A rumor began to circulate this week on the Southwestern College campus that Henry Amigable was no longer managing the $389 million construction and reconstruction projects generated from Proposition R.
In November 2009, Seville Construction Services, Inc., was chosen by the Southwestern College governing board as the Proposition R program manager. Amigable, who had recently joined Seville, was named as program director.
Governing board president Tim Nader said in a January 25 interview, “I can tell you for sure that Amigable is no longer Seville’s program director.” Nader said the college doesn’t have any control regarding Seville’s personnel matters; however, he believes they would take the board’s thoughts into consideration.
Bond expenditures and links between college administrators and contractors were often criticized last year by the South Bay community group Crossroads II and the media. In October of 2010, a Union-Tribune article titled “Gala prize Napa weekend with contracting officials” reported that Amigable accompanied contractors and a college vice president on a weekend junket to Napa. Shortly after the trip, one of the contractors, Echo Pacific Construction of Escondido, received a $4 million contract with Southwestern. Following months of bad publicity, two new trustees were elected to Southwestern’s board. Within weeks, college president Raj Chopra resigned.
Now, according to Nader, the college is moving forward. The board is beginning a broad search for a new president and on January 20 hired Denise Whittaker as interim president. Nader said it was a positive sign that the board voted unanimously to hire Whittaker, who has extensive experience in California community colleges. Nader says he believes that Whittaker has the background to help the college with the accreditation issues that it is facing and that she has the demeanor and personality to heal relationships on campus and in the community.
Pictured: Former Southwestern College president Raj Chopra
Photo credit: swcboardmustgo.com