Elizabeth Burmaster grew up aiming for perfection. Raised a musician, she listened to her errors and strived for better from herself — a trait she said has made her more critical of herself than anyone.

She carries that quality to this day as president of Frederick Community College. Burmaster speaks in musical metaphors, saying she imagines herself as a choir director. She selects a piece of music and places it in front of her senior administrators, faculty and staff. From there they must figure out how to perform the piece, how the instruments will weave to form a symphony.

Since being hired in 2014, she has overseen the overhaul of 46 college policies and increased the college’s dual enrollment partnership with Frederick County Public Schools to be a leader in the state.

Yet, faced with enough faculty members to affirm a vote of no confidence in her leadership, Burmaster remains unwavering to criticism while addressing the May vote.

When she jokingly suggests appeasing faculty by cutting her hair to appear less stern, she smiles wide and with her eyes — playing her second role: musician, grandmother. It’s a moment that calls back to the faculty convocation in September, when she joked while pulling raffle tickets that she might have just found herself another job for when she’s not president anymore. The words of faculty members describing yelling fits and physical altercations hang around her uncomfortably.

Accusations of bullying and harassment toward faculty members at FCC began to snowball across the college, culminating in a protest and vote of no confidence in her leadership in recent months. Though Burmaster said she was surprised by the no-confidence vote, she has in fact been receiving similar criticisms and accusations since as early as 1994, an investigation by The Frederick News-Post found.

Now, Burmaster is facing the version of herself painted by faculty and administrators she said she doesn’t recognize.

“I don’t know. I was kind of surprised by all of this. I am still decisive. I still talk with my hands,” she said, speaking softly. “It’s weird when people start saying things about you that you don’t really understand or don’t really recognize.”

At 60, she decided to return home to Frederick. She could have retired. Instead, something lured her back to work.

“I have a lot of sentimental attachment. That’s probably why I came back,” Burmaster said. “I decided, ‘No, something’s calling.’”

Surrounded by framed photos of her grandchildren, Burmaster slips into emotion between recollections of implementing the No Child Left Behind Act, fighting the achievement gap and her efforts to get people back to work in Wisconsin. She capitalized on big manufacturing business in the state by refocusing training and programs at Nicolet Area Technical College and cutting back liberal arts offerings.

Now, caught between career successes and growing criticisms, Burmaster calls herself an agent of change.

Years before Burmaster came to Frederick, faculty members at Nicolet Area Technical College, a small college in Wisconsin where Burmaster was president from 2010 to 2014, complained of nearly identical issues to those of Frederick faculty members: raised voices, throwing things, threats, banging on tables, unwanted hugs, grabbing clothing and pulling people close to whisper aggressive statements in their ears.

And two years after assuming the role of principal at Wisconsin’s Madison West High School in 1992, the Madison School District launched a six-month investigation of Burmaster, the Wisconsin State Journal reported in 1994. The investigation was the result of parent and staff complaints about her leadership style and unwillingness to listen to feedback or concerns, though it ultimately found no misconduct and instead asked that Burmaster improve her communication skills.

Articles from the 1990s describe Burmaster’s personality as “forceful” and say her transition to the role of principal was “rough” during the years she was running for state superintendent. She was accused of being a “bad administrator” who “shouts and screams” at co-workers.

“My whole role,” Burmaster said, “has always been taking really complex challenges and trying to bring people together, but to get through conflict to the other side and to see change.”

Community colleges nationwide have seen a decline in enrollment since 2010 and face an uncertain future regarding their federal funding. As community colleges and small colleges across the country tighten their belts and make big changes to match an evolving economy and mitigate falling enrollment, Frederick Community College is grappling with the question: Do the ends justify the means?

It’s true that Burmaster brought big changes and victories when she arrived in Frederick. But the same kinds of complaints continue to follow her. The Frederick Community College board of trustees created a strategic plan that aims to address faculty complaints, though the board chose to extend Burmaster’s contract one more year despite the vote of no confidence by faculty. The contract puts her annual salary at $215,000, the highest in the college’s history, and extends her contract to 2023.

