Southwestern College had a packed board agenda and packed house on March 14. The meeting, which lasted beyond midnight, suggested that all is not well in Camelot.
The most contentious item on the agenda was a pay increase for administrators. The district’s proposal was to add steps on the pay scale for vice presidents. Some current vice presidents are interim, so the district suggested the increase to attract a better pool of candidates. Prospective administrators would negotiate their level of pay, depending on experience and education.
The “Rationale for Improving VP Compensation” attached to the agenda argued that compensation for vice presidents in other districts is significantly higher and that “increasing the salary is likely to result in an improved rate of retention.”
Speakers implored the board not to take action at a time when the district is contemplating asking instructors and other employees to make up for a budget deficit with cuts to their salaries or benefits.
The student boardmember, Claudia Duran, said if she were to ask her constituents, they wouldn’t want to increase the salaries; they would want their summer classes restored.
The motion passed 3-2, with trustees Nader and Peraza voting in opposition. Peraza said he could not vote for the motion when the country was in such a severe depression.
Late in the evening, the board also passed a motion to limit campaign contributions to $1000. The vote was 4-1. Trustee Jean Roesch, who will be up for election in November, voted against the motion.
The board also passed, among other consent items, a motion to hire Lillian Leopold as chief public information and government officer. Her salary will be $10,393 a month. Leopold has served as director of grants and communication at Sweetwater Union High School District since 1999.