Headway in presidential search

Board of Trustees narrow down search consultants to four finalists

Left to right: Marianne Albay, Lisa Chin and Steve Miller Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog

There was a special Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 26, held in room A201. Seven trustees were present at the meeting, including student trustee Marianne Albay, trustee Steve Miller, interim president Jill Wakefield, assistant attorney general Bruce Marvin and Board of Trustees secretary Lisa Corcoran. Trustees Richard Fukutaki and Merisa Heu-Weller joined the meeting by telephone. The meeting was presided over by Lisa Chin, the chair.

The executive session took place from 9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m., in which the board discussed collective bargaining, wages among employees, tenure, and representing the agency litigation or potential litigation, to which the agency is, or likely to become a party and potential legal actions regarding the college. Afterwards, the meeting opened to the public at 10:00 a.m., at which point the Board discussed several action items as well as information regarding the search for a new president.

Steve Miller described the events leading up to selecting the search consultant, or recruitment service that will seek out potential candidates for the position of the president. The Board received seven consultant submissions and narrowed them down to four finalists. Miller, along with a committee of trustees, interviewed the final consultants and evaluated their strong points and weaknesses, keeping in mind what they were looking for in a consultant. The top applicant ended up being Gold Hill Associates, an organization that has assisted over 100 community colleges in searches for a new president. Dr. Preston Pulliams, head of Gold Hill Associates and District President of Portland Community College has been working in community college administration for over 25 years.

Miller noted that other colleges that worked with Gold Hill wre enthused with the pools that Pulliams brought, describing them as “robust, diverse pools that he had personally recruited.” Miller added that he felt that past candidates were not as diverse as he had hoped, so working with Gold Hill Associates will likely change that.

In the past, many of the candidates were almost anonymous to the board due to the presentations being led by members of the consultants that would not end up selecting the actual president. Pulliams assured that he would hand select candidates. Miller’s motion for the board to authorize the college to negotiate with Gold Hill to contract for them to be search consultants was passed unanimously.

The next order of business was an authorization of indemnification for Samantha Girard, a faculty member who requested monetary protection by the State Attorney General’s Office. The lawsuit Girard was involved in, Elizabeth Spokoiny v. Bellevue College, also included Lisa Mary Tedeschi, Jessica N. Simpson, Sybil M. Weber and Mary-Dawn Thorpe, who have all received authorized indemnification. A motion was passed by the Board to extend the indemnification to her as well.

The Board announced that revisions were made to the 2014-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement with Bellevue College Association of Higher Education.

The administration and faculty negotiated new items, including the law that allowed access to non-state funds. Human Resources Vice President Aaron Hilliard said “We had the opportunity to address some issues and clean up the language in the contract and I hope that we set the groundwork for moving forwards.”  A motion was passed to approve the recommended changes to the agreement.