Board rejects renewal of third administrator contract

The members of the CCCCD Governing Board

Photo from

The members of the CCCCD Governing Board

Weston Hopkins, Editor-in-Chief

The Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board voted 3-2 not to extend the contract of Executive Vice Chancellor Eugene Huff during their Sept. 9 meeting. Huff is currently serving as the Interim Chancellor of the district, though Dr. Bryan Reece was recently offered the permanent chancellor position by the board.

The decision not to extend Huff’s contract has upset many of the CCCCD faculty, who were already upset with the board due to a similar decision made back at their July 22 meeting, where the board voted 3-2 not to extend the contracts of Chief Financial Officer Jonah Nicholas and Chief Human Resources Officer Dio Shipp. The contracts were then put back on the agenda for the board’s Aug. 26 meeting, which many CCCCD faculty attended to voice their opinions on the excellent work done by both Shipp and Nicholas. But it was not enough and  the board once again voted 3-2 in favor of not extending the contracts.

Executive Director of the United Faculty Jeffrey Michels wrote in an email,

“I am angry and disappointed at the reckless behavior of Trustees Gordon, Enholm and Marquez. To publicly reject contracts for these three respected, competent and hard-working managers undermines the stability of our district, including our financial stability.”

When asked for comment, Huff and Nicholas both said that their legal counsel has advised them from speaking about the board’s decision. Though Huff added,

“I will say that the decisions are truly unfortunate for the District and I would encourage you to seek a direct answer from the three Trustees who voted against the contract renewals about why they made those decisions.”

In an email written by trustee Greg Enholm, he explained why he voted not to extend the contracts.

“There are many reasons why it was not appropriate to extend these contracts at this time, primarily because the board is in the final step of deciding to hire a new chancellor to whom these individuals report either directly or indirectly so it was not appropriate to ask the board to extend these contracts until the new chancellor is appointed and can decide whether any changes are needed.”

When asked for her reasoning, trustee Vicki Gordon wrote,

“Unfortunately, this is a personnel issue and I can not comment on it.”

Board member John Marquez also voted no on the contract extensions and the Experience was unable to reach him for comment. Though, during the Aug. 26 meeting Marquez read a letter from an anonymous constituent to give his reasoning for not extending the contracts.

Marquez read aloud,

“These two individuals stifle what was once an environment of creativity and productivity, morale is at an all-time low. The unions were coaxed into attacking the board because the contracts for these two individuals were not approved, if that is not unethical, then I don’t know what is.”

District Local 1 President Neal Skapura is also upset with the recent board decisions. In an email, Skapura wrote,

“The actions of the Board strike at the heart of our contract and working conditions in two significant ways. We have in our contract articles language about progressive discipline and an employee review process. When the governing board does not honor this for any employee – let alone an acting chancellor, CFO, and AVC of HR – it begs the question: do they value progressive discipline and an employee review process?”

Now that the board has begun working on the terms of Reece’s contract as chancellor, they hope to have the contract ready for public review and approval at their next scheduled meeting Oct. 14. To attend that Zoom meeting or for more information, please visit the district website.