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

Jobs, hours sacrificed to get in ‘the black’

Rose Desmond, Alternate Media Specialist (The Inquirer 2010)

Sonya Castro recently won the annual President’s Exemplary Service Award for Classified Employees and has worked at DVC for the past 10 years. 

But this does not protect her from a 50 percent hit to her hours, salary and benefits as senior office assistant in the Learning Center, a job she “loves dearly” and has held for nearly three years. 

Castro is one of 18 non-teaching or “classified” employees at DVC, 27 in all district-wide, to have her hours reduced because of the budget crisis. 

Another 16 employees, 12 of them at DVC, are losing their jobs entirely, as is a counseling office supervisor. 

The Contra Costa District Governing Board was to vote on the layoffs and reductions at a special May 12 meeting in Martinez, too late for the Inquirer’s press deadlines. 

English tutoring lab coordinator Heather Lee said a part-time employee in Castro’s position will not be able to fulfill the responsibilities of a full-time office assistant, which is the Learning Center‘s primary support position.  

“How do they do 100 percent of the work, with 50 percent of the time and compensation?” she said.  

Laid-off employees have the right to either bump a less senior classified employee from a position in the same classification or take the job of an employee who is paid by the hour. In the latter situation, the classified employee will be paid at the rate of the lesser position and also need to pay a portion of his or her benefits. 

The decision will also be hard to stomach for the college’s hourly employees, many of whom have been at DVC for years, said Classified Senate President Jocelyn Iannucci.   

Classified employees must be notified at least 45 days in advance if their positions will be cut, but hourly employees are not required to receive advance notice. 

A final number indicating how many of jobs lost and reduced will remain unknown until June, when the bumping process ends. 

Affected classified employees met last week with representatives from their union, Local 1, managers, president Judy Walters and her cabinet. 

“A lot of people…were completely blindsided,” Iannucci said.

Music lab coordinator Doug Michael said he was surprised when he was called into the meeting last Thursday.  A DVC instructor since 1999, Michael teaches two classes during the semester and supervises lab activity. His lab job was cut from 70 percent to 60 percent. 

Although he was a part-time employee before the reduction, Michael said the reduced paycheck is a big deal. “I have a family and kids,” he said. 

Rose Desmond, alternate media specialist, said she was not expecting her workload to be reduced from 12 to 11 months.     

“We weren’t told really much of anything until it came down [to it],” she said. 

Desmond converts textbooks and other class materials into different formats, such as Braille and audio, for disabled students. Disabled Student Services lost their student workers last semester, so the task falls on Desmond and other DSS staff.  

The lack of staff will mean “students won’t be getting their materials in a timely manner,” she said. 

Union representative Nancy Ryanen-Grant said layoffs are the only option the district offered, despite classified employees offering to take pay cuts and furlough days.   

“The district maintains that we need to have fewer people,” she said, “not lots of people with less pay.”  

Transfer Center coordinator Regan Ronayne came to work last Friday only to be told to surrender her keys.  She said she was escorted back to her car and still does not know why she was terminated.  Ronayne was hired last August and was still in the year-long probation period. 

“I came in at 9 a.m., and I was gone at 10 a.m.,” Ronayne said.  She had just finished decorating for a celebration for students who had been accepted to U.C. Berkeley.

Donna Floyd, interim vice-president of student services, said the current classified and hourly employee job cuts will not be enough to meet the budget deficit. Additional cuts to managers and classified staff are anticipated for the 2010-11 school year, she said.  

Floyd says that her main goal remains serving the students, even though the college is being forced to shrink as a result of the statewide budget deficit.  

“In shrinking,” she added, “we have to figure out what services we are going to have to limit in order to offer effective services.”  


Contact Lina Pervez at [email protected] and Oksana Yurovsky at [email protected]

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Jobs, hours sacrificed to get in ‘the black’