CSEA public comment at 11-20-2019 Board of Trustees

Comment from Juanita Celaya, CSEA Chapter 33 First Vice President, to SMCCD Board of Trustees, 11/20/2019

Before I begin reading our prepared statement, I would like to ask the following question: What does everyone think would happen if all of the executives, administrators and supervisors called in sick, or just weren’t here? Nothing. The campuses would continue to run, students would be in their classrooms and the offices would still be open because it’s your front-line workers – the union workers – who keep the day-to-day operations of these campuses going. We hope you keep that in mind, and with that said, CSEA stands in solidarity with our AFT brothers and sisters.


President Goodman, Trustees, Chancellor Claire and Guests:

We would first like to thank the Board for holding the special session to discuss the Chancellor Search process.

We appreciate the transparency of the process you are pursuing. Many may not know that the selection of the previous chancellor resulted in a lot of controversy, with threats of a lawsuit by the District against the State Chancellor’s office, who, in turn, threatened to withhold funding during a time when the district was in deficit and facing cuts, and the state of California was facing a $21 billion dollar budget shortfall.

The dispute surrounded the then Board of Trustees trying to pass resolution 02-1-100B, which would throw out the established selection process for executive management and give the Board exclusive authority to hire or appoint a chancellor.

After months of negotiating, a settlement agreement was finally reached. Unfortunately, we have been unsuccessful in locating the agreement; however, an article in 2003 Skyline View states the district was subject to a 3-year program to monitor its selection procedures and possible 2-year extension if the District failed to comply. At the special board meeting on November 6th Trustee Mandelkern asked why there was a chancellor selection procedures manual dated 2005 when we had not been hiring a chancellor at that time. We believe this might be the reason.

During the discussion on the makeup of the selection committee, we had some concerns. At the October 23rd Board meeting, CSEA brought up the unilateral change to the selection process made several years ago by the former chancellor which allowed hiring managers on the first round of selection committees, and how we believe this has resulted in cronyism, favoritism and nepotism within our District.

Since we brought this issue to light and have asked that we return to no longer having hiring managers on the first round of selection committees and to trust the constituencies to go through the selection process impartially, we would like to point out that the Board is in fact the hiring manager of the chancellor and therefore we agree with Trustee Nuris who initially suggested no one from the Board should serve on the first round of the selection committee.

Next, regarding the classified who will serve on the selection committee, Ed Code 70901.2 states when a classified staff representative is to serve on a college or district committee, task force, or other governance group, the exclusive representative of classified employees – per Board policy 2.08, that would be CSEA – of that college or district shall appoint the representative for the respective bargaining unit members.

Per Board Policy 2.08.13, the Board recognizes CSEA as the official body representing classified staff. The selection of classified representatives to serve on District and/or College committees, task forces, or other governance groups shall be made by CSEA with the expectation that all classified staff will be considered in the process of selecting representatives.

We are handing out 2 articles from AFT’s The Advocate newsletter about the dispute, an article in the Skyline View about the settlement agreement and an article in yesterday’s newspaper from a community member who would like to see more community inclusion on the selection committee since it is the community – after all – who pays the bills.

In closing, we respectfully urge the board to re-evaluate the selection committee makeup keeping these facts in mind.