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Board Chair provides statement at Feb. 29 Special Board Meeting

At the February 29, 2012 Special Board of Governors meeting, Board Chair Scott Stewart read the following statement.


We are here this evening for one reason: to ensure that Pima Community College continues to operate effectively and efficiently during this period of transition.

Make no mistake, this is a period of transition.

Dr. Roy Flores, our Chancellor for the past nine years, can no longer do the job. The serious health issues he now faces mean he is unable to meet the demands associated with leading this institution.

And make no mistake, those demands are extraordinary.

Pima Community College has an annual budget of $288 million.

We have six campuses, nearly 1.7 million square feet of facilities and 539 acres of land.

We have about 1,500 full-time employees and more than 30,000 students each semester. And each year, we purchase goods and services valued at $75 million.

The leader of Pima Community College is, essentially, a CEO of a medium to large company.

We cannot operate without a CEO.

And that brings me to one of the two goals we must accomplish this evening: the naming of an interim chancellor.

There should be no question about where I stand on this issue. We have in Dr. Suzanne Miles the ideal person to assume the chancellor’s job on an interim basis as we launch a national search.

Dr. Miles’ qualifications are impeccable. She is ready to do what we need – hit the ground running.

The second goal we must achieve this evening is agree on terms to end the contract of Dr. Flores.

A contract is a legal document. We must abide by its terms or negotiate new terms that are agreeable to both parties of the contract.

This is exactly what we’re doing with Dr. Flores’ contract.

What we have not done in any way is come to an agreement that wastes our precious resources. That, unfortunately, is the impression that one might have come away with after reading the story about this meeting in today’s Arizona Daily Star.

On the contrary, the agreement we have reached saves money. Here’s why:

Currently, Dr. Flores has a contract that runs through June 2014. Should he work through that date, the cost would be approximately $1 million.

Obviously, he cannot work through date. So we negotiated an agreement that will end in June 2013.

The cost of the amended contract we will consider tonight is approximately $600,000.

We are saving $400,000.

And to those who think that this board is somehow not being vigilant or prudent in our stewardship of public funds, let me point out that we are, as the Star itself reported last September, we are spending less on salaries now than we did last year.

Part of that, I acknowledge, is savings accrued by having one person, Dr. Miles, work two jobs – provost and president of our Community Campus.

The result, however, is a salary savings alone of at least $148,000, not including benefits.

Let me conclude by saying that Pima Community College values its employees – all its employees. As long as I am on the Board, we will treat our employees with respect.

We also are a public institution that must be extremely prudent in its use of public funds. That, too, will continue.