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No permanent president is a major issue

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

For a minute there, we thought there was going to be a new President for Palomar College.

On Nov. 17, just before the Thanksgiving break, a special closed session meeting of the Governing Board was held to consider its options for a new Superintendent/President. Their enigmatic decision was to close the current search.

The lack of transparency by the Governing Board raises a lot of questions. The hiring committee, for instance, certainly deserves to know the board’s reasoning after all the time, effort and resources put into finding appropriate candidates; and there’s the costs accrued in finding these candidates and getting them here for interviews and public forums.

This is a demeaning act on the Board’s part by totally disregarding the work done by members of the faculty, administration, staff, and the community without any warning at all – it’s like spitting in their eye.

It’s also an unprofessional act and a misuse of power by a seemingly arbitrary decision to disregard two candidates who have been led on for months.

We understand a certain amount of privacy is allotted in these situations, but it appears the board is hiding behind personnel laws to avoid being held accountable for the decision to ditch the current search.

On Oct. 15, 2014 President Robert Deegan announced his plan to retire June 30, 2015. The search process for finding a replacement began. It must be a lengthy process because it took one year to form a committee that ultimately narrowed down the pool to two candidates.

These two candidates, Dr. Lynn Neault from San Diego Community College District and Dr. Gregory Anderson, the VP of Instruction at Cańada College, had gone through the process of interviews and eliminations and participated in a public forum at Palomar on Nov. 6. Imagine how they feel now after finding out the search was dumped without any explanation. And were then told that they could re-apply in the next search.

At both public forums, Mike Popielski, VP of Human Resources and the moderator, said the Governing Board would be looking to make a final decision and have this position filled by January of 2016.

Adrian Gonzales, Palomar College's interim president, discusses campus issues at the Governing Board meeting at Palomar College on Sept. 9. Lou Roubitchek/The Telescope
Adrian Gonzales, Palomar College’s interim president, discusses campus issues at the Governing Board meeting at Palomar College on Sept. 9. Lou Roubitchek/The Telescope


Now Interim Superintendent/President Adrian Gonzales will continue to serve through the spring. He chaired the original hiring committee, which meant he could not be a candidate. When asked about his interest in applying now for the position, he remained neutral, and said he’s considering the impact it would make on his family.

Meanwhile, the faculty is demanding answers from the Board.

Greg Larson, Faculty Senate President and a hiring committee member, sent a campus-wide email asking faculty to attend the next Governing Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m.

Larson said, “There are people planning to address the Board regarding their deep concerns about the Board’s electing not to hire a new president at this time.”

In this same email addressed to all permanent and adjunct faculty Larson voiced deep concerns about the Board’s sudden decision saying “…not having a permanent president is a major issue.”

We agree with Larson. We urge you to attend the Dec. 8 meeting. We need answers and we need to know how the Board plans to achieve the expeditious goal of finding a new president.


Image Sources

  • Michelle Wilkinson/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved
  • Adrian Gonzalez 2015: Lou Roubitchek/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved
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