Saturday, September 1, 2012

The August BOT meeting: neither live nor direct

Brandye D got excited 'bout the
IVC A400 remodel project
     [Please see Tere's "Board Meeting Highlights"]
     Normally, I attend meetings of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees, but, on Monday, something came up. Missed the meeting.
     So this afternoon, I watched “streaming video” of the meeting, although, in truth, I think I fell asleep for some of it.
     As always, the meeting started with Clerk Marcia Milchiker reading out actions taken during closed session. She reported two actions, including the rejection of a “claim” made by a classified manager. The vote was 4-0, with trustees Bill Jay, Dave Lang, and Jim Wright abstaining.
     What’s that all about? The agenda for the closed session includes this item: “Anticipated Litigation/Significant Exposure to Litigation ... Claim of Tracy Daly.” I like Tracy, but she was considered close to the Mathur regime, and so when he left (it was a Nixonian exodus) she seemed to disappear into I-know-not-what.
     Bill Jay did the invocation, which started with the words “Dear heavenly father….” I think Bill was communicating more with his worldly audience than with the Lord. It seems to me that, if you address the Lord, then you really ought to address the Lord, and not the knuckleheads in the room or out there in TV Land. Accordingly, you ought to have something to say. I wish these trustees agreed.
     Naturally, there were no public comments. It’s Orange County.
     Next came board reports. Nothing special was reported. Mike Meldau, who’s chosen to retire from the board (not wishing to compete for his seat), said he had attended a tour of the newly refurbished Student Health Center at Saddleback College, and he was pretty excited about it. So was Marcia Milchiker, who seemed to announce that, on Sept. 17, the center would provide “free flea shots.” Marcia had also attended lots of the inservice activities, though none of that seemed to take. She was plenty excited about the “35” new faculty hires. Who isn’t?
     Newbie trustee Jim Wright also attended some inservice activities, and he seemed really to like the chancellor’s opening session, held at IVC, which he pronounced “very well done.” He had visited the newly fixed up Saddleback Library, too. It looks “wonderful,” he said.
     (Recently, some Saddleback faculty told me that the continuing disruptions caused by the library remodel were intolerable—scandalously so. They seemed especially snarky about a certain administrator.)
     Student trustee Park had lots to say. She’s been busy making appearances, I guess.

Wry non-remarks 'bout
Padbergian snubbage
     Board President Nancy Padberg then moved on to other business, but Dave Lang then noted that, once again, she had skipped over the goshdarned Chancellor’s report. Gary (Poertner, Chancellor) muttered that he could think of some wisecracks, but he'd leave 'em to himself while the cameras are rolling.
     That Gary can be pretty funny. (Sadly, his drollery was the highlight of the evening.)
     Gary reported that he appreciated seeing all the indications that folks are joining in the district’s “student completion” initiative, launched this summer. Tonight, he said, we’d hear from the two Academic Senates, and there would be many further presentations (by the senates, I think) in the coming months. With regard to this completion business, Gary once again stated that “we should be a leader in the state.”
     There were no trustee requests for reports.
     (Gary must be pleased. The current board doesn’t look for trouble, and the trustees generally proceed reasonably, and so meetings are strictly snore-worthy. How I long for the days when Steve would lecture us about “liars” and the "ADL" and Don would carp about “liberal busybodies” among librarians. And Tom’s staunch face alone could send small children and animals screaming into the night.)
     As you know, Bob "Buzzin' Bee" Cosgrove and Kathy "New Girl" Schmeidler are the presidents of our two Academic Senates. The two came up for the discussion item: “Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College: Role of the Academic Senate in Education Program Development.”
     Bob started off with a fine quip: that we'll just hire some consultants for all this work.
     After that, Bob and Kathy took turns squawkin’. In a fairly brief presentation, they laid out the academic senates’ role, starting with the verbiage in Title 5 and board policy re “delegation of authority” by the board to the senates. “We are the only ones who can develop curriculum,” said Kathy, with profoundly subtle snarkitude. She and Bob went on to explain how much faculty do beyond their teaching, what with committee work and program development and SLOs and whatnot. I think these two were softening up the trustees for future contract negotiations.
     After that, some sharpie—from Smith Barney—got up to discuss the health of the “retiree trust fund.” Not much has happened to the market in recent years, he joked. In fact, of course, buttloads have happened, including the Crash of 2008, but, despite it all, the fund has performed nearly 5% per year(?) since 2008.