Even with the allegations of Burmaster’s abuse, board Chair Debra Borden said it’s about the big picture.

“I think it’s very important that she maintain a professional management style, and it’s an aspect of her performance that is important. I’m not minimizing that at all,” Borden said. “I’m just saying there are other aspects of her performance that are important.”

It’s not just the board of trustees that continues to support Burmaster. Some FCC administrators and faculty tout her long record of achievements, and these conversations turn toward the fundamental changes occurring in higher education at large.

“A lot of people don’t want to think of academia as a business, but it really is,” said James Hatch, a faculty member at FCC. “[Burmaster] sees what the future has in store for the school. You have to make sure that policy and procedure is in place. Now, things that were neglected are being addressed.”

Written by David Kast, a then-math professor who spent over a decade teaching at Nicolet College, a 2012 letter obtained through an open records request by The News-Post describes Burmaster’s difficult tenure, in Kast’s view, as president of Nicolet College.

“No. It doesn’t make me want to change who I am,” Burmaster said about faculty complaints. “It makes me want to understand why people are saying that.”

In his complaint, Kast described the first time he tried to address concerns of bullying and harassment with Burmaster. Kast said he invited Burmaster into his office and calmly voiced his concerns about what he viewed as her unfair treatment of faculty members.

According to his account, Burmaster became “irate” and began shouting, accusing him of personally attacking her and trying to get rid of her. Then, he says, she threw a clock designed by Frank Lloyd Wright meant for the occasion of his retirement at him, knocking over a cup of coffee, and stormed out.

“There is anger and frustration,” Kast’s 2012 letter continues. “This is due to the way in which President Burmaster has treated faculty and staff and even driven some away, either through harassing them into early retirement or parceling away their position, or because people have decided they would rather not work in a hostile environment. ... During her tenure as president, Libby Burmaster has exhibited a pattern of bullying through outbursts at faculty and staff, often at meetings whey they have disagreed with an idea of hers, or, on occasion, when they have asked for clarification.”

The complaints about Burmaster made at Nicolet College are nearly identical to those made by faculty at FCC. Kast called it “déjà vu.”

But Burmaster has another theory: Each faculty member has a personal agenda, she said. It might be an international trip, it might be certain benefits, it might be a collective bargaining victory. Though she said she did go to Kast to give him a retirement gift, she firmly denies Kast’s description of events.

“It’s all hearsay,” Burmaster said. “It isn’t unusual, this kind of thing. I can’t tell you over 42 years how many letters I’ve gotten as a supervisor. When people have an intent or they are angry or they are just disillusioned, they will write things like this. This one I know what the intent was. Every supervisor in the college, that would be true of.”

In response to faculty concerns about Burmaster’s leadership, the FCC board of trustees is considering creating an ombudsman position. Burmaster said she won’t pass judgment on the possibility of an ombudsman until the college’s study is completed, but generally she is “a little leery of magic genies,” she said. “I think our problems are deeper-rooted.”

Kyle Gruening, an administrator at Nicolet College who retired this past February, said she experienced the most humiliating moment of her life with Burmaster.

“Staff members who could hear the whole thing said they were ready to call security,” Gruening began.

Gruening worked alongside Burmaster as the college registrar. Burmaster made her feel incompetent, Gruening said. It wasn’t just faculty. Those working closest with her — deans and administrators like herself — were regularly subjected to brutal verbal attacks, Gruening said.

“She almost basically slammed my door shut, sat down, and for almost an hour and a half she totally lit into me,” Gruening said. They had just met about a new software purchase, which Burmaster had decided would not go forward.

“It started out as a conversation. I simply listened and if she ever took a breath, if you had something to say, you tried to say it. I asked why the concerns hadn’t been brought forward until now, but she just became loud, screaming, belligerent, said there was not a single person on that campus who knew how to run a meeting but her,” Gruening said. “That’s how her temper always was. She could be calm, cool, and collected and even in a meeting with 25 people, someone would say something and she’d be slapping the table, screaming and acting like a 2-year-old having a temper tantrum out of the blue.”

