December 2019 Advocate: AFT-CSEA Solidarity
CSEA supports AFT speakers, raises concerns about Chancellor search process
At the November 20 SMCCD Board of Trustees meeting, following the faculty members who spoke about how contract issues affected teaching and learning (see page 1,) Juanita Celaya, CSEA Chapter 33 1st Vice President, made a public comment to the Trustees about the Chancellor search process.
Faculty and staff keep colleges running
Before she began reading CSEA’s prepared statement, she said, “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.”
Controversy in selection of previous Chancellor
In her prepared statement, Celaya raised concerns about the Chancellor search process. She described a major controversy resulting from the selection process of the previous Chancellor: The Board of Trustees at the time tried to pass a resolution which would throw out the established selection process for executive management and give the Board exclusive authority to hire or appoint a Chancellor. That resolution led to the State Chancellor’s office threatening to withhold funding from the District during a time when the SMCCD was in deficit and facing cuts. After months of negotiating, a settlement agreement was finally reached in which the District was reportedly subject to a 3-year program to monitor its selection procedures and a possible 2-year extension if they failed to comply.
Questions about current selection committee reps
Celaya then discussed the current Chancellor Search process. She first addressed a 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. She stated that CSEA “believes this has resulted in cronyism, favoritism and nepotism within our District” and she pointed 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.”
Celaya next raised a concern about the selection of a classified employee who will serve on the selection committee, reminding the Trustees that Board policy states that the selection of classified representatives to serve on District and/or College committees, task forces, or other governance groups shall be made by CSEA, the exclusive representative of classified employees.