The special trustee who oversees City College of San Francisco’s elected board could hold onto his seat until the end of the year under a recommendation from the state chancellor’s office this month.
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors’ decided to deliver control and management of CCSF to a special trustee in 2013 after the college almost lost its accreditation. The decision was met with opposition because it disempowered the elected members of CCSF’s Board of Trustees.
But Special Trustee Guy Lease has not been able to overturn a decision by CCSF’s Board of Trustees since January, when the state chancellor’s office removed his ability to block or veto a board vote that he found inconsistent with accreditation standards for the college.
Under a contract up for approval at the Board of Trustees on Thursday, and again next week at the Board of Governors, Lease would remain in an advisory role over the college until January 2017. His previous contract expired at the end of June.
During a fact-finding session between the faculty union and college administrators last week, Interim-Chancellor Erik Skinner said pulling the special trustee from CCSF would close the final phase of the state working within the college.
“At that point we’ll be out and it’s up to this college, up to the board and up to the constituents at the college to take it from there,” Skinner said, according to transcripts from the meeting.
A special trustee was first appointed to CCSF in 2012 but given more powers over the operations of the college the next year when its accreditation was threatened. The college remains open and accredited today.
Lease has served as a special trustee since Febuary 2015 following the retirement of Robert Agrella, who previously held the seat.
As an advisor, Lease visits the campus and is available as counsel to the Board of Trustees, which is attempting to ensure CCSF meets a series of accreditation standards before January 2017.
The special trustee is also meant to provide accountability for the millions of dollars in stability funding awarded to CCSF from the state. The funding is meant to keep the college afloat as enrollment sinks following the threat of closure.
“He has a wealth of experience for a board who is relatively inexperienced and a chancellor who is relatively inexperienced,” said board President Rafael Mandelman.
Lease’s salary will be paid with stability funding from the state, according to the contract. A spokesperson for the college said Lease’s total compensation was $289,000 last year.