Multiple current and past faculty members at Nicolet College confirmed reports of Burmaster’s alleged abusive behavior during her four years at the college. Some of these faculty asked that their names not appear in this report, but they confirmed these accounts of events. Steve Laskowski, then the president of Nicolet College’s faculty union, said he received an average of two or three complaints a month about Burmaster’s behavior during her tenure as president.

“Primarily it was bullying behavior,” Laskowski said. “It’s a pattern of behavior that has been long documented.”

Complaints at Nicolet also went to Josh Skubal, who served as labor relations practitioner during Burmaster’s tenure at Nicolet College as the UniServ director with the Wisconsin Education Association Council. They received at least six complaints of physical and verbal abuse of faculty members by Burmaster, Skubal said.

“There were more than a half dozen individuals with direct experiences of abuse: physically grabbing their arms, pulling them close and whispering dominating things in their ears. There were physical exchanges where things were thrown,” Skubal said. “It was a very dark time here.”

In separate interviews, Laskowski and Skubal described the lasting impact Burmaster had on Nicolet College, which they said has not recovered from the damage she did. Skubal said faculty members were so disheartened and distraught because of the way Burmaster treated them it was “like the land of the walking dead.”

“They are just now recovering as an institution,” Skubal said. “There just is no drive left in a lot of folks. None of these folks would say it’s as good as it was pre-Libby.”

Despite these complaints about her behavior, Burmaster said she was never asked to seek another job.

“I’ve chosen where to go and when to leave in every one of my jobs,” she said. “And that’s a blessing because for me what draws me is the next challenge, the next problem to solve.”

Burmaster said she is proud of her career and her work in Frederick. These faculty concerns, she said, come with the territory. And not all faculty members have had negative experiences working with Burmaster. Joseph McCormick, chief information officer, spends hours each week working with Burmaster and said when he entered his the position at FCC a year ago, Burmaster was extremely helpful in coaching and empowering him to grow. He described Burmaster as “confident, very patient and understanding.”

“She’s shown great empathy in difficult conversations,” he continued. “She by far, in my opinion, has been one of the best folks that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. I’ve seen her in many conversations and she’s always been willing to sit down and listen, collaborate with others.”

Since returning to Frederick, Burmaster has aided the college in achieving its accreditation, a prospect members of the board and Burmaster herself say looked unlikely before she was hired. But in the years immediately preceding Burmaster’s tenure, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the agency responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities and colleges in the region, has no record of any noncompliance actions connected to FCC. Middle States confirmed the college received its accreditation in 2016 without any warnings or probation. Burmaster also updated the college’s policies, which previously had little or no practical instruction or concern for liability.

“She was recruited to come here to serve a purpose of being able to stabilize at a time when it was very unstable and also the world around us is changing,” said Michael Baisey, FCC executive director of marketing and web management. “It’s reflective of one of the shifts in education, it’s about the outcome for the student. We’re in a period of change. It’s inevitable, it’s also scary, but having the right people in the right positions that can adapt and understand and propose solutions, some of them might seem obvious like have policy and procedures, others might be more geared toward innovation, but it’s all about recognizing change is necessary.”

Burmaster — the musician, the grandmother — faces a third role: alleged harasser. As it follows her from job to job, she grasps for answers. She blames a larger societal anxiety. Or it’s the faculty’s stubbornness to change. Portions of Kast’s 2012 letter marked in yellow highlighter were laid out in front of her as she spoke: He said in the letter he never previously experienced this behavior with Burmaster directly. It’s almost as if “something converged,” she said, not entirely able to say what, “and then it was off and running.”

Access. Affordability. In the ever-competitive higher education landscape, Maya Angelou quotes advising people won’t remember what you said or did but rather how you made them feel aren’t factored into the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. And so, at the end of the day, it’s Burmaster’s fundamental understanding of the job that remains most unwavering.

“I think my record speaks for itself: I’ve been 42 years in public education and tried to do the best job I can, and I am very thankful to all of the good people who I’ve had the great fortune to work with,” Burmaster said. “Does that mean some people get mad or angry?

