In the past 24 hours, CCE President Anel Gonzalez has delivered powerful and incisive statements to the Board of Trustees.
At the 10/8/2019 Governing Board meeting, Trustee Evilsizer insinuated that the College was in danger of becoming "Mississippi with palm trees". Several speakers - including President Gonzalez - used their speaking time to roundly condemn this characterization.
Anel Gonzalez's response was fire.
"As a woman of color - I find Trustee Evilsizer's comment about this being Mississippi with palms - incredibly insulting. As a matter of fact, using perceived bigotry as an excuse to not take accountability is alarming"
In addition, President Anel Gonzalez sent this powerful and pointed letter to the Board of Trustees, reminding them that the trustees have a duty to put the College's health and well-being first. President Gonzalez gave us permission to share this e-mail on the blog.
From: "Gonzalez, Anel" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: October 7, 2019 at 4:39:58 PM PDT Subject: October 8, 2019 - Agenda
Palomar College Governing Board, Unfortunately, since our request to be granted the right of access to the Board meeting (finding a larger room) was not approved, we are making this comment in writing. On behalf of CCE, I respectfully ask that you table agenda item R2 – Consideration and Approval of an Employment Agreement between the District and Superintendent/President until the time that the District has received the complete FCMAT report, comprehensively addressed issues outlined below and has adopted an action plan to move the District into financial solvency. You were elected to provide Palomar College with leadership so that we could serve our students and community. As Fiscal Stewards of our District it has always been the board’s responsibility to make and approve appropriate fiscal decisions. In your public meetings, it has been stated time and time again that we have been deficit spending and headed the wrong direction for many years. Yet, as you may remember, somehow in 2016-2017 our budget was balanced (by using apportionment from 15-16) and you approved the raise to the President’s salary of approximately $60K to the current $292K. You approved lifetime benefits for your employee that I pointed out back then, that no other employee before 1994 receives at this institution. Now the board is about to approve a new contract that includes a COLA amount of 3.26% ($9,500) for this employee. Typically, organizations do not increase the pay of their leaders when an organization is facing a fiscal crunch. I urge you once again to table this contract and that instead you address some of these very real issues before you consider approving that contract:
- The District keeps hiring hourly employees to do classified work in direct violation of the Ed Code.
- The District refuses to replace essential classified positions due to a hiring freeze.
- There is no current plan to re-pay the $5,000,000 we borrowed from our retirement fund 69. (I asked that question personally at the budget committee and heard that answer from VP Garcia).
- There are credible articles in credible publications such as medium.com that include questionable business practices by this employee, including reimbursements for international travel not approved by the board.
- There is no internal equity in wages for AA & CAST due to their reclassification being tabled, putting the District at risk of losing more crucial leadership.
- The President has not been held accountable for making impulsive fiscal decisions that have fast-tracked our budgetary crisis, such as hiring 40 full-time Faculty in one year or opening two centers at the same time, both seemingly without analyzing the financial burden these actions have placed the District in. In the past, the board has been accused of rubber-stamping essential items without critical analysis. Today we need you to lead by example and be transparent, showing us that you are taking the necessary steps for fiscal stewardship. As you all know, this is one of your responsibilities as elected officials. We, your constituents, ask that item R2 is pulled to be considered once the issues that you are now aware of (if not before) are addressed. Classified staff have always risen above specially when we are asked to do more with less. We are all part of this team and we all want the best for our students and community. We all play essential roles that are vital for the District and we are hopeful that you can lead our team to better times. Respectfully, Anel Gonzalez President CCE/AFT Local 4522 760-744-1150 ext.2584 Working People Standing Together