GB News: From the Southwestern Community College District Governing Board

President's Message

Governing Board President Norma L. HernandezThe meeting of March 14, 2012, will go down as one of the most important meetings of this Governing Board since we took office. It also could be one of the most important in the history of this college.  We as your Governing Board act as one and speak with a unified voice.

Three key issues were addressed and decisions were taken that will impact this institution for years to come.

Proposition R: Focused Special Review Proposition R Focused Special Review cover

Governing Board members accepted and released to the public the final draft of an independent Focused Review and a companion Internal Analysis.

The Focused Review was an independent review of Proposition R procurement and contracting practices for fiscal years ending 2009 and 2010 as well as issues faced by the Southwestern College Foundation during that same period. The staff's internal analysis of the review has seven recommendations and a 20-step action plan to improve college processes and strengthen Southwestern College's commitment to transparency and strong fiduciary oversight.

Board members and college administrators will continue to implement the recommended new practices and policies in coming months.

"One thing is realizing what you've done wrong," noted Trustee Terri Valladolid. "The other is knowing what you need to do to move forward."

The Focused Special Review is available online.

Proposition R New Look 2025

Dollar signHighlighting the concept that Southwestern College is larger than any one individual or constituency, each segment of this month's presentation on moving forward with Proposition R was read by a different member of the group which had worked on it with Interim Vice President of Business & Financial Affairs C.M. Brahmbhatt (left).

As reported elsewhere, the New Look plan involves a campus-wide reconsideration of almost all Proposition R projects with the goal of kickstarting the program on April 10, 2013.

The Governing Board's approval of the recommendations was only the beginning of what will be "a full load of work" for the college community over the next year, Brahmbatt said.

"Just because it is in front of you does not mean it got done," Brahmbatt told the board.

The New Look 2025 presentation is available online.

In a related move, the Board approved a $1.3 million contract with Portillo Concrete Inc. to build the Prop R-funded landscaping and entry road improvements along Otay Lakes Road at Gotham Street and Elmhurst Street. Seven bids were received; Portillo was determined to be the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

The work is to be completed by August 14, 2012, in time for fall semester.

Budget, Basic Skills Initiative and Student Success Workshop

At the March 28 Special Meeting, the Board heard presentations summarizing:

  • The College District's budget prospects for the 2012-13 fiscal year and how much deeper state funding cuts will be if Californians reject Gov. Brown's tax initiative in November.
  • The successes of the Basic Skills Initiative in improving student outcomes over the last few years and its current status. (view the presentation slides)
  • How the college is addressing state Student Success Task Force Recommendations and potential upcoming legislation. (view the presentation slides)

Stabilizing Top Management

After substantial debate and input from both the public and college staff, the Board agreed to support the administration's recommendation to augment the salary ranges for the four Vice President positions (Academic Affairs, Business & Financial Affairs, Human Resources, Student Affairs), three of which are currently filled by interim appointees. This action does not result in any salary increase for current VPs.

Doing so lets the College District potentially offer a higher starting salary to incoming vice presidents, something current interim administrators said would help stop turnover that has led to 29 different people serving in the four vice-presidential posts in the past decade.

Campaign Reform

Contributions to campaigns for Governing Board candidates will be limited to $1,000 per person per election under a new policy adopted by the Board. The district's legal counsel was also directed to work with the Superintendent/President and the Board's policy committee to consider any changes that may be needed to ensure the policy is enforceable.

Employee of the Quarter Janet Bynum and Interim Director of Human Resources Robert A. Unger

Student Services administrative secretary Janet Bynum was honored as Employee of the Quarter for January-March 2012.

In other employee-related action, the Board:

  • Approved the hiring of Lillian E. (Salazar) Leopold, APR, as Chief Public Information & Government Relations Officer and Estela Villegas as Food Service Worker.
  • Approved promotions or transfers for Angela Torres, Veronica Howard-Brooks and Rosalva Sandoval.
  • Accepted the resignations of custodian Josue Aguilar and public safety dispatcher Paulo Popon.

  Produced by the Office of Communications, Community and Government Relations
  Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA 91910-7299, (619) 421-6700

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