“Of course it does.”

Follow Emma Kerr on Twitter: @emmarkerr.

(71) comments

RetiredFPDLt

I had a friend who worked at FCC a few years ago. He quit because of her abusive actions toward him and other staff members. I personally complained to Deborah Borden, who also knows my friend. If my friend says she's a problem then she is a problem. Deborah Borden thanked me for alerting her and told me she hadn't heard any of the allegations I provided.
I'm amazed that Burmaster takes no responsibility for any of the complaints leveled against her and professes that it's everyone else's fault or their issue. Does anyone really believe her after her comments?
Do you also believe a subordinate working for her will profess in this article their true feelings if they are negative of her? not likely, they want to keep their jobs.
Throw her to the curb!

The Grape of Wrath

Very sad. I hope she gets the treatment she needs.

mamlukman

Think about this: Emma Kerr, the author of the article, found out all this with a few phone calls. And yet, two board members travelled to Wisconsin and found nothing. CLEARLY the board is not only incompetent, but MASSIVELY incompetent. To question ALL the stakeholders, not just the select few that the candidate has put on a list, is simply common sense. The board, it appears, does not have any common sense. And following on the 2+ year fiasco that was the Talley Affair, it is even more clear that we're dealing with massive incompetence.

I was worked in a place that got a new CEO. He was a former politician--in fact, he had been mayor of Omaha. In his first speech to the staff he said (and he repeated at the beginning of EVERY speech to the staff): "We're going to do things my way. I you don't like it, there's the door." So much for collaboration. So much for admitting that you are now the CEO of an organization you know nothing about in an industry you are unfamiliar with. Take a wild guess what happened....Yes, the best people left within months. Why the best people? Because they are the ones who can easily get other jobs. They're the ones who jump ship first. Then you're left with those who are trapped and can't get another job. This is exactly what's happened at FCC over the last 4+ years. Talk to anyone who works (or worked) there.

FrederickNative67

Think about this: Emma Kerr, a novice reporter, continues to publish accusations and hearsay in a poorly-disguised attempt to get her stories printed, probably striving to make a name for herself in an industry that welcomes anonymous sources and unverified accounts, but demands immediacy over facts. I've talked to plenty of people who work at FCC, and most DO support Burmaster and the job she's doing. Even more know that it's actually just a few bitter faculty who keep spewing this nonsense. These few dinosaurs are set on destroying the reputation of FCC and assaulting her character. They are oblivious that in turn this charade destroys the place that gave them their own careers. Why are they so bent on destroying her? Because they didn't get their way when necessary policies were implemented. So, a few days later they rallied to fabricate complaints from 3+ years ago that label her a bully. Please, take the time to learn more about the situation, and from more than one source. The FNP has got this story entirely wrong. The reporting is clearly biased and sensationalized without any attempt to uncover the truth.

TheLittleBird

No dear, the "assaulting" is Burmaster physically abusing FCC employees JUST LIKE SHE DID IN WISCONSIN! 'Oh but golly gee, they're all conspiring against her!' Sorry, I'm not a farmer, so I don't need your horse crap for my field. Firstly, I'm not sure you even talked to anybody at FCC, but if you did 1) If they speak against her, they can be fired, so they wouldn't likely tell you if they were abused and 2) if someone you talked to wasn't abused, that doesn't mean others weren't. Abusers don't abuse everyone they meet, and can usually convince clueless people like you to defend them. Or as a stark analogy, some people probably thought Jeffrey Dahmer was nice because he didn't try to eat them. I'd tell you to take your own advice and "learn more about the situation," but the truth is you don't want to learn more, you don't want to know about the MANY cases of abuse by her because that doesn't fit your agenda. It's becoming clear with every comment you make that you're someone that Burmaster or the Board have enlisted to push back against the truth. Well, too late! People know about the abuses now. Your damage control tactics are not working. You can scream 'fake news' until the cows come home, but most people are smart enough to figure out that when this happened at multiple places she worked more than 800 miles apart, her accusers are not lying, she and the Board are lying, just like they got caught lying about Middle States accreditation. I applaud Middle States for making it clear that Burmaster and the Board of Trustees LIED. Your whining about this isn't going to change that.

marinick1

[thumbup]

marinick1

[thumbup]

fnfn

The best expression of the difference between leading and bossing I have found is in the preface to William Glasser's book Quality Schools. It goes like this:

"A boss drives. A leader leads.

