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Board Watch (Fall/Spr 2017-18) Update #1

Click here to view the accompanying Score Card for this update.

Fall 2017

BOT Meeting (18 Oct 2017) – Commence Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Negotiations Proposal

The Board of Trustees (BOT) received the initial proposal to begin CBA negotiations for the 2018-21 contract. Public comments for this opened Nov 15 under Item 7 and 8, and the Board accepted the union’s proposal.

BOT Meeting (6 Dec 2017) – BOT Leadership Nominations and Voting

The BOT voted to keep Zurich Lewis as Board President, they voted Dr. Shin Liu as Vice President, and Martha Camacho-Rodriguez as Board clerk. Camacho-Rodriguez was also appointed as annual representative to the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association. The BOT also approved the “Golden Handshake” (Item 33) and their 2018 meeting dates.

Spring 2018

BOT Meeting (17 Jan 2018) – Zebra Café, Frantones, and Fresh & Natural

The BOT heard from students, faculty and community members about the sudden notification that Zebra Cafe, Frantones, and Fresh & Natural would not remain on campus. The BOT decided not to award an agreement with Campus Food Services, Inc., but continue the current vendor contracts through May 2019. Every board member, except Trustee Comacho-Rodriguez, addressed the issue in their comments.  However, Camacho-Rodriguez is the only trustee who reached out to the Cerritos College Faculty Federation (CCFF) before the meeting to find out how faculty felt about this issue. The other trustees asked about the Request for Proposal (RFP) process and mentioned that it seemed broken if so many people were upset. Trustee Salazar explained that, even though the board consistently set policies to ensure small and local businesses participate in district projects, awarding food service contracts is the only area we’ve been successful in. Meanwhile, the District will reattempt the RFP process with greater input from all constituent groups, while emphasizing a preference for small, locally-owned businesses to bid on the contracts.

BOT Meeting (7 Feb 2018) – Part-Time Counselors

The Board Room overflowed with supporters for PT Counseling Faculty. The District planned to lay off 13 PT counselors due to a drop in Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) funds. Two more would have their hours reduced. CCFF negotiated more notice for these faculty, but wanted to bring the issue to the Board’s attention because only approximately $140,000 is needed to allow the counselors to continue providing 144 hours/week of counseling service for our students until the end of the semester. This amount is less than 0.07 % of the $2 million surplus from last year, and less than 0.005% of the $28.7 million in unrestricted funds.

This is the only time the District attempted to lay off people mid-semester.  Such layoffs have never occurred, even during the Great Recession.

Four of those threatened with layoffs or reduced hours spoke.  Both full-time (FT) colleagues and students spoke to support counselors. Stephanie Rosenblatt, Union President and Michelle Lewellen, Faculty Senate President, also spoke on the issue during their reports.

While Board members can’t respond directly to public comments for items not on the agenda, Board members can comment during their reports  just before closed session.  Four BOTs (Student Trustee Avalos, and Trustees Comacho-Rodriguez, Birkey, and Lewis)  thanked faculty for coming and speaking. Avalos asked that the counselor’s issue be agendized for the next meeting.This sentiment was shared by Comacho-Rodriguez. Lewis, the Board President, stated at the meeting’s closing that this item would be agendized. Board members Perez, Avalos, Liu, and Salazar had no comment.