Smith Barney sharpie
     Barney Boy yammered about Greece and the EU and all the wackiness of Europe. It’s hard to say what will happen next, he said. And so, as our investment consultant, he’s trying to keep a “balanced approach.”
     Nancy seemed pleased. “Sounds like you’re doing a pretty good job,” she non-joked. When Nancy said “sounds,” she meant “sounds.”
     The trustees discussed that big-assed golf driving range down at Saddleback. Apparently, geezers aren’t using it nearly as much as they once did, and so some kind of management adjustment has to be made.
     At one point, the board discussed the new Bio building project up at Irvine Valley College. Back in December (I think), the contractor went belly-up, but then that “surety” business kicked in—you know, the insurance for such emergencies. Brandye D did most of the ‘splainin’. The upshot seems to be that 3 or 4 new contractors are competing to take over the job, and that process should be settled within a couple of weeks. As a result of the delay, we are down maybe a million bucks, but I think she said we might be able to recover 40% of that.
     In response to one of Lang’s zingers, for some reason, Brandye got all excited—“It’s so exciting!” she said—and mentioned moving forward soon with the A400 remodel project at IVC.
     I think maybe Brandye is aware that some of the natives are restless over at IVC. And though no one appreciates Brandye's squeally enthusiasms more than I do, I think she underoverestimates their power to soothe the savage breast.
     While we’re on the subject (of breasts? savages? construction?), my dean always insists that, if it weren’t for VPI Craig J, H&L (my school) would never have gotten this building.
     Just sayin’.
     Next came the two student government kids with their budgets. The IVC kid gave a very brief report. Lang zeroed in on some requested allocation for $3k that produced an allocation of $13k. What’s that all about? I think the kid said that the “bookstore repair” was an unexpected expense. Oh.
     Not sure, but maybe that’s a reference to the recent discovery of the Mold Monster under that shitty old temporary that houses the bookstore. That discovery led to a decision to move the bookstore into B100, displacing various classes (ESL and whatnot). Those classes ended up in shitty temporaries.
     (To hear IVC administrators tell it, the story goes like this: Nixon/Agnew joined their bookstore colleagues in a routine inspection of the building, and then, surprise surprise, mold was discovered! Who'd've thunk?! With the cooperation of affected Schools/departments, Craig and Co. quickly moved classes out of B100 and in those CEC temporaries. Owing to this emergency, soon, the bookstore will move to B100, where it was fated to go anyway [years from now], according to the facilities master plan.
     (So, is that how it all came down? Golly, d'ya suppose there's more to the story?)

The Kathy and Bob Show: faculty do much work
     The Saddleback kid was equally brief. He yammered a bit about all the money dedicated to “student scholarships and cocurricular activities.” Lang or somebody noted that, in fact, they’re spending less this year than last year on that stuff, and so the kid explained that, yeah, but they’re spending more than they first said they would. Oh.
     As I recall, in the past, trustees, especially the late Tom Fuentes, have been troubled by the SC student government budget starting always with a big “rollover” from the year before. Not good. (What's the point of taking all this money and hanging on to it?) So it looks like they’re trying to address that. I dunno. I sure miss old Tom. He sure could make trouble. That was his special talent.
     VC Deb Fitzsimmons gave a relatively brief presentation on the district budget, which is lots like the last budget, I guess. That’s about when I fell asleep.
     For what it’s worth, had I actually been to the meeting, I think I would have fallen asleep at exactly the same spot.

3 comments:

  1. Kathy did most of the squawkin’ which is an IVC trait I believe.

    Nice to have BOT meetings move along so rapidly. Many thanks to the Chancellor and BOT members.

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  2. Brandye is delightful. So is X.

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  3. Debra and Brandye both great! So glad they were hired!

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