MARYSVILLE, CA - It was standing room only in a tiny board room Wednesday as Yuba Community College District trustees reconsidered a pay raise for Chancellor Nicki Harrington.
Students said they thought a noisy protest on Tuesday prompted the board to take another look at Harrington's $29,000 salary increase.
But Board President Jim Buchan said he called a special meeting because of possible legal issues with the board's decision in a closed door session January 20.
"We say we didn't violated the Brown Act but we've been accused of that, " Buchan said. "To get out of that, we'll rescind our action."
The vote to take back Harrinton's pay increase was unanimous. Buchan also said he wanted to hire a lawyer who handles district contract negotiations to come up with a new pay package that would include a raise for Harrington.
Students, teachers and staff said they question the timing of the trustees actions. Recent state budget reductions have forced YCCD officials to cut classes and lay off workers. Teachers said some of them will get pink slips in March.
Student Jeanie Schumacher said it wasn't fair that Harrington got a wage increase that would push her salary over $249,000.
"I'm nobody, but I have something to say," Schumacher said. "Cutting classified workers is taking from us, the students. Cutting summer school classes is taking from us, the students. Cutting programs that have proven crucial to student success is taking from us, the students."
"How can you do this?" asked Teresa Dorantes-Basile, the union representatives for classified employees. "Why are we at the table trying to come up with more concessions to mitigate more layoffs for 2010-2011 while you are proposing a salary increase for the chancellor?"
The trustees decided they need an impartial negotiator to put together a deal for Harrington. They hope the California Community College Chancellor's office can provide someone and plan to vote on that issue at a meeting at Woodland Community College next Wednesday.
Students, staff and teachers vow to be there again to speak out against Harrington's getting a pay increase.
By Karen Massie firstname.lastname@example.org