The Board of Trustees agreed to work on fostering more open communication and transparency with the district and its own members at its bi-annual retreat on Saturday.

Corey Harris / Courier Board of Trustees meeting at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.
Corey Harris / Courier
Board of Trustees meeting at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

Many trustees brought up concerns about how to communicate to the public to explain decisions they make for the district.

Trustee Geoffrey Baum believes the Board already works as a cohesive unit to make difficult decisions.

“I think we really adhere to the principles. The board articulates supporting the decision. We’ve taken on some very controversial decisions,” Baum said.

After more than a year of tumultuous interactions between students and the Board involving decisions to make major calendar changes and the approval of the $10.5 million administrative information system Banner, many members of the community still wait for a clear explanation from the Board for its decisions.,.

Retreat facilitator Cindra Smith pointed out the Board’s ability to vote together as a strength that many boards in the state she worked with have difficulty doing.

“The board is a unit and you all know that’s the only way of having authority,” Smith said.

Transparency for the Board, however, was also a problem among its members.

Trustee Linda Wah brought up concerns over open communication among the Board members.

“I don’t know that we really have honed our own skills that when we have an issue with each other that we speak directly with each other,” Wah said. “There’s so much miscommunication based on assumptions.”

Many trustees referred to the approval of the new Rosemead satellite site as an example of the miscommunication.

According to Trustee Berlinda Brown, Board President and District 6 Trustee John Martin released an email a few months ago asking board members to consider potential satellite campus sites.

A few weeks later at the Aug. 26 meeting, the Board approved the Rosemead site in Martin’s district.

“It was kind of offensive to me was that I was asked to find a place that could be potentially in my district,” Brown said.

Board President John Martin explained he did want to work on more open communication with the trustees, but he did not mean to offend anyone with having the Rosemead site put up for a vote so quickly.

“I tried to run this thing as straight and honest as can be,” Martin said. “I made a tremendous mistake because enrollment management said we need to [add more class sections]. I allowed it to be a consent item, it was a fundamental mistake.”

Smith commended the Board on its ability to discuss problems its members had together.

“Your commitment to really work together is commendable because you are willing to discuss the difficult topics and have a real discussion,” Smith said.

Wah believed the Board still worked very well together.

“We talk about working together as a team, we work as a village,” she said. “We can all actively work together.”

3 Replies to “Board aims for more transparency”

  1. Look at that photo: why are VP’s Miller and Bell at the board retreat? They are not members of the board, and one has to believe that their presence would inhibit candid discussion of issues related to the school’s administration.

  2. so then WHY did the board vote on that day to approve the satellite campus. they should have voted to postpone and have a legitimate discussion about it – not rushed as they did.

    why isn’t the board asking the question of HOW they got to this point? what exactly was the dire need for this campus? if winter wasn’t cancelled, would there be this need, as the senate president Cairo pointed out. WHY are we in risk of losing FTEs and state funding? this is the FIRST TIME!

    this school is mismanaged and the Board is complacent and should hold the administrators accountable and stop allowing them to continue with band-aid fixes that are putting other things on hold while they then get the whole school on board to do.

  3. Out of touch with the college and its community! When faced with 4 separate No Confidence votes and a never-ending checklist of Admin failure, their response is to just pretend it’s not happening, and have a group hug.
    Now they are singing “Kumbaya” and having a nice catered spread at the Courtyard Marriott.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.