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SBCC Trustees Begin Discussing Characteristics Wanted in College’s New President

The search firm has already received 30 applications for the position, indicating 'minimal pushback' from recent document leaks

After remaining mum on the document leaks that plagued SBCC’s Board of Trustees last week, the members on Thursday briefly discussed the characteristics they would like to see in the college’s new president.

A 16-member search committee was approved earlier this month to find a new president/superintendent for the college. Staff and community members will help screen the candidates, led by co-chairmen Ron Gallo and Dean Nevins.

Gallo is president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. Nevins is the former chairman of SBCC’s Computer Science Department and a board member for the Goleta Union School District.

The Stanton Chase International search consultant firm SBCC is using has already received 30 applications. A candidate is scheduled to be selected by mid-May — after interviews, site visits and at least one public forum. Members of the search committee plan to meet Monday.

The college’s trustees have been under scrutiny since a complaint was filed with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges last summer, alleging that the board was not complying with its own rules of governance.

An investigation was launched and a 16-page confidential report with preliminary findings was mailed to Noozhawk anonymously last week. The scathing report painted a picture of a board that violated its own rules and refused to delegate authority to the school’s former president.

On Thursday, only one person mentioned the report during public comment. Jack Wolf told the trustees he was disappointed with the allegations from the commission, calling them “misguided.”

“I see this as a dream team,” he said of Acting President/Superintendent Jack Friedlander and the board. He said ACCJC president Barbara Beno was “overzealous” in her role of oversight with the commission, and he encouraged the board to disregard her comments.

Friedlander gave a report and said the college will be forced to go over and above the trigger cuts put forward by Gov. Jerry Brown. The board will discuss in the future what is being cut and the implications of the cuts. Friedlander did not mention last week’s leak during his report.

The trustees also discussed characteristics the new president should have. Characteristics listed were personal commitment to shared governance processes, excellent communication and people skills, an innovator and risk taker, has good judgment and is a college educational and community leader.

Ed Savage of Stanton Chase said the candidate pool for the search committee was growing. Not withstanding last week’s leak, “we’ve had minimal pushback” in terms of interest level from potential candidates, he said.

Trustee Joan Livingston said she would like to see characteristics in the search specific to financial and management skills. Some of the best presidents Livingston had worked with “knew where every dollar went,” she said.

Trustee Marty Blum also said she would like to see a statement about fiscal stewardship added to the list of characteristics. Trustee Marsha Croninger took issue, however.

“We have a vice president of business services,” she said. “I don’t want someone who is doing our VP’s job.”

Savage recommended that the board prioritize the characteristics. The trustees plan to continue talking about those priorities during their next study session.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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