Searching for the new president

Rhys Alvarado

The Board of Trustees has assembled and approved a presidential screening committee over the summer to interview candidates to replace Superintendent-President John Romo when he retires in Spring 2008.

The 15-person committee consists of faculty, staff , administration members, one student and two community members.

Trustees Joe W. Dobbs, Sally Green and Desmond O’Neill will also be involved with the committee.

“This is a good cross section of people from the college and the community,” Dobbs said, who is also the committee’s president.

The college has also hired a search consultant, Dr. Jim Walker from the Community College Search Services, to recruit potential presidential candidates.

For a fee of $25,000, Walker will facilitate the search process, recruit applicants, and assist in any planning arrangements.

Applicants’ names will be kept confidential until the board chooses the finalist unless the board chooses to hold a public forum.

The board is reserving its right to keep names under wraps until the finalist is chosen, as permitted under the California Brown Act, a public meeting law that allows certain meetings to be closed to the public in personnel cases regarding appointment or employment, performance evaluation, discipline, and termination.

“The people that apply need confidentiality and need to know that the board respects that,” said Walker, who was Moorpark Community College’s president for 10 years and has helped 25 other community colleges find a president as a consultant.

The search process will begin by updating a brochure for applicants that will detail the new duties and responsibilities of the college’s incoming president.

O’Neill said that the committee is looking for applicants with skills and backgrounds in leadership, financial knowledge, and with the ability to communicate with the faculty, staff, community and the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College.

“It’s a strange combination of qualities that you need,” O’Neill said. “It would almost call for a miracle to combine them into one person.”

Those chosen after an application review will then be interviewed in person, with screening committee members to follow up with a visit to candidates’ current schools. After that, another cut will be made and a handful will be brought to the board, which will then make a final decision.

Both Walker and the committee expect to narrow find City College’s next president by March or April.

The last presidential search in 2002 stirred controversy and caused campus-wide protest from faculty after the board’s first choice for president, then-Diablo Valley College president Mark Edelstein, received “No Confidence” vote from his own faculty and staff. He later dropped out of the running, and Romo was offered the position as City College’s president.