A boss relies on authority. A leader relies on cooperation.

A boss says "I". A leader says "We."

A boss creates fear. A leader creates confidence.

A boss knows how. A leader shows how.

A boss creates resentment. A leader breeds enthusiasm.

A boss fixes blame. A leader fixes mistakes.

A boss makes work drudgery. A leader makes work interesting."

8stardust

LOVE THIS - so true! Thank you.

shelleyfreeze1

There are some things that are really amazingly sad in this article. 1. Where is the Human Resources Department in all of this for these people who are being treated like this? 2. Why in the world would the Board of Directors extend her contract till 2023? 3. Has our country got so numb to abuse/obnoxious/alienating/offensive behavior like she is doing that everyone even the Board of Directors think it is okay? 4. Regardless of what she has done to move education forward, what about integrity/humane acts of caring/responsibility for you actions? Things we should be teaching our children as good citizens and humans.

Frederickmd21704

Also, anyone who has to use the name of the person who inspired the clock in the description of getting a clock thrown at them, deserved to have said clock thrown at them

TheLittleBird

By that logic, if someone pulls a Da Vinci off the wall of a museum and beats someone with it, it's not assault nor vandalism. In other words, your comment is imbecilic. Makes me wonder if your connected to Burmaster or the Board of Trustees and trying to discredit valid claims of abuse.

Frederickmd21704

So I'm curious why none of these people made it an HR issue, there are protections in place for harassment issues. If there is no HR claim to harassment then there is no issue. Sounds to me like a bunch of people who lack self confidence in the work place.

TheLittleBird

It said in the May 2018 article that there WERE at least SIX complaints made to HR and the Board of Trustees. "lack of self confidence" really? People can lose their jobs by making complaints. Your desperation to excuse this, and clearly having no knowledge of the FACTS, begs the question, are you friends with Burmaster or the Board of Trustees trying to do damage control? Sorry, that ship has sailed!

8stardust

AMEN! In my case, HR was one woman who was working in our office and was told many times over about the abusive tactics of our CEO. Unfortunately, she was in the CEO's "back pocket" and all of our concerns fell on her deaf ears. We had NOONE, PERIOD! Not HR, nor the Board - noone would listen and it was tragic then AND now for the employees who are under her as she continues her reign if terror in a very hostile environment.

FrederickNative67

Yes, but what it omitted was that these complaints were orchestrated in desperation, only after failed whining about new, sensible policies being put in place. Interesting how these complaints magically appeared from supposed events 3+ years ago only after a few bitter old men didn't get their way. It's incredibly sad that these irrational and angry people are teachers. The students deserve better.

TheLittleBird

These "teachers" have dedicated their lives to educate our community. The tantruming toddler who is President doesn't even have an earned Ph.D. These issues have been known about for YEARS, and she's been warned in the past about her behavior at FCC. AND the same issues happened in Wisconsin too. Are you saying people in Wisconsin fabricated stories because they were upset about a college in MARYLAND changing policies? Your whining and feeble grasping at straws to excuse PHYSICAL ASSAULT is pathetic. Someone should tell Burmaster and the Board if they are going to send people out to these articles to do damage control, they really should get someone who can come up with at least some intelligent horse crap rather than the imbecilic horse crap you're spreading. The truth about her abusive behavior is known, and your incessant 'fake news' whining isn't going to put the tooth paste back into the tube.

marinick1

[thumbup]

rcfoster

This article reads like a biography. Three mentions of being a grandmother? What exactly does "whispering dominating things in their ears" mean. I read a lot of things where people felt this or felt that but nothing substantial. Where are all the #MeToo people with their abuse stories?

