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For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 22, 2011

Media Contact
Jeff Dillon, (619) 421-6700, ext. 5782 or (858) 848-4449 (cell).

Board-Initiated Review of Construction Contracts/Proposition R
and District’s Ongoing Cooperation with Local Law Enforcement Authorities

The Governing Board of the Southwestern Community College District (SWCCD) is closely following this week’s media reports concerning the San Diego District Attorney’s Office’s investigation.

In April 2011, SWCCD hired an external forensic audit expert to thoroughly review prior Proposition R contracts and related fiscal issues.  As part of the review, the external expert interviewed key individuals and reviewed a significant amount of data and information related to the Proposition R procurement process that occurred in 2009 and 2010.

Throughout the review, SWCCD administration and the external expert have been proactive and cooperative with local law enforcement authorities, and have worked closely with the San Diego District Attorney. Governing Board President Norma Hernandez stated that “to the extent that the District Attorney believes further investigation of these issues is warranted, it will be with the full support and cooperation of the current Southwestern College Governing Board and Administration.”

The following proactive steps have been taken, among others, to address concerns about past contracting practices:

  • Procedures and protocols are in place to ensure the integrity of the contract selection process and all facts supporting the selection of contract awardees areclearly documented and available to the Governing Board and public as needed.
  • Internal procedures and protocols have been improved to require that no less than two college officials review the cost proposals to ensure consistency and transparency in the presentation of the project assumptions.
  • The Office of the Superintendent/President has directed that no employee associated with construction or general contract acquisition shall accept any form of gifts or meals as this may be perceived as a “pay for play” or pressure to award a contract to make a donation to the institution.
  • SWCCD strictly adheres to all codes, statutes, and laws governing the procurement of professional services and construction contracts and does so with full transparency during public Governing Board meetings.
  • Bond Counsel is to be involved in all decisions regarding the use of Proposition R funds to ensure full legal compliance.  

SWCCD’s internal review is ongoing and upon completion, all findings will be made available to the public.  The College continues to assist local law enforcement authorities.

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About Southwestern College
Accredited since 1964, Southwestern College is the only public institution of higher education in southern San Diego County, serving approximately 400,000 residents of communities including Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Nestor, Otay Mesa, Palm City, San Ysidro, Sunnyside and Coronado. The College District offers more than 300 associate degree and certificate options. More information at swccd.edu.

Southwestern College Office of Communications, Community and Government Relations
(619) 482-6304