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Posted Apr 20, 2013, 5:29 pm
Pima Community College announced the selection of four chancellor finalists Saturday as the school seeks to pick a leader by July. Pima has been without a permanent CEO for over a year, and the school was placed on probation by accreditors last week.
Public forums with each candidate will be held soon, college spokesman C.J. Karamargin said.
The four picked by a search advisory committee are:
Burgess was also selected as a finalist in an earlier Pima search that was scrapped when the other finalist withdrew her name after she was linked to an overbilling scandal.
Dr. Maria C. Sheehan, president of Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, dropped out in February after PCC officials learned of fudged enrollment and $5.2 million in overbilling during her tenure at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif.
Rather than appoint Burgess by default, Pima officials fired the search consultant who didn't discover Sheehan's troubles, and hired the Association of Community College Trustees to work as executive search consultants.
In a parallel effort, the same group came up with finalists to replace PCC's interim chancellor, Suzanne Miles, who announced in March that she would step down after the Higher Learning Commission issued a report that pointed to management issues and a “culture of fear” at the school.
Earlier this month, PCC hired a retired Missouri community college head, Zelema Harris, to head the college on a contract basis while the search for a permanent chancellor continued.
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PCC has lacked a permanent chancellor since Roy Flores was replaced by Miles on an interim basis in February 2012. He had been on medical leave since October 2011, and ended his contract with the school on June 30, 2012.
The co-chairs of the ctizen's Search Advisory Committee, PCC Governing Board Chair Brenda Even and Boardmember David Longoria announced the four finalists Saturday afternoon.
Each finalists will visit Pima in the coming weeks to meet with the public, Pima faculty and employees.
"The public interviews are a top priority and will be scheduled sometime very soon," Karamargin said.
Faculty, staff call for search delay
While the Governing Board is pushing to install a new chancellor by July 1, PCC faculty and staff have called for a halt in the search.
The Faculty Senate and Staff Council have both called for the resignation of four of the five Governing Board members over the ongoing administrative troubles at the school.
The faculty will continue to press for the resignation of four of the five PCC Board members, Faculty Senate President Joe Labuda said earlier this week.
Board members Even, Longoria, Marty Cortez and Scott Stewart are "an impediment to change" and should step down, said a resolution passed last month by the college's faculty representatives. The only member not targeted is newly elected Sylvia Lee — who has also called for the rest of the Board to resign.
Even and the other Board members have declined to answer questions on the call for their resignations, but given indications that they will stay on. In a recent meeting, Even told the Faculty Senate she won't resign.
Probation "gives that much more motivation to go forward" with moves to oust the Board majority, Labuda said. "We don't see us coming out of this probation with the same Board we have now."
Faculty members have also called for a search for a permanent chancellor to be halted until a new Board can be seated.
"Don't pursue the chancellor search just to have it done," Labuda said. Faculty members would prefer to work with the interim chancellor to "clear things up," he said.
"Dr. Harris has some experience with HLC issues," Labuda said.
Lee echoed concerns about proceeding with the search for a permanent college CEO, calling Harris an "outstanding chancellor."
Speaking last month, Labuda acknowledged that while the faculty don't have legal authority to force resignations, but said "we have the moral authority within the college."
Labuda said that he would support a recall that targeted the four Board members if they refuse to resign.