most" 90 days to identify at least three "major initiatives," several times cautioning against "working in silos."
BusinessDictionary.com has this to say about "silo mentality:" A mind-set present in some companies when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce the efficiency of the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.
Mayor Tony Martinez, addressing the group from a visitor's chair, told the board to keep their spirit's up, claiming that some in McAllen were astonished by "all that Brownsville is doing."