At tonight’s Pima Community College Governing Board meeting there were few surprises. The Board ignored overwhelming community opposition and voted unanimously to replace Chancellor Roy Flores with Provost Suzanne Miles.
The Board had called the special meeting for no other purpose than to fulfill their legal obligation to conduct their vote in public.
Board member Sherryn Marshall even went so far as to express her displeasure that information about the consideration of Miles was made known to the public at all. She scolded the Arizona Daily Star for reporting that Miles was the candidate the Board was considering to replace Flores. “Shame on you,” she told a Star reporter, who angrily replied that she was simply reporting public information, and concluded “what you are doing is illegal.”
The exchange occurred after the public comment portion of the meeting. Despite knowing that the Board had already decided behind closed doors what they were going to do, dedicated community members and Pima staffers expressed their disappointment in the Board, Flores, and Miles.
Former college dean, Greg Hart, was the first to address the Board. The soft spoken and respectful man told the Board, “I don’t know what the situation looks like from the inside looking out, but from the outside looking in, it looks like a big mess.”
Dean continued, “There is a great deal of resentment for Dr. Flores and I’m afraid, rightly or wrongly, that there is a great deal of collateral uncertainty regarding Dr. Miles as his closest associate and collaborator.”
Mr. Mike Lopez called for an investigation into the Board’s actions, and advised the Board that “if you don’t change the way you are doing things, the voters will change the Board.”
Former State Senator Luis Gonzales, a supporter of the community college since the 1960’s told the Board that “the decision you make today will have an impact. It is probably the most important decision you will ever make. You must conduct a national search.”
The board had voted to conduct a national search at the last Board meeting. It is believed that the selection of Miles as the interim Chancellor and the vote to conduct a national is simply for show, and Miles will be selected as the permanent chancellor.
One man, who told the Board that he knew and respected Flores and Miles, said “I can’t believe that Miles and Flores would even agree to this. It can appear to be nothing but self serving.”
He was referring to the fact that Flores had announced that he would retire by the end of 2012, but canceled his retirement after the board refused to meet his demand that they appoint Provost Suzanne Miles as his permanent successor. Tonight the Board met his demand.
However because they failed to act on his resignation at the last meeting, Flores rescinded his resignation, and tonight the Board voted to keep both Flores and Miles on the payroll. Flores will hold some as yet unidentified position in the college. That amounts to more than $560,000 annually plus benefits, for 16 months, until the middle of 2013.
The Board did bother to read aloud to the public the items on which they voted.
Miles ignored the disappointment of the audience and addressed the Board after the vote. In what felt like, by some in attendance, to be an attempt to intimidate, Miles read off the names of people who had expressed concern about her appointment, and said she would like to begin communication with them.
The meeting was adjourned.