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Governing Board votes to close presidential search

Photo illustration. Michelle Wilkinson/The Telescope
Photo illustration. Michelle Wilkinson/The Telescope

Palomar College has closed their current search for a new president.

The Governing Board voted unanimously in closed session to close the current search and not hire either of the two finalists submitted by the hiring committee, according to an email sent out by Palomar’s Human Resources department.

The email also stated that a new search would re-open “in the near future.”

“The fact that we had a president for 10 years, I would imagine, has the board being cautious about who they bring forward,” Interim President Adrian Gonzales said of the decision.

“Certainly as an interim [president] and as an employee of the district, I would love for them to have selected someone here in December,” Gonzales added, “but it’s not unheard of.”

But not everyone on campus is happy about the decision.

Anthropology professor Phil DeBarros said in an email sent to Palomar faculty that he was “very disturbed by this decision, especially since we don’t really know why this was done, leaving people to speculate.”

He added that it was a “strong blow to shared governance to say the least.”

In another email, Faculty Senate President Greg Larson, who was also part of the presidential hiring committee, encouraged faculty members to attend the Dec. 8 Governing Board meeting.

He added that many members of the campus community are planning to address the Board directly.

Some of the criticisms against the Board’s decision include its lack of transparency.

“I think the interesting thing is that we don’t know why they made that decision,” ESL Professor Lawrence Lawson said. “I think that they owe the people that voted them into office an answer to that question.”

The college has been searching for a new president since Robert Deegan retired earlier this year. Gonzales will continue to serve as the interim president in the meantime.

When asked whether or not he would consider taking on the president’s position, Gonzales said that he has not given it consideration but isn’t opposed to the idea.

“What it’ll come down to largely is where I’m at in my current career and how it may impact my family, then I’ll make a decision off of that,” Gonzalez said.

The two finalists selected by the hiring committee were Dr. Lynn Neault, vice chancellor of Student Services for the San Diego Community College district, and Dr. Gregory Anderson, the vice president of Instruction at Cañada College in Redwood, California.

Both candidates participated in individual public forums in November, where they were asked questions written in by Palomar’s campus community.

“I enjoyed learning about the college, I enjoyed the whole process. It’s a great college,” Dr. Neault said of the hiring process. Dr. Anderson, who had been talking to The Telescope before the decision, stopped returning calls once the board closed the search.

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  • Michelle Wilkinson/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved
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