TheLittleBird

The college policy is such that if those people come out with their #MeToo stories they can be fired for putting the President and the Board of Trustees in a bad light. That's why you will only hear good stories from current employees under her who identify themselves. I shake my head at the accounts of a couple of people who talk about how nice she is, as though that proves her blameless. Abusers typically don't abuse everyone they meet. Or to use a stark analogy, there were probably people who thought Jeffrey Dahmer was nice, because he never tried to eat them. Just because it doesn't happen to some, doesn't mean it's not happening to others. I know two people who were physically abused by her, but if they say so publicly they could lose their jobs. President Burmaster wants to regard this as 'fake news' claiming everybody from institutions which are more than 800 miles apart and many states apart just have an agenda. Abusers never take responsibility for their actions. It's always someone else's fault. It's not an "agenda," as she claims, to want to do your job to the best of your ability and not at any moment be at risk of being assaulted by your boss. The kicker here is there were other more qualified applicants for the job of FCC President when she was hired. Burmaster doesn't even have an earned Ph.D. She and the Board of Trustees are now on the record lying about FCC being at risk of losing their accreditation when she arrived, which that lie was discredited by the Middle States in this article. That lie had ONE purpose: To make her case that she swooped in and heroically rescued FCC, and those who complain of abuse are just ungrateful. It's a fairy-tale. While it could be argued she did SWOOPED in, behaving like a bird of prey ripping everything apart is hardly helpful. FCC has lost good employees because of her abusive behavior. One more thing to consider, what happens if someday President Burmaster flips out on a student and hits them? That's a law suit waiting to happen, which the tax payers will foot the bill for. She should have been forcibly 'retired' years ago when this stuff was happening in Wisconsin, but since that never happened, someone in power here in Maryland needs to step up and terminate her employment NOW.

BlueFredneck

What does Burmaster bring to the table? Is she especially good at fundraising, bringing in (relatively) big academic names, etc? Just wondering why the board seems so committed to her.

mamlukman

Because they don't want to admit they made two mistakes in a row--Talley, now Burmaster.

8stardust

I worked for a large non-profit organization where we had this same exact issue, with a new CEO. I sent an anonymous letter to the Board, detailing the unethical, abusive issues we were experiencing in the home office and NOTHING was done. When I resigned after working there for 14 years because my health was starting to suffer from the stress of working under this woman, I sent another letter to the Board (signed this time), and they still refused to take action. Since that time, 2 years ago, only 2 original staffers remain out of 34 long-time employees, and more than 40 have come and gone. I was told by one of her former employees that their organization gave her rave reviews too, when she was being vetted for CEO of our organization, and that when she finally left, they threw a HUGE party because they were so glad to be rid of her. 
Shame on the BOD! They do not work in the same office on a daily or even regular basis, with these tyrants, and have no idea what the staff deals with other than when it's brought to their attention. Even then, nothing happens, so the abuser gets away with it and the cycle just continues. She gets paid the big bucks to do the Board's bidding while staff is expected to just deal with it or move on. The BOD turns a blind eye while people's lives are being turned upside down and made miserable in the workplace. Pretty sure if any of the Board members were working under the same conditions described by the FCC faculty and previous employees, they would likely not appreciate it. How sad for the FCC faculty - I feel your pain.

Lev928

Where are all of these complainers coming from? My guess is they're transplant "professors" from Montgomery County, Washington, D.C. and even northern Virginia. FCC used to be an outstanding college. Don't let them corrupt reality like they have been doing at The Mount.

threecents

The complainers are from Wisconsin and Frederick.

