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PCCEA January Public Comment

posted Jan 14, 2019, 7:20 AM by Ana Jiménez
PCCEA President, Matej Boguszak, made the following public comment at the Regular January Board meeting on Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019.

Good evening, chair Clinco, chancellor Lambert, Board members, colleagues, guests,

My name is MB, and I serve as President of PCCEA, the faculty association. I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year and look forward to working with you all to make this a brighter year for Pima as we celebrate half a century in our community. A warm welcome and congratulations to our new Board members García and Gonzales, and sincere thanks to all of you for your care and service.

As we start the budget development process for next fiscal year, I call on us all to stay focused on our core mission and take a hard look at spending priorities. We have laid off long-time, distinguished faculty members and asked the faculty to freeze their professional development funds to prevent losing even more. We lost invaluable support staff and have not replaced many campus academic and student services administrators. The remaining employees are being asked to do more with less and will have gone without a step increase for 5 years by summer. Crucial areas such as IT and HR appear to be short-changed.

At the same time, we have added several new district administrator positions with various interesting titles, most recently an associate provost without any listing in the Board packet as far as I could find. I hear concerns from some employees about increased pay for certain directors and wasteful spending on travel.

Student reporter Amaris Encinas from the Aztec Press reported last month how in just one instance the College paid $6,374 for a “flexible economy” ticket in case the chancellor needed to reschedule, even though normal tickets cost only about $1000-1500. It’s nice that the chancellor could pitch in a couple of thousand of his own money to upgrade to business class, but seems to me the College could have bought 4-6 more economy tickets for that money if there really was such an urgent need to reschedule. It just doesn’t add up and looks terrible in the face of all the other cuts. Don’t get me wrong, I personally support a number of the College’s international efforts, but this is just plain waste, and it accumulates quickly.

Looking at the October financial statement in your packet, travel expenses increased 5% for July - October last year compared to 2017, and general expenses on administration increased 11%. Meanwhile, instruction - core mission - took a 4% hit. For the fiscal year 2018, travel was up by 15%, administration up by 3%, while instruction by only 1%. I may not be aware of all the context, and I look forward to discussing the budget and priorities more with the chancellor and Dr. Bea, but I see a worrisome trend of pushing work down and money up.

Let’s be responsible stewards of the public dollars and invest them where they will return the most benefit for our students. Thank you for your time, consideration, and oversight.