Wednesday, July 16, 1997

The notorious "Reorg," 1997


From The Dissenter’s Dictionary (12/99)

     During a closed board meeting on July 16, 1997, the board majority, amid protests by the board minority (each of whom walked out), boldly reorganized the district, eliminating 10 IVC faculty school chairs and replacing them with 5 deans imported from Saddleback College. The action had been agendized as a "personnel action," since, according to the BROWN ACT, such actions are among the few permitted during closed session. Eventually, OC Superior Court Judge Tully Seymour ruled that, through these actions, the board had violated the Brown Act, for it had failed properly to agendize the matter and had engaged in an action--a reorganization--that, by law, must be done in public, not in closed session.
     The reorganization came as a surprise, for (as trustee Lang later explained) neither administrators nor shared governance groups had been consulted, and, indeed, the Sorenson Group (consultants hired to help the district with its organizational problems) strongly advised against the board taking actions absent discussion with shared governance groups. Indeed, at IVC, only days earlier, faculty were assured by Acting President Mathur that no such action would be contemplated until the fall, when faculty returned from summer vacation. In fact, however, Mathur was the key figure in the planning and execution of the reorganization, and his assurances were lies. All of this is revealed in legal declarations provided in connection with Bauer II.
     In a sworn declaration dated 9/8/98, Bob Loeffler (then IVC VP of Business Services) writes that, "In May of 1997, during an executive meeting of the three VPs and interim President Mathur, Mathur directed VP Burgess to develop a plan for the reorganization of the administrative structure of the college. Mathur...wanted VP [Terry] Burgess to develop a plan to institute a 'Dean Model' for the College." According to Burgess, when he then placed the topic of reorganization on the agenda for discussion at a May 13, 1997, Instructional Council meeting, he received a formal reprimand from Mathur: "Mathur stated that the development of the plan to eliminate the ten academic divisions and create four or five new divisions was supposed to be developed in confidence." Mathur then directed Burgess to "inform the Instructional Council that he would accept their recommendation to delay the planning process relevant to the reorganization until...the faculty, staff, and students returned from summer break."
     But the secret planning continued: "Mathur directed me to confidentially continue the development of the plan to eliminate the ten academic divisions at the college and to create four or five new academic divisions...Since I knew that...Mathur's public announcement to delay the planning process was deceptive, when I developed the administrative reorganization plan..., I modified the names of the academic divisions [e.g., the name of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences] so that I could subsequently identify my work...On July 16, 1997, the Board Majority adopted the five-dean model that I had prepared at Mathur's direction. President Mathur had submitted a copy of my plans to the Board Majority and they adopted the five-dean model without modification, including the deliberate changes I had made in the names of the academic divisions." (From a legal declaration, 9/11/98.)
     The BM's motives for the reorganization were probably complex. The school chairs, as faculty, could express objections to BM (and Mathurian) policies and actions with near impunity, and this the autocratic BM could not abide. At the same time, the Old Guard has aways hated IVC's school chair model, perhaps owing to its blurring of the line between faculty and administration. Further, in a faculty chair system, faculty are empowered, but only insofar as they participate in governance, which lazy faculty--those represented by the Old Guard, especially at IVC--are unlikely to do. Thus, do-nothing faculty inevitably views the faculty chair system as "inequitable."
     At a board meeting on January 25, 1999, Trustee Fortune acknowledged that the July '97 reorganization was "too extreme" in its creation of "big divisions."

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