Outcry over new KCCD position
February 17, 2010
Filed under News
A new administrative position has been created at the district level that brought faculty and staff out from Bakersfield, Porterville and Cerro Coso Colleges to voice their concerns and protests at the Feb. 5 meeting of the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees.
The new position, Associate Chancellor of Communication and Government Relations, is reported to pay between $97,000 and $138,000 annually and is slated to be filled sometime in May or June of this year.
According to Andrea Garrison, president of the Community College Association, which is the representative union, her concern lies with fairness to KCCD students.
“I think we should serve students even though we’re not getting paid for it,” she said. “The adjunct faculty pay rate is $57.50 an hour and if you do the math, a new $100,000 a year salary would save and reintroduce about 33 sections back into our catalog.”
Garrison went on to indicate that if the sections weren’t added back into the catalog, the same money could be used to save two full-time faculty positions at BC.
Several staff and instructors spoke to the Board regarding financial and personnel cuts at all three campuses.
Leslie Reiman, anatomy and physiology instructor at BC, spoke to the board regarding waitlisted students.
“I had to turn away 14 students from my class, 14,” said Reiman. “I saw them break into tears because I had to tell them I couldn’t accept them into my class.”
Howard Silver, resident of Bakersfield, spoke in defense of Denise Crawford, former director of the Workability III program.
“Removal of Denise Crawford will be a huge blow to students,” he said. “I beg you to reconsider her release.” In response, Chairman Stuart Witt charged Board Chancellor Sandra Serrano with finding a resolution to her release.
Kathy Rosellini echoed the former remarks but stated them to the Board from the perspective of the counseling department.
“We’ve gone from 16 counselors to eight which is not enough to serve our students,” she said. “We’ve had to go from individual counseling sessions to group sessions because we just don’t have the manpower to continue doing what we need to do to help our students succeed.”
In a letter of resolution obtained by the Rip, the BC Academic Senate calls for the Board to suspend hiring both new administrative positions.
“The Bakersfield College Academic Senate calls upon the KCCD Board of Trustees to suspend the process of hiring both the General Counsel and Associate Chancellor, Communication and Government Relations positions until such time as the District can publicly document with objective data the cost savings and/or revenue generation that would justify these positions and that such positions are warranted based upon their existence at comparable districts.”
Tom Burke, district chief financial officer, defended the Board’s decision to create another position indicating the Board doesn’t have one unified voice to lobby for the district’s interests at the state and federal levels.
“Lobbying efforts at all levels will combine and complement well with career and technical education,” he said. “That in turn will enhance our ability to receive grant funding so we aren’t in the crisis we’re in now.”
He further indicated that everyone is facing cuts and reductions, even at the district level.
“We’re in the budget development process now and there will be reductions even in the Board’s budget that we don’t want to see,” he said. “Unfortunately, we’re all facing cuts.”