Monday, December 6, 2010

The December board meeting: live and direct! (Night of the Niggler)

Years of mediocrity (or worse) deserve a kind of recognition •
December 6:
˜ a trifling complaint, dispute, or criticism.˜
     Got here seven minutes late, owing to bad traffic. The December "organizational" meeting is underway, with Nancy P (board Vice President) presiding:

     Nancy Padberg is nominated for Prez (by Marcia, I think). Wins (with Fuentes voting against, I believe; Fuentes had nominated Marcia for Prez, but Marcia declined the nomination "at this time").
     TJ Prendergast unanimously elected as VP. (I do believe that Bill Jay nominated him.)
     Bill Jay nominates Marcia Milchiker for Clerk. She is elected unanimously.

     I gather from all this that TJ Prendergast has already been sworn in. He's got a huge basket of fruit (or something) looming before him on the dais. The scene is festive and absurd.

     The trustees take a short break to "switch chairs." --But wait! Family members in the audience must be introduced: Milchikers and Prendergastians.

     (My "informants" told me that Fuentes would be absent tonight. Alas, he's present. But he does seem isolated. People now form in small groups all over the Ronnie Reagan Room. A party atmosphere. Karla Westphal suddenly appears at my shoulder; she briefly reports today's hearing re the "prayer" lawsuit. Sounds encouraging, albeit complex.)

Fuentes v. Padberg (and "other forces")
7:00 we're baaaaaaaack!

     Facilities corporation meeting (tedium itself)
     Nancy's on her best behavior. Terribly pleasant from the start. Fuentes looks nasty. Hisses.
     Back to the regular meeting:

2.6: Resolution

     Rez for John "Orlando Boy" Williams. He looks terribly solemn as the Rez is read. Gary P is by his side, prepared to catch Johnny should he swoon. Marcia reads all the whereas'es. Ha! They credit him with the district's big cash reserve! He and his benighted crew are the ones who got us on the state's fiscal watch list for letting it dip too low! Good grief! Why not give 'em a prize for the most trips to Orlando! -- On and on it goes. Williams "ays" his own resolution. He's getting a standing O. Good grief.
     John gets up on his hind legs and speaks:
     "I've had many fond memories.... One big thrill was presenting service pins to my own professors! Capital improvements.... (Takes credit for all tech developments.) We're debt free. Thanks, college community....Thank you."
     Roquemore comes up with a plaque with numerous whereas's on it. Next comes Prez Burnett. "We're very sad to see you retire...." "You'll be greatly missed." Burnett brings up a pathetic little scroll--evidently, they were caught with their pants down. A promissory note for a key, I think. Bought at Target, it seems.
     No public comments. Natch.

Board reports:

Bill Jay: John has been "...a stalwart figure....." (Translation: he's kinda plump.) Rubina is retiring. Very sad to hear that. You dealt with "all the big egos." You always have a smile for everyone..."We just all love you, kiddo."
John Williams: Wishes Rubina well. Attended Faculty Association reception. (His hair shifts forward. I fear a cascade.)
Marcia Milchiker: "I am wearing my 25 year service pin," she announces, inexplicably. Fond farewell to trustee John Williams. He has brought lots of really good things to the district. (Well, hair. Snaps of Orlando.) I was devastated to hear that you (Rubina) are retiring. You're always gracious and calm.  Keep in touch, both of you! (Looks to TJ Prendergast.) Congrats, etc.
TJ Prendergast: Nancy alludes to the big gift basket. (From Burnett.) Also got a briefcase. TJ: Amazing amount of outpouring of support...thank you." Thanks, Rubina, who did "3 or 4 things for me." Funny.
Nancy Padberg: Rubina, we're all just shocked. Thank you for everything. Attended FA event. Saddleback football. (Sound gremlins plague the meeting thus far. Evidently, the problem is cell phones in the room.)
Tom Fuentes: Godspeed to both of you, he says. (If I were God, I'd be pissed.) TJ, welcome aboard.
Dave Lang: Thanks, Rubina. Sad to hear about your decision, John. You epitomize a kind of achievement in our system. (Yeah: sucking the taxpayer dry.) Happy holidays.

Chancellor's report: expresses gratitude to BoT. Grateful, humble. Delighted to be back. ...Happy holidays.


Board requests for reports:
Nancy: seeks study of construction of a new football stadium at Saddleback College. Present facilities inadequate. Fuentes seems to find Nancy's request to be deficient: who will do the study? Answer: Staff. They'll build upon studies already done. Fuentes: is this report fiscal, economic? Report about what? Padberg: want to know whether the present facilities are adequate. Lang: my concern: we should discuss this in the context of basic aid monies. There may be higher priority projects in this district. Padberg: couldn't agree with you more. Unanimous approval.

Nancy's second request: report on construction of a science building at Saddleback College. If we wait for state money, the thing will never be built, she says. Nancy expects someone to motion accordingly. Silence. Eventually, Marcia meekly (ambivalently?) motions. Unanimous. (See Lariat.)