TheLittleBird

You "guess" very wrong! A lot of the the complainers aka abuse victims were born and raised in Frederick County and had already devoted many years to FCC prior to Burmaster's arrival. Also, what was your purpose of putting the word "professors" in quotes seeming to imply they are less than that? The professors at FCC are fully credentialed, yet President Burmaster doesn't have an earned Ph.D. As uninformed as you are on this topic, I just wonder, are you just trolling the article or perhaps are you a friend of the Burmaster's or of a Board member trying to do damage control?

mamlukman

If the "complainers" make up about 90% of the faculty, I'd say there's a problem. Wouldn't you?

joelp77440

So basically she is like 70% of bosses out there. Leadership attracts Type A or narcissistic personality types. These types tend to promote those who look or act like they do so the abuse pattern continues. That mean girl in HS grows up and becomes your FCC president. Personally, I think the FCC employees need to suck it up and stop whining. Difficult people are part of life, I see nothing in the story that points to her being physically/sexual aggressive. Vote her out and move on or stick with her and deal with it.

TheLittleBird

NO, she is not like 70% of bosses! Bosses don't typically PHYSICALLY ABUSE their employees. So people who are abused are to just "suck it up and stop whining," where'd you get that bit of wisdom from? They can't "vote her out"! Most people don't have the ability to fire their boss. What world to you live in?

Lindaboot73

Surprise surprise!! My mother in law Sandy Warner used to work there before she died and the story's she told us made my toes curl!! Typical make!! 👿👿

mszadams

Thank you, FNP; the truth (at least some of it) is finally out. Despite the board's series of poor choices, FCC's faculty and staff have held the college together, shepherded it through accreditation surveys, and made it a quality student-centered learning institution of which the community can be proud.

think758

Only the Governor can fire the Board of Trustees, who, by extending Burmaster's contract right after the Faculty's No-Confidence vote, showed their willingness to back up Burmaster. So, we need to ask the Governor what he is going to do in light of all this?

Frederickmd21704

There is no need for the Governor to get involved

mamlukman

Of course there is. The governor appoints the board of trustees. And it was the total lack of competence by the board that put us in this situation.

pappyjoe

Now why did the POTUS have to be brought into this comment area? Comparing a President to a President? Burmaster is a staff Gunnery Sargent Drill Instructor and believe me had the teddy bear come out of me as a Supervisor a many of time. Now for the POTUS he did not serve in the military but is Seal Team 6 when coming to this Country[smile]

Ryanpgee

I'm curious, what did Elizabeth Burmaster do to the Frederick News Post to get them to stop reporting news and start launching a smear campaign?

threecents

Are you saying the charges are false? Please explain. (I have a kid who goes to FCC.)

TINAE

Right!?????? SMH

DickD

From the article it appeared to be that Ms. Burrmaster consented to be interviewed.

TheLittleBird

Are you a friend of President Burmaster's or the Board of Trustees trying to do damage control? Sorry, there's no un-ringing that bell. The President of the College physically ABUSING people is news whether you like it or not or whatever your agenda may be.

mamlukman

Since when is uncovering the truth about a public official whose salary is paid with tax dollars a "smear" campaign--esp. when it involves her performance on the job, not some private shenanigans?

Dwasserba

Deal. And please leave me out of it.

DickD

It might be time to change the Board of Directors too!

TheLittleBird

Absolutely! The Board of Trustees botched this from the get-go when there were other more qualified candidates, and Burmaster doesn't even have an earned Ph.D. Now, the Board is desperately trying to cover their butts and hide their original mistake by doubling down and even lying about Middle States accreditation being at risk with Burmaster came to claim she rescued FCC from losing accreditation. Thank you, Middle States, for debunking that lie!

mamlukman

Exactly. I dug out a letter to the editor I wrote in Feb. 2013 (yes, 2013--a year before Burmaster appeared on the scene) saying the board should do exactly what Emma Kerr did in the story--talk to ALL the stakeholders (students, staff, faculty, maintenance workers, etc. etc.) not just the cherry picked people that Burmaster gave a list of. I was talking about the fiasco involving Talley, but of course it applies to any search for a president. And guess who pays for their mistakes? Us.

Fleawest

This has a simple solution. Faculty should setup secret cameras in their offices or on their person. When she starts screaming, take out a pair of ear muffs and put them on. If she touches you to remove them, call the police. Show the cops the video and insist on her being charged with assault. She will be removed following the public relations nightmare of her arrest.

