Mesalands president suspended

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

Mesalands Community College Board of Trustees on Tuesday suspended President Phillip O. Barry without pay.

Board members met in executive session in response to allegations Barry was driving under the influence of liquor or drugs last week in Albuquerque.

Court records show Barry was charged with DUI on Friday.

Barry could not be reached for comment.

A college news release shows trustees suspended Barry without pay for five days, beginning Wednesday. The use of a college vehicle has been revoked, the release said.

Trustees Chair J. Bronson Moore said in the release that Barry will be required to submit to mandatory substance abuse screening and counseling immediately and that verification must be reported to the college’s personnel department.

“The board requires the president to meet a high standard of conduct commensurate with his leadership role,” Moore said in the release. “The board is disappointed and is taking immediate action to ensure this does not happen again.”

The release also cited “the absence of any prior violation and (Barry’s) exemplary leadership … .”

Barry, 58, has been Mesalands’ president for 13 years, school officials said.