PCC holding public forums with chancellor candidates | Pima Community College
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Pima Community College

PCC holding public forums with chancellor candidates

The four candidates for permanent leader of Pima Community College will meet with the public this week in evening forums.

The public sessions will be held at the in the Community Board Room (C-105) of PCC's District Office, 4905 E. Broadway. Each will begin at 5:30 p.m. and last for about an hour, college spokesman C.J. Karamargin said.

Prior to the public forums, the candidates will meet with Pima employees from 3-4 p.m. All the meetings will be live-streamed on the PCC website.

The forum schedule:

  • Monday: Lee D. Lambert, J.D., President, Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, Wash.
  • Tuesday: Terrence J. Burgess, Ph.D., President, San Diego City College, San Diego, Calif.·
  • Wednesday: Greg P. Smith, Ph.D., President, Central Community College, Grand Island, Neb.
  • Thursday: Elñora Tena Webb, Ph.D., President, Laney College, Oakland, Calif.

Pima has been without a permanent CEO since former Chancellor Roy Flores resigned a year ago. The college was led an interim chancellor, Suzanne Miles, who stepped down earlier this month and assumed the presidency of PCC's Community Campus. Miles was replaced by community college veteran Zelema Harris, hired on a temporary basis to fill the chancellor's post until a permanent college leader can be chosen.

That search is proceeding despite opposition from PCC faculty, staff and some business leaders. Pima officials have said they want to have a new chancellor in place by July 1.

Members of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, a private group of local business leaders, said last week they plan to push the resignation of Pima College board members, and would back a recall effort if the longtime Governing Board members remain in office.

The SALC joined PCC faculty and staff groups last week in asking the board to halt a search for a permanent chancellor for the school.

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The PCC Faculty Senate and Staff Council each voted last month to call for the resignation of four of the five Governing Board members, and for the chancellor search to be halted until they can be replaced.

Board Chair Brenda 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. The four boardmembers have declined to respond to requests for comment on the call for their resignations.

SALC President Ron Shoopman wrote Friday to PCC Governing Board members that Harris, the retired head of St. Louis Community College who started at Pima last week, should be given time to stabilize the school, which was placed on a two-year probation by the Higher Learning Commission earlier this month.

If Pima presses ahead toward a stated goal of finding a permanent chancellor by July 1, Harris' ability to deal with the probation "will be limited as she will be perceived as a 'lame duck' leader," Shoopman told board members.

Faculty, staff call for resignations, search halt

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 two weeks ago.

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.

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