Workers at Baltimore City Community College rally to remove Dr. Debra L. McCurdy as President

BCCC staff, students, and community members gather together to protest president’s egregious compensation package despite declining enrollment and other issues

Baltimore  Workers at the Baltimore City Community College (BCCC), along with students and community members, rallied together to voice their concerns regarding the BCCC administration’s lack of transparency, lack of communication, refusal to fill staff vacancies, build employee morale, or negotiate a telework policy in good faith. 

“BCCC leadership touts "Students First", yet they've failed to provide the necessary tools or resources to ensure the students are TRULY first. Their words mean nothing if there is no action behind them,” said Cynthia Wilson, a Senior Records and Registration Specialist at BCCC. 

This rally comes after a report revealing President McCurdy’s exorbitant compensation package despite years of continuously declining enrollment at the college and record high staff vacancy rates. In the last year, the BCCC Board of Trustees voted to give President McCurdy a raise of over $200,000, bringing her total compensation to well over half-a-million dollars per year.

“In the last year, we have lost six of our recruiters. Tasked with outreach and showing prospective students that BCCC can help them achieve their goals, many of these recruiters left after less than six months because they were not given the tools to succeed. Among those who left were those most fluent in Spanish, thereby cutting us off from effectively engaging that community. Similarly, students pursuing their education under the Mayor’s Scholars and P-Tech programs frequently encounter unnecessary hurdles when they first start because the College has not invested adequately in the staffing necessary to support these young minds as they navigate the application process, the registration process, and the coding process,” said Brett King, a Senior Records and Registration Specialist at BCCC. 

Earlier this year, AFSCME Local 1870 members delivered more than 200 petition signatures from concerned staff, students, and community members calling for President McCurdy’s removal to the Board of Trustees.

“BCCC’s leadership tried to tell us in bargaining that they couldn't give staff additional raises to help keep up with inflation because they said BCCC had no funds. But somehow, they have plenty of money to give to President McCurdy. So much money that she is compensated more than almost every other community college president in the Maryland. So much money that she makes even MORE than Baltimore's mayor and Maryland's governor. And she's not even doing a good job. In fact, she's doing a terrible job,” said Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Maryland Council 3. 

Despite efforts to work with Dr. McCurdy and the Board of Trustees, many issues remain unaddressed, including the following:  

  • The board halted its presidential search early, opting instead to hire Dr. McCurdy rather than continue interviewing qualified candidates.  
  • There is a significant lack of transparency when it comes to hiring.  
  • There is a lack of shared governance and many faculty and staff do not feel like they have a real voice in their workplace.  
  • A lack of competitive pay and raises has caused staff to seek additional employment or to leave the college altogether.  
  • The board has continued hiring upper management positions, ignoring a 2016 Joint Commissions Report saying, “the College is top heavy.”  
  • An operating budget analysis of Baltimore City Community College cited a vacancy rate of 34% as of December 31st, 2022.

“I’ve stayed at BCCC because I believe in the mission statement. By helping people and assisting those in need, it is without a doubt that lives are improved through our program. We continue to work even though it has been difficult, but sadly, it’s taken us 8 years to accomplish what could have been done in a year’s time. The misuse and overworking of staff has halted the growth of our program,” said Susan Gruzs, a BCCC Workforce Development Coordinator.

“BCCC clearly has the money to pay McCurdy’s exorbitant salary. And at the same time, we’ve seen so many talented staff leave since McCurdy has taken office. How do you even operate BCCC's multiple locations with only half as many staff as when you took over? The answer is you can’t... I am asking the governor and legislators to hold BCCC leadership accountable to using taxpayer funds properly. The governor, mayor and legislators should ensure BCCC enrollment is getting that needed boost, and we call on them to request and receive a true plan from BCCC leadership to fill all of the needed positions that have been sitting empty,” said Nena Kutniewski, a Senior Records and Registration Specialist at BCCC and president of AFSCME Local 1870.


About AFSCME Maryland Council 3 
AFSCME Maryland Council 3 represents nearly 45,000 public service workers in local, city, county and state government as well as in higher education who provide the valuable public services that our communities rely on. From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, we make Maryland happen.