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Application process opens for PCC Governing Board appointment

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Application process opens for PCC Governing Board appointment

  • Kynn Bartlett/Wikimedia

Officials are taking applications from those interested in being appointed to the Pima Community College Governing Board seat left vacant when David Longoria resigned this week. Those interested in serving on an advisory committee to review candidates can also put their names forward.

Longoria resigned suddenly on Monday, with former aide to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry moving north to become chief of staff for Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor.

The process for filling his seat representing District 2, which encompasses much of the South Side and extends to Sahuarita, was laid out Friday morning by Pima County Superintendent of Schools Linda Arzoumanian, who will appoint his replacement to serve out the rest of his term, through the end of 2016.

Those interested in the appointment must have resided in the district for at least one year.

Interested in applying? Complete a questionnaire and submit it to Arzoumanian before 5 p.m. on Nov. 24.

A Community Advisory Committee will be set up by the county superintendent to help review the candidates. Those interested in serving on that committee should also apply by Nov. 24.

Arzoumanian will choose a PCC faculty member, a PCC staffer, and a PCC student, as well as a district resident and the owner of a business with the district to serve on the committee. She will also appoint to the committee a local school district superintendent, who will be selected directly and not from those who apply via the online form.

The date of the appointment has not yet been determined, but will depend on the number of interested candidates and the schedule of interviews, said Ricky Hernandez, the chief financial officer and spokesman for Arzoumanian's office.

Although Longoria resigned Monday, effective immediately, the college did not put out a news release for days and only posted an online notice on Tuesday.

Longoria was appointed to the PCC Board in February 2010 to fill a vacancy, and was then elected that November to serve from 2011 through 2016.

Pima Chancellor Lee Lambert sent an email to college employees about Longoria's resignation on Monday night, but the college did not inform the press, nor post a notice on its website until Tuesday. The college has attempted to muzzle staff, forbidding them from speaking to the press in a new policy this year. Last year, the Arizona Press Club board (of which I'm a member) voted to give PCC the annual Brick Wall Award, presented to the "most deceptive" government agency or official in the state, saying Pima "has promised much but delivered little in the area of openness and transparency."

Following the publication of this report Tuesday, PCC eventually put out a news release after 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

The email was rife with the sort of mutual back-patting common in resignation announcements.

"David is an experienced public servant who has worked tirelessly on projects that improve our county and has been an articulate and effective champion of PCC during his tenure on the board," Lambert wrote. "Please join me in expressing gratitude to David for his support of Pima Community College."

Longoria said he is "very thankful for the opportunity to have served my community as a board member ... I am endlessly grateful for the work, guidance and support that my colleagues throughout the organization, at every level, have selflessly continued to offer."

"I am extremely proud of my tenure on the board and what it has been able to accomplish during my service, but especially since hiring Chancellor Lee Lambert," Longoria wrote. "I am happy to have played a leading role in bringing him to Pima Community College, and am proud of the advances and growth the institution has achieved under his leadership and the current board's stewardship."

Longoria's resignation and replacement will be the second in months for Pima's leaders. Marty Cortez suddenly resigned from her West Side District 5 seat at the end of June after holding it for two decades. Martha Durkin, deputy Tucson city manager, was appointed to that empty seat in August.

With Longoria stepping down, just one of the members remain of the Governing Board that was reviewed as "dysfunctional" by the Higher Learning Commission as PCC was placed on probation by that accrediting body in 2013. Scott Stewart of District 4 on the East Side has a term that runs through next year.

The other members of the Governing Board are District 3's Sylvia Lee, elected in 2012 for a 2013-2018 term, and District 1's Mark Hanna, elected last year for a term running through 2020.

The college was placed on probation by accreditors — putting at risk both federal financial aid and students' ability to transfer course credits — in part because of what HLC investigators termed "a culture of fear and retribution that pervaded the administration of the college."

Although the school was taken off probation in March, PCC remains "on notice" by the HLC. Accreditors will continue to monitor progress as improvements are made.

As Lambert was appointed in 2013, after the college was put on probation, he said he would model "important behaviors that start to open the door to a new way of transparency and a sense of openness."

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