PCC Board votes for national search, claims of sexual harassment arise

In a controversial move, the Pima Community College Board of Governors voted to approve two-year contracts for nine current executive administrators at the same time they announced plans to conduct a search for those administrators’ new boss. Chancellor Dr. Roy Flores announced that he is taking a leave of absence and will retire by the end of this year.

The administrators’ contracts are normally granted for only one year. The decision to offer two year contracts was seen as a potential hindrance in finding the most qualified candidate to replace Flores. Chairman Scott Stewart claimed that the move would ensure stability. He also voted to automatically replace Flores with Suzanne Miles.

The Board voted unanimously to offer the two year contracts. However, it voted 3-2 against a proposal to appoint Provost Suzanne Miles to the college’s top position automatically. Board member David Longoria joined Stewart in the vote. He went on what observers characterized as a “tirade in favor of the status quo.”

There is speculation that the decision to offer contracts to current staff was a sign that the replacement for Flores is already selected and the decision to conduct a national search was simply for appearances.

While the Board voted for the national search which had widespread support, most expect Miles to be selected for the job.

Flores, 69, is taking the leave of absence due to heart health issues. Flores has come under pressure lately due to reports of no-bid contracts, and sexual harassment claims.

Just this week, Jacquelyn Jackson, a clinical social worker wrote in the TucsonCitizen about the “widespread sexual inappropriateness and harassment by the Chancellor. She writes that she has “heard the stories of at least eight female administrators, first-hand in most cases, and personally experienced what is termed “creepiness” with the Chancellor during my year as a PCC employee.

Jackson writes “Female employees too often have been viewed by the Chancellor as fair game in what is, at root, an abuse of power. They have been wooed, toyed with and when they say no, too often banished to lower jobs, or parked in empty offices with nothing to do until the time on their contract expires. Written proof, admittedly, is difficult to come by but clear patterns of his abusive behavior are abundant. These patterns include requests for drinks and dinners after work, telephone calls on non-work issues during non-work hours, and lights dimmed in his office with soft, romantic music simmering in the background. His pattern is consistent and widespread.”

Over two hundred people attended the meeting.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board is Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. in the Community Board Room at PCC’s District Office, 4905 E. Broadway.