DickD

Interesting and I wonder if some don't already have grounds for a charge of assault, if not assault and battery.

newspostreader

Then you run into a situation where you were recording her without consent, and could possibly end up with legal issues of your own.

DickD

It could be someone just standing by and it is not illegal to record a voice, except over the phone.

https://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/digital-journalists-legal-guide/legal-limits-recording-conduct-and-conver
"The general rule is that people in public places must assume they might be photographed or recorded, particularly if they are officials carrying out their public duties. Therefore, you may photograph, film and record what you can easily see or hear in public places, even if the recorded people have not specifically consented to such, provided you do not harass, trespass or otherwise intrude. This includes shooting footage of a private property from a public sidewalk, as long as you do not engage in overzealous surveillance, such as the offensive use, for example, of a telephoto lens to record intimate activities inside the bedroom or bathroom of a private residence."

office

And, so the Board extends her contract? What is an Ombudsman position (more administrative $$ spent) going to do when the issue is that after the same issues have followed her throughout her career, she is oblivious to being the problem!

To FCC's Board of Trustees: The reputation of FCC across the state, and even the country, is in tatters after almost a decade of poor presidential hires. Fix this NOW or resign and let others fix it. Taxpayers are pouring good $$ after bad because of your lack of leadership on Burmaster.

cyntiast

Sounds like time for a change. I had a manager that behaved as described in this article. 25 years later I would still cross the road to avoid her. It's not good for anyone.

abowers1

She seems like a great candidate for President of the United States with those credentials.

DickD

As bad as she is, she doesn't compare to Trump! In fact, it is very hard to be as obnoxious as Trump - nor does he care what anyone thinks,

abowers1

[smile]

TheLittleBird

Have you been on the receiving end of her abuse? If no, then you can't say she doesn't compare to Trump. Indeed, many times while watching the news about some abusive idiotic thing Trump does or says, I think, "That sounds like Burmaster." There are some very strong similarities between Trump and Burmaster.

timjones123

Really? With all of this other 'me too' stuff going on in the world, this woman gets away with all of this abuse to her staff - for years? And it's documented? Shouldn't our educational system be the example of civil discourse? Manners? Clean debate? But it's OK for the president of the college to behave in such a manner?

Terps24

Hope she is better at being a grandmother...good grief! After 42 years it's time she goes on her own or she is finally told your desire for perfection is no longer needed at Frederick Community College.

TINAE

You got that right! Good Grief!

pappyjoe

This lady describes herself as a musician and a touch of a painting artist. She maybe that outside the job but on the job Burmaster is a Gunnery staff drill Sargent and i can respect that. She`s there as an instructor and the staff the students. I know when my daddy had to tell me something twice i got whopped up beside the head.

TheLittleBird

You "respect" that she's physically abusing staff???? Are you a friend of her's or a Board member's trying to do damage control? Sorry, that ship has sailed!

Frayou

Isn’t it standard practice by former employers not to provide negative, adverse or derogatory information of former employees for fear of potential litigation. Yes, typically employers are just happy about so called bad employees moving on.

DickD

Sounds like Burrmaster is bipolar or at least a Sociopath.

stjohn42

It always surprises me how someone like this can have all these problems follow them from job to job, and they always insist that it is everyone else's fault. A complete and utter lack of ability to view herself objectively.

threecents

Stjohn[thumbup] Yes, she says she does not recognize herself in the descriptions others give. Either you intimidate, scream, and throw things at co-workers and touch them inappropriately or you don't.

newspostreader

I have worked for someone like this in the past. They do it so much that they don't even realize that what they are doing, is wrong. I started having medical issues from the stress of dealing with it on a daily basis. It seems like it is time for her to go.

TINAE

It is going to get worse and a large suit case is coming. Just sit back and watch.

jwhamann

Jeesh. This reads like a cheap soap opera with a cast of bad actors.

Markoesux

isn’t that Blasey Ford?

sevenstones1000

No, it isn’t. But all blonde women look alike to you, amirite?

fredneckian

Same thing goes for skin pigmentation I'd wager.

priorparent

Ha I saw the striking resemblance as well.

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