By Jesus Hernandez
Editor in Chief
Four LBCC Board of Trustee members were served with recall notices and the entire Board was presented with a vote of no confidence by Student Trustee Jason Troia on behalf of the ASB Cabinet without their consent on Tuesday, April 23.
A notice of intent to circulate recall petitions were served to Trustees Doug Otto, Tom Clark, Jeff Kellogg and Roberto Uranga by David Root, 47, an auto body major, in T1100. Trustee Clark was not present.
Troia accused the Board of not including students in the program discontinuance process, voting on items in closed-session meetings and allowing the Academic Senate to conduct closed-door meetings, which he said was a violation of the Brown Act.
The serving is the first of many steps in the recall process that could include gathering about 10,000 signatures in each of the four areas the trustees represent, possibly leading to a public vote.
“Words cannot adequately express how much worse things are at LBCC than my wildest expectations when I was elected,” Troia said to open his trustee report.
He went on to say the Federal Aviation Administration suspended accreditation of the aviation maintenance program because the college was falsifying FAA certificates.
President Eloy Oakley later said, “The FAA has not changed the accreditation status of our program… I’m not sure where Trustee Troia got that information.”
Troia continued to cite information he found in the college database and from speaking to teachers of affected programs that showed differences between numbers he found and those the Board presented. A figure suggesting the aviation maintenance program is ranked in the top 5 percent in the country was questioned by Area 1 Trustee and Board vice president Kellogg.
Kellogg asked for a source of the figure and the parameters of the rankings. After referring Kellogg to documents from the Academic Council that reviewed the programs, but ultimately not having an answer, Troia was assisted by a member of the audience who yelled out, “The FAA.”
Later in the meeting, after Kellogg stepped out of the room to find more information, he walked past Troia and quietly said, “I couldn’t find anything regarding the FAA rating anyone.”
Troia walked out of the meeting and did not return. Troia later revealed he left the room because Trustee Mark Bowen pulled a letter out of his briefcase written by ASB Treasurer Kristin Payne that disclosed the opposing view of the divided Cabinet. After reading part of the letter, Troia knew he would face a lot of criticism so he decided to leave before Oakley could read the letter.
After the meeting, Board President Uranga’s reaction to getting served a recall notice was, “It’s the price you pay for being in public office.” In a public statement, Uranga said, “Student representatives also participated in the President Leadership Council, which developed the policy, which was used in the program discontinuance process.”
Kellogg said, “Today we were presented with a lawsuit, recall petition and the passing of a vote of no confidence.”
He did not have an issue with Troia making any of the comments made during the meeting, but reiterated the Board voted on the program discontinuance after a lengthy review process and a recommendation from Oakley. “I made the vote and felt very confident. Now we’re moving forward.”
Otto coincidently has announced his campaign for mayor of Long Beach in the 2014 election.
During the meeting, Eva Bagg, associate dean of institutional effectiveness, introduced information about the Accountability Reporting for Community Colleges report which allows the public to see student success in all 112 colleges in California.
The information is accessible on the right column of the home page at lbcc.edu by clicking on the icon that reads Student Success Card.
The Board will have its next meeting on a special date, Thursday, May 9 at 5 p.m. in T1100.