LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Last Wednesday night, at a regular Pasadena City College Board of Trustees meeting, a “letter of concern” was delivered to the Trustees by approximately 38 members of the PCC Management Association (MA). Their concern is about the “state of the current Board of Trustees” and the future of Pasadena City College.
By Bruce Gibbs
The MA, according to the PCC website, is the “mechanism through which the deans, managers and supervisors of the college (exclusive of the Executive Committee) participate in shared governance.”
Mat Camara, acting President of the PCC Management Association, took the lead at Thursday’s meeting. He made the point that he has “served under seven superintendent/ presidents” in his fifteen years at PCC. He added, “Let that sink in for a moment.”
The current PCC Superintendent/ President is Erika Endrijonas, and her contract was approved by the Board in January of 2019. She is now a finalist for superintendent/president at another community college.
Camara made this point because the phenomenon of quick turnover among presidents or superintendents is considered to be bad for an academic institution. Mr. Camara reminded the Trustees that on April 11, 2022, “the superintendent/president and the board of Trustees received a vote of no confidence from our colleagues on the academic senate,” which represents the faculty.
Camara said that the “Board president [Sandra Chen Lau] and “two of the recently elected members have appeared to neglect their basic Trustee duties and responsibilities.”
What followed was a dramatic reading of parts of Board Bylaw 2200 which outlines Board duties and responsibilities, accompanied by experiences and anecdotes from members of the Management Association that revealed, disturbingly, how some Trustees are willfully neglecting to fulfill their duties.
Camara led and one by one different members took the microphone.
The list of grievances was unsettling to say the least.
One anecdote packed a wallop, and it involved Board President Sandra Chen Lau who, at a board meeting, “arbitrarily pulled” an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) submitted by the Management Association regarding their COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). This, according to the speaker, was a “manipulation” and deprived the Board of a dialogue about the MOU. Transparency is required among school trustees and pulling the MOU was, according to the speaker, a violation of ACCJC standards which can put the accreditation of the college at risk.
It was also revealed that some Trustees refused to meet with members of the PCC Management Association who simply wanted to discuss concerns, which is their right. Camara thanked the few Trustees who did meet with them.
Another story was troubling. Management Association (MA) members had watched a recording of a March 7 Facilities Committee meeting and were “astounded” when they heard “several openly racist remarks.”
Also alarming was the story about a lunch organized for the Trustees and MA leadership. At one point, after the MA members asked the Board to expedite a “perfunctory” request, one Trustee “pounded their fist on the table” and “ranted” that the “buck stops with them.”
Another member strongly urged all Trustees to keep current on all training, which implied that Trustees were not engaging in regular professional development, and stated that the Trustees have not completed the required evaluation of Superintendent/President Endrijonas.
The Trustees were accused of micromanagement which is in conflict with their duties to delegate power and authority to the superintendent/president.
Mat Camara, in closing, reminded the Trustees that PCC had been the final stop for superintendent/presidents, but now it is possibly in danger of being considered a pass-through college. He asked if Board President Sandra Chen Lau had a replacement in mind for the superintendent/president’s position as she “spun the current Superintendent/President through the door.”
The Management Association members begin at the 2 hour and 54-minute mark:
Bruce Gibbs is a resident living in the San Gabriel Valley.
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