Searching for Superman

Rhys Alvarado

Wanted: City College seeks to hire candidate with good personality, background in business, and excellent people skills. Annual salary for full-time position is negotiable.

The job: taking over as City College’s next president.

At the end of this upcoming spring semester, Superintendent-President John Romo will clear out his desk and end his six-year tenure as City College’s CEO, where he earned a $217,000 annual salary.

“I believe I’ve done a good job,” Romo said. “I’m ready for a different pace.”

After announcing his retirement in February, the Board of Trustees formed a presidential screening committee to find the college’s next public face, who will replace Romo. The applications for the position were finalized in November and now the search begins.

“I’ve been lucky to work for things that I truly believe in,” Romo said. “I’m absolutely confident that there are going to be really outstanding candidates for my position.”

Dr. Jim Walker, of the Ventura-based Community College Search Services, was hired as a consultant in September to assist the screening committee in finding acceptable applicants for the position. Screening committee members await the Jan. 7 application deadline cutoff.

“We’re looking for someone with inborn leadership,” said Dr. Kay Alexander, a trustee and a member of the search committee.

According to the brochure created by the committee, the minimum qualifications for City College’s next president include a master’s degree, plus experience as both a faculty member and as a senior administrator at a college institution.

“When you’re looking for a college president, you’re looking for Superman,”said trustee and committee member Desmond O’Neill.

The brochure also states that the president of the college must be able to provide educational leadership, speak publicly, and apply the knowledge of California community college finances.

“We need someone that doesn’t forget that they wouldn’t have their job without students,” said Associated Student Body President Tom Fitzgerald.

Board of Trustees President Luis Villegas said that the college president must have the ability to oversee day-to-day operations, interact at the state level, and be an active member of the community.

The committee plans to select candidates for interviews by Jan. 23.

The interviews are scheduled for Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. A handful of selected names from the selection will then be forwarded to the Board of Trustees. A public forum for those interested in meeting the finalists will be scheduled before the actual finalist is chosen.

Romo’s departure will end a combined 26 years of service to City College as a faculty member, administrator and as president.

“We need to keep our focus on why we’re here, and that’s the students,” said Romo.”I would want a president who comes here and understands that.”