Despite the objections of both the PCC Faculty Association and the Academic Senate, the Board of Trustees has approved a search for six senior administrative positions.The positions to be filled are vice presidents of Computer Technology, Administrative Services, Student Services, Educational Services, Human Resources and a General Counsel position.
In a letter sent to the Board of Trustees on April 6, FA President Roger Marheine urged a moratorium on any new hires.
“I gave remarks and sent an e-mail to the Board saying that it’s inappropriate,” said Marheine in an interview. “It’s simply not good to raise the [number] of highly paid senior level staff while cutting classes.”
In the letter, Marheine called the increase in administrative positions “fiscally questionable, institutionally unsound, and educationally irresponsible” since the district recently announced cuts to 600 classes.
“The policy position of the Board is to preserve instruction,” said PCC President Mark Rocha in an interview. “It would not make [a difference] if we had ten vice presidents [or] 20 vice presidents. That and the section reductions are caused not by the Board as we’ve explained, but by the state that has ordered what’s known as a work load reduction.”
Also in the letter, Marheine told the Board that the Academic Senate “voted unanimously (with one abstention) against the hiring of new vice presidents.”
The vote took place during its March 28 meeting, but the minutes of that meeting state, “The motion . was later determined to be out of order. The topic was not agendized; as such, no motion and no vote should have been permitted.”
The minutes also recap the discussion on the hires and the overall concerns, such as “division feedback is needed before taking a vote,” “more specifics and job description is needed” and “recommending new administrative positions is contradictory with the current budget situation.”
Academic Senate President Edward Martinez spoke in favor of the new positions in an interview, despite the fact that Senate members voted against them.
“I suppose that it’s important to note that my views and those of the Senate board may not necessarily be the same,” said Martinez, who recognized that the vote to search for administrative positions is controversial. “On a personal note, I do believe that it is important to recognize that some of these positions are vitally necessary for PCC to function and to make progress as an institution.”
Though Marheine called the vote an “informal straw-poll,” he said in his letter that “the Board should know that the Senate vote was a genuine reflection of the faculty views across campus.”
Rocha spoke to the campus’ concerns over class cuts and administrative hires at the April 6 Board meeting when the hires were approved.
“In proposing these executive searches and the contract for the search consultant who will assist us with this, we’re also proposing that the administration will be smaller next year than this year by a significant number of positions,” he said. “The estimate is upwards of $1 million that the administration will be operating smaller next year.
“The cuts, if they are necessary, will come from instruction last,” he said. “It’s important that as we move forward with the budget situation, that relatively speaking, we’re in a healthy situation . We are one of the very few community college districts that increased sections this year rather than cut them.”
According to Martinez, two of the positions (human resources and educational services) were dean positions but are now being upgraded to vice president status and another two positions (administrative services and student services) are currently being held by interim occupants.
“They should not be interim [positions],” Martinez said. “We want full-time people in those positions.”
The vice president of computer technology is a new position and the person will be in charge of among other things, leading PCC out of the Santa Rosa System (which PCC has used since 1982) into a new system that will be more capable of handling a larger amount of traffic.
The final position, General Counsel, will be a full-time lawyer.
“At the present time, we basically hire an outside lawyer to deal with [legal and compliance issues and grievances] but they’re on a contract with us,” said Martinez. “They are paid as a consultant, not an employee.”
As far as what this will cost the school, Martinez said that he could only guess.
“My guess is that all six will earn somewhere in the range of $150,000 per year, so multiply that by six,” he said. “But each vice president will negotiate his or her salary with the District.”
Additional reporting by Samantha Petersen.
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