Advance item 6.1: audit report
     (Microphone doesn't work.) Jim G of the auditing firm (with Dan Thomson) present findings. (Another gremlin: no sound.) Based upon our examination, financial statement of the district fairly presents things. (That was about it. Men of few words, I guess. They sure looked like bean-counters.)
Padberg: What about IVC community education? (At November's meeting, Glenn and Craig were on the hot seat re that category of instruction, which runs a deficit.)
     Auditor: Yes, there is a deficit in that fund. It's been there for a "long period of time." But it is beginning to grow." It should be addressed "at some point in time." We'll come back about this and other things; it won't be forgotten.


     Marcia: this was a very good audit. "They said that everything else looks good." Fuentes: motion to approve? Accept? Which is it? Padberg snippily corrects the discrepancy. (This appears to be the theme for the evening: Fuentes dings Nancy for every little error. Nancy cheerfully accepts this--up to a point. This is the point. Her eyes cloud with venom.)

     6.2 Hillpointe/Promenade apartments. Chancellor: gives rosy report, essentially. Prendergast: why are we leasing an apartment complex? Burnett: we don't lease the apartments, but the land, yes. It is a wonderful, steady income for the district. Students live there.

     Next: 6.9 Land exchange/ATEP
     Fuentes says he will vote yes, but says he has "considerable reservations and concerns" regarding ATEP. But this doesn't touch on that difference, so he'll vote for it. Unanimous.


     6.11: resolution to support SB 1440. Mickey M comes up to explain the senate bill. Concerns transfer of community college students to CSU. I'm afraid she's got 1 or 2 too many acronyms in her presentation. The board seems lost, bored (but who knows). Nancy explains that the resolution came from the Community College League.
     Lang: costs? Is there a case against it? Mickey: yes, there was some opposition re the 18 units. But the law passed. Costs? I'm not a money person. Blah blah blah. Marcia: the high schools are already marketing it. Blah blah blah. Mickey explains the tedious details. Poertner clarifies: this legislation has passed. The resolution isn't about that. Look at last paragraph. A rez to expedite implementation. Fuentes: I have no problem with the concept. Procedurally, is a rez the way to do this? This is a rez talking to ourselves. Would a board policy be more appropriate? (Nancy attempts to suppress massive eye-rolling.) Gary: don't need a board policy. Gary essentially defends the rez.

     9.1: Establishing procedure for appointment of provisional board member. Gary explains what the law requires. Must set up process within sixty days. This way is the least expensive, by far. We went through this before. Last time, we were forced into an election, which cost us $800,000 (the Fortune/Norby/Jay affair).
     Milchiker: I favor this. Since there won't be a general election, we've pretty much got no choice.


     Fuentes insists that he has pressed his button to speak but is being ignored. Padberg notes that others seem to have no problem with their buttons.
     Organized labor had a say in getting you elected, says Fuentes to Jay. We have to take these actions [the procedure to select a trustee] with "eyes wide open." Sometimes other forces have other ideas than the board. For taxpayer efficiency and economy, it would certainly seem that an appointment (as opposed to an election) would be appropriate. But when we do something like this, we have to be fully aware that it can at times trigger special interests expressing their view as well. And that's why you're here [looking at Jay]."
     (Fuentes is referring to the complex events following trustee Dorothy Fortune's scandalous resignation, about five or six years ago. Before that, back in 2000, when Frogue resigned, the board pulled a fast one and got Fuentes appointed. The second time--with Fortune's resignation--the union was prepared and mucked up Fuentes' effort to get his pal Eric Norby [brother of right-winger Chris] appointed. Eric N is associated with the far-right think tank Claremont Institute, where Fuentes serves on the board.
     I guess crazy right-wingers aren't a special interest.)
     Marcia says: if there are people out there [in TV land] interested, you might apply!
     Williams: you have a few weeks before the sixty days start. Nancy: we're asking the lawyers.
     Prendergast quips: If my brother's watching, "No, you're not eligible." Laughter. Item passes unanimously.
     Jay: worries about how long we have to get this appointment done. Nancy counters: no worry. Asking lawyers. On top of it. Asks Poertner to speak to this: his understanding: must do this within 60 days from day of the notice. The date of the notice was Dec. 2. That's what's important. Not Dec. 31 (actual resignation date). Lang: would be more appropriate to poll the members of the board to come up with date.
     They discuss a special meeting to interview trustee candidates. Prendergast: can we interview and make decision at same meeting? Padberg: yes, that's how it's done. Williams: I've been through three of these. Interviews are open and public. Nothing done in closed session. Can be done in one meeting. Poertner: One advantage in doing this on the 13th, if there are issues that require clarification, can come back on the 20th to settle. Don't have to do it in one night. So the motion is to have a meeting on the 13th (of January). Marcia: can we advertise soon enough? Padberg: will advertise tomorrow. Motion. Unanimous. Will do the special meeting on the 13th.
     Finally got back to the consent calendar. That goes through. (Fuentes clearly enjoys each of Nancy's first-night minor flubs. He purrs nastily. His body a lounging advertisement for perversity.)
     Nancy is pretty good-natured, generally, saving her venom for some of Fuentes' "corrections." Bill and Marcia seem to help Nancy run things. Ducks in row tonight v. the Fuentes.

