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Public Comment to the PCC Board

posted May 8, 2019, 8:16 PM by Ana Jiménez
Good evening, Board members, chair Clinco, chancellor Lambert, colleagues & guests,

My name is Matej Boguszak, and I serve as President of PCCEA, the faculty association.

This is a busy and exciting time, as we help guide our students to a successful finish and celebrate their accomplishments - it really puts things into perspective. We are also reviewing all those new personnel policies we talked about last week, which are now up for comment. There are still some bumps in the road, but the administration is committed to working through them this month so that the new employee handbook can go online in July.

As things stand, the majority of rewritten policies are either reasonable compromises addressing the needs of both employees and management, or they actually represent an improvement in efficiency and accountability. I am cautiously optimistic that we can come to a common understanding on the few remaining issues where differences remain and commend the administrative team for taking our input seriously, even if we don’t always agree.

Tonight, you were presented with a budget for adoption in June, so I’d like to circle back to the comments I made about priorities in January. PCCEA had a number of good, honest discussions with Finance and HR about funding priorities this spring, and I encourage you to do the same in the coming month. If we continue to lose enrollment next year and have to further shrink and underpay our workforce as a result, challenges in recruiting and retaining quality faculty, staff, and administrators will grow, and it will become increasingly important to scrutinize every expense.

Despite retirement savings to the College, the faculty have not seen a Step in 5 years - certainly, this is a challenging time due to EL. But in addition, we are being told that even if there was money available to spend, our Step Progression Plan would not be honored, even though it is tied to a comprehensive annual performance evaluation and was authorized by you and the chancellor just two years ago.

Recently hired faculty look around and only see increasing work responsibilities, with no hope for advancement anytime soon, so more and more are eyeing the exits. We are giving the faculty more busy work and needlessly irritate them with petty proposed requirements like mandatory wearing of badges, requests for personal days way too far in advance, taking away the W option as a way to encourage students to persist, etc. The faculty see that the College is able to prioritize raises and competitiveness for select administrators but unwilling to do the same for instructors and other front-line employees.

I honestly worry that we spend substantial amounts on marketing, branding, signs, and feel-good stories, but meanwhile the core and soul and leadership of the institution is in danger of rotting away if we don’t tend to it more closely. I understand there are competing priorities, many of them critical - IT, police, improving registration, the website, and of course hiring great teachers and leaders - but we have to make sure that we strike the right balance. Let us all make sure that we spend our scarce resources wisely and work together on making it happen.

Thank you for all your work and service, and see you at graduation!