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Board of PHCC requires balance

East Pasco is right to feel slighted in the makeup of the Pasco-Hernando Community College board of trustees. The Dade City vicinity has its own campus, but not a representative on the nine-member panel that oversees the college operations.

It is inaccurate to say the college ignores the east Pasco perspective. Representatives of the Dade City campus attend and participate in board meetings, and Dr. Robert Judson, college president, lives in Zephyrhills. And the Dade City campus is to be the home of the new police academy, groundbreaking for which is scheduled for later this month.

Still, the board's composition of five west Pasco and four Hernando County residents is not representative of the area served by the college. St. Petersburg Junior College, for instance, has board members hailing from Tarpon Springs in the north to Seminole and St. Petersburg in southern Pinellas.

Some students and Dade City residents are now pushing for a change on the PHCC board after the transfer of popular provost Michael Rom from the east-side campus.

Students bombarded the college with complaints after Rom's abrupt departure and demotion to the west-side campus last year. The board approved the transfer in the fall.

Last week, Dade City Commissioner Lowell Harris forwarded resumes from Dade City lawyer Leonard Johnson and Wesley Chapel resident David Marshall to the governor's office for consideration as future trustees.

The next Pasco seat to expire is held by Dr. Rao Musunuru, who has indicated he wants to continue serving. He recently received the unanimous endorsement from his fellow trustees. The appointment for that seat is due by the end of May.

The request from east Pasco interests is not unreasonable, but it would be a mistake to replace Musunuru for the sake of geographic balance. Musunuru, a successful cardiologist, provides medical expertise to the board at a time the college is beefing up nursing training. He is not guided by future ambitions or political considerations.

Additionally, he brings an educational background and minority viewpoint that none of the other Pasco appointees can match.

It is more logical for Gov. Jeb Bush to replace one of the other west Pasco political appointees: Ed Collins, lobbyist and former county commissioner; Judy Parker, wife of former New Port Richey Council member Frank Parker; Judy Braak, a real estate agent and sister of Republican state committeeman John Renke; or Judy Case, a retired businesswoman who remains an active host of political fundraisers.

Pasco-Hernando Community College is reflective of diverse educational needs in a broad two-county region. The same should hold true for its board of trustees.