Concerned citizen Cripsin Ogo is organizing farmers and other stakeholders who have worked with NMC’s Cooperative Research Extension and Education Services to speak their concerns over the recent departure of its dean and director, Ross Manglona, at an upcoming Board of Regents meeting.
Ogo said he has spoken to concerned individuals on island as well as Rota and Tinian and that four people have confirmed their desire to speak to the board this Thursday.
“We’re on a roll,” he said.
He said he would personally like to know why Manglona, who according to him “practically lived with NMC,” was let go despite his successes in the community and providing funding for his division.
In contention is the status of Manglona’s relationship with the college. Last week, according to Manglona, he was escorted from the college by security. As per policy, the college declined to speak on personnel matters but assured in a statement that an interim director would be appointed vice Manglona.
In an interview last week, Manglona claimed that the college’s intention was to essentially terminate him without technically doing so. He claimed he was placed on paid administrative leave as a form of compensation for the college’s plan to let him go. He said he was let go prior to the 30-day notice period given to employees whose contracts would not be renewed.
A college employee who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity said the CREES program “flourished” under Manglona’s leadership, citing developments in agriculture, aquaculture, and food processing, among others.
In a phone interview, a farmer who asked not to be identified expressed doubt in the ability of Manglona’s replacement to work with locals.
“If we bring the guy from outside, is that guy gonna help us? I don’t think so. I can’t just pick up a phone and say, ‘Mr. So-and-so, can you come and check because my tilapia cannot breed.”
She hopes that any issues between Manglona and the college can be worked out. “I hope they bring back again si Ross,” she added.
Another farmer, who also declined to be named because of a contractual relationship with the college, said he worked with Ogo in contacting as many as 16 individuals to share their concerns this Thursday.
“We want to know the reason why. Nobody knows. Even Ross Manglona doesn’t know the reason why his contract was not renewed.”
In the end, he hopes that Manglona returns to the college as he is “doing a pretty good job as director.”
According to Ogo, the college requested a meeting to discuss the issue with him earlier this week. However, he declined because “the word was already out” to farmers and concerned citizens that they would be speaking together at the board meeting on Thursday.