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Demion Clinco to fill vacant PCC Governing Board seat
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Demion Clinco to fill vacant PCC Governing Board seat

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A former state lawmaker and local historical preservation activist has been appointed to fill the seat on the Pima College Board left empty when David Longoria abruptly resigned in October. Demion Clinco will serve out the remainder of a term that runs through December 2016.

Clinco said he is "incredibly honored to have been chosen to serve."

"PCC is so important to our region and our economic future," he said.

The pick was announced by Pima County School Superintendent Linda Arzoumanian on Monday morning.

Arzoumanian said that the Community Advisory Committee she appointed to review applicants for the post "was impressed with Mr. Clinco's knowledge of Pima Community College's financial background, his desire to be directly involved in working with the students and his wish to continue developing transparency about PCC with the community."

"A goal Mr. Clinco expressed in his interview was the need to continue developing systems that will help PCC move away from being 'on notice' from the Higher Learning Commission," she said.

Four Pima County residents asked to be appointed to the seat. The others were Georgia  Brousseau, a former PCC Board member and retired TUSD principal; Miguel Cuevas, an ex-member of the TUSD Board; and Rene Teyechea, a social studies teacher at Desert View High School.

Clinco was appointed to the state House of Representatives in February 2014, but the Democrat lost in the general election later that year. He is the head of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation.

Clinco now represents PCC District 2, which encompasses much of the South Side and extends to Sahuarita, and will serve through the end of next year. The seat will be on the November ballot for a regular six-year term.

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

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.

Longoria's resignation and replacement were 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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