Board of Trustee Lay Off Meeting
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 16:05
Facing a huge budget crisis, the LBCC Board of Trustees voted Tuesday, April 24 to eliminate 43 support staff positions, 12 managers and reduce the hours of 56 more during a contentious meeting where 24 public speakers condemned the cuts and pled for reinstating people in their jobs.
With the 128-seat meeting room at full capacity and 225 others in an overflow room in T1200, at least five campus police and two other LBPD police were present for crowd control.
Lisi Baker, a political science major, attended the meeting to support the international students program. She said, “While I understand that being fair and cutting across the board is very important to consider, what I can’t seem to comprehend is how cutting staff from a thriving program can be seen as either fair or just.”
President Eloy Oakley and Trustee Roberto Uranga emphasized that the no programs were being cut. They said programs with staff eliminations will have a restructuring of how services are provided to students.
Some employees are unsure of how restructuring will be effective. ESL instructional aide Michael Smith, whose position is being eliminated, assists students with research, homework, web-publishing and technical issues in classrooms. Smith said their lab is being eliminated and that there will possibly be room in the success center.
Smith, an employee of six years, has an interest in foreign languages, cultures and computers. When talking about how the lay-off affects him personally, he said, “Besides the economic problems I’m going to have, it also hurts because I enjoy helping the students and being useful. The students are not going to be able to depend on us being there.”
Michael Vasquez, biology lab specialist, is also being laid off. Vasquez, who maintains the biology departments preserved specimens and three-dimensional anatomy models, said the students won’t have access to these materials. He said it was a shame because a large percentage of students learn better in a visual and tactile way.
The resolution approved by the board cites the impact of California’s financial constraints, the LBCC college district’s budget reductions the past three years and that “projected revenue will not be sufficient to meet employee payroll costs,” for 2012-2013 as factors for the reduction of support staff.
Ann Marie Gabel, vice president of administrative services, reported that the college is funded based on student enrollment, which has seen a reduction of 2,000 to 19,348 full-time equivalent students.
Uranga said, “Our fiduciary responsibility is how to keep the college afloat. There’s going to be a functional reduction. We have been trying our damnedest to sustain and keep jobs, but we're in a difficult budget situation."
Lynn Shaw, electronics and electricity teacher and full-time teachers union president, presented a consolidation of ideas from employees on how to implement the cuts. Shaw said a “golden handshake” or small retirement incentive would be agreed on by an estimated 27 employees.
She further proposed that the board freeze Oakley’s salary to fund three more English classes or three ESL classes. “Reduce the number of vice presidents and associate vice presidents. Since Summer is so small, reduce administrators to part-time during the Summer.” The audience erupted in applause and cheers.
After Oakley’s report and power point presentation, he noted many gallery speakers’ comments: “There’s been a lot of discussion that was brought up earlier about having administrators or the (president) give back money to the college. Let me be clear, beginning in 2009-10, the entire management team including the administration and president took a voluntary pay cut.
“A total of 4.07 percent which provided $395,000 to the college’s general fund. In 2010-11 the management team took a 6.15 percent reduction in pay, which provided $620,000 to the college. In 2011-12, the administration gave 3.08 percent pay reduction, which provided $339,000. And in 2012-13, I will continue to take a pay reduction of 3.08 percent into the new-year. These have all been voluntary. Now I realize to many, that’s not enough, and I’m not going to argue that point with you. But I just want to make it clear that the administrators and management team have reduced their pay for the last three years, voluntarily.”
The final count of employees laid off will be based on seniority. Some employees will have the option to take position of people with less seniority, also known as “bumping.” The employees and the college will work to until the end of June to finalize the lay-offs. Some employees also are choosing to retire, further complicating the process.