     6.3. Contracts with Neudesic. Fuentes has concerns.

     6.4. Board policies presented for approval. Fuentes asks about a report of salaries. Why is it not here? Bugay explains situation. Will be available at next meeting. Red meat.


     6.6. Academic personnel actions. Chancellor: recommended pulling A1a. (Is that the IVC dean position? I think so.) Lang: I generally support administration recs for pulling items. But here I'll make an exception. It seems this is merely being pulled for political reasons. We have an individual out there who has been stalled for too long. Nancy: trustee Padberg Wagner asked that this be pulled. An item of "particular interest" of his (!)


Fuentes: I would just like to know what's going on. Trustee Lang well expressed his concern. When this position was initially brought forward, I objected to it--for good reasons--but they were not accepted by a majority of the board. Now, this thing seems to be dangling for political reasons. I'd like to hear from those who want to address this. I'd like to hear from the chancellor, college president. What's going on?
     They vote on pulling this item. Jay, Williams, Milchiker vote no. Other four: yes.
     Next: the classified manager hire (another leftover from November). Eventually, Chancellor is asked to comment on the item. Pulling the item was done in deference to request by trustee Wagner. I personally have no objection to this position, says Gary. Glenn Roquemore: wanted to make sure the board was familiar with community ed, etc., before voting. Milchiker: wants to hear from academic senate. Lisa Davis Allen: Faculty is in support of this position. Prendergast: I feel that I'm in the dark here. I have a concern: you've told someone they've got the position, and they're waiting. Are there legal ramifications? Prendergast says he's a strong proponent of Early College Program. Should I abstain? Nope.
     Padberg: seeks clarification. They vote on the whole package. One "no" vote: Jay. (Possibly some confusion.)
. . .
     6.7. Bugay: Pull e.1. g.1,2 typographical error. Unanimous vote.

     6.8. Claim of Katheen Schrader against IVC/district. Recommendation to reject claim. Unanimous.
. . .
     7.1.: outside speakers at the college. Fuentes: several of these speaking engagements have "come to pass" before we've had a chance to review them! Can we get a handle on this? It's been a problem. It's been explained in the past. (Special creepoid Fuentean pronunciation of "explained"; Fuentes begins to remove his skin, leaving a ghastly shell.).
     Poertner: yes, we've talked about this a number of times. The topic of speakers has been debated here for years. Litigation: we lost. We developed new policies. There's no action here for approval. It's just information. If you're interested, you might want to attend. That's all. The problem: board meetings occur on a monthly basis, but speakers are brought in on short notice sometimes. So that's why this happens. Fuentes smiles and nods. (It seems to me that Poertner was very direct with Fuentes: back off, dude; you don't know what you're talking about.)


     7.5 Community Education Program at IVC. Padberg asks Roquemore to speak. Craig Justice comes up to the podium. You asked for an update. I can assure you that we take this situation [the deficit] very seriously. We have taken some steps to address it. Have a PowerPoint for that. The deficit will be significantly reduced by next year. (They turn to the PowerPoint.)
     Fee-based programs. Includes Community ed, contract ed, etc.
     The $188K "deficit" is accumulated. The audit report is a mid-year snapshot, but things have changed recently. The trend is significantly upward. They expect a $60K savings alone for not printing schedules.
     5 year plan: Reforms and changes. Points to net profit (as opposed to deficit of last year). Reform plan: being launched. Blah blah blah. Craig seems to make an impressive case for accuracy of what he and Glenn claimed at last meeting. Shows revenue trend: distinctly upward. It all means: the deficit will fall.
     Lang: do we enforce any minimum class sizes? Craig: we do cancel classes if they're too small. Each Emeritus class does have a minimum. Those classes are very successful. Typically, 45 or more students in each class. Glenn: the deficit has been an issue two or three presidents back. We should have this problem resolved by 2013. Nancy asks for copy of PowerPoint presentation. Jay: your approach is "great." Moving to profit. "Kudos." Unanimous approval

     That was about it, really.

See also:
• Williams resigns from college board (OC Reg)
• John S. Williams Steps Down – from College District Board (Orange Juice Blog)


Anonymous said...

It IS a new era! Huzzah!

Did you notice that John Williams muster all his friends (all 2 dozen) to give him an "A" in Roy's poll on the sidebar?

ha ha ha

and he was scheduled to go to Orlando in January too...poor guy.

Anonymous said...

I hate all the official love that oozes - put the $$$ toward a scholarship why dontcha - that guy is going out the door with BIG BUCKS.

Anonymous said...

For the record, the vote on Williams appears to be a tie.

His mother and his hairpiece get him 23 votes.

23 others give him 1 C, 1 D and 21 Fs.

and I thought they didn't read the blog. HA!

Anonymous said...

Football stadium?!?

Anonymous said...

I hear Raghu wants to run. And Steve Rocco. And Frogue (who has moved?).

Anonymous said...

Pardon my ignorance.. what's a niggler?

B. von Traven said...

Niggle, n.
a trifling complaint, dispute, or criticism.

Anonymous said...

thank you for the niggle description, sounds like a fun word, may use it in scrabble next time around.

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