The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

District to add new management position

A decision to fill a $160,000-a-year position at the Contra Costa Community College District office in Martinez has some student leaders at DVC questioning the district’s priorities in this time of budget crisis.

The district governing board is set to vote March 31 on hiring Serena Muindi for the position of associate vice chancellor and chief financial officer.  The position has been vacant for two years.

If approved, Muindi would oversee the accounting, purchasing, payroll and finance departments. 

At a recent ASDVC meeting, Keith Montes, co-President of the Latino Student Alliance, objected to the hiring.  In a later interview he said the district would be better served by spending the money elsewhere.

“To spend $160,000 on this position in this budget crisis,” Montes said, “while, at the same time, slashing our classes and our student services, it just doesn’t make any fiscal sense.” Montes said other people had picked up the duties attached to the position over the past two years and should continue to do so, so the money could be spent where it is more urgently required.

“It sounds very drastic, but the drastic measures are what are going to be needed to save education on all levels,” Montes said.

Last month, the district governing board approved pink slips for three DVC managers, including the adviser to the ASDVC, a dean and the director of admissions and records.

DVC has $4 million in “red ink” for the 2010-11 school year, despite cutting $1.2 million in classes from next year’s schedule. A committee is currently considering a proposed 15 percent reduction in managerial and non-teaching jobs, as well as a 15 percent reduction the operations budgets.

Gene Huff, associate vice chancellor and chief of human resources, defended the hiring, saying the recent budget issues make the position even more vital.

“If you look at it from a perspective of the reduced funding from the state,” he said, “we need someone there to keep track of these things.  It’s more important than ever to have someone in that role.”

Huff said the position is already in the budget, even though unoccupied.  “Certainly hiring her is not generating any savings, but it’s not adding any burden to the budget at all,” he said.

Kindred Murillo, vice chancellor of administrative services, said that money budgeted for the position was spent to hire consultants tasked with transitioning the district into a new budget allocation model, as well as on consultants to recruit candidates for the position.

Murillo said the position had remained vacant for so long because she had not found the right candidate. 

“Sometimes you hire people just to hire people,” she said, “and sometimes it’s a lot smarter to make sure you’re hiring the right the person.”

Contact Scott Baba at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Scott Baba
Scott Baba, Opinion editor
Opinion editor, spring 2011. Staff member, spring and fall 2010.

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District to add new management position