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Ray Funderburk III newest NHC school board appointee to CFCC Board of Trustees

Ray Funderburk III at his interview with the New Hanover County School Board on June 2.
NHCS YouTube
Ray Funderburk III at his interview with the New Hanover County School Board on June 2.

On June 2, the New Hanover County School Board unanimously appointed Ray Funderburk III to the Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees. However, member Stefanie Adams was not present for the vote — and member Nelson Beaulieu recused himself, as he’s an employee of the college.

In the running for the position were two other candidates: Robby Collins and Jennifer Robbins.

Robbins was taken out of the running, as she’s a current employee of the district, and per board rules could not move forward as a potential trustee.

Collins, a current trustee, and a real estate attorney, reapplied for the position. In his opening statement to the board, he said he’s helped the college with managing their largest assets — real estate holdings.

“Just last month, there was a complex easement matter when one of our benefactors to the college left real estate to the college when they died. I was able to quickly unravel a unique title issue that otherwise would have required outside counsel; this saved both the benefactors estate and the college a lot of money and outside legal fees,” said Collins.

School board members gave the applicants the interview questions beforehand — and one of them was how they viewed their oversight role over CFCC’s President Jim Morton.

Collins said, “As a board, we’re not part of the day-to-day administration of the college but we have the responsibility of advising and providing oversight over the college president.”

Funderburk, a retired educator who’s previously worked for Pender County Schools, UNCW, and CFCC, said that, “oversight is their position. The board, essentially, is there, as I suspect, in a lot of ways the court of last resort for many of the employees or students who are upset with what's going on.”

But Funderburk added he doesn’t believe in micromanagement. He said he aligns his approach with something his father told him: “You delegate authority and retain responsibility. And I believe in that.”

Funderburk said likes the idea of a “Talk to a Trustee Day” where students and staff can speak with him about their experience at the college.

He also said he plans to tour every part of campus — and would like to know what’s going on.

“I don’t mean snooping. It’s not a political thing as much as it’s a research thing, so you can answer questions if you’re asked,” said Funderburk.

Before the vote was taken, Member Judy Justice said to Chair Kraybill that she would like to talk openly about the process for voting on the trustees. Kraybill responded that they had already agreed on the process.

But Justice retorted, “I'm talking about the transactional process seems to be taking place too often in these kinds of situations.”

Justice told WHQR that candidate Collins was communicating with the board outside of the normal application process.

And this isn't the first time she said she's seen issues like this. In 2020, Port City Dailyreported controversy over the board's appointing current Trustee Jason McLeod. Justice, along with Adams, said the process for his nomination was confusing — and that McLeod had an unfair advantage over other candidates.

Funderburk will take his seat on July 1. He joins three other CFCC Trustees who were appointed by the New Hanover County School Board.

NHCS Board interviewing Collins and Funderburk

Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR