By Li Khan, Staff Writer
February 6, 2023
The Peralta Community College District (PCCD) is recruiting applicants to fill the vacant seat representing Area 2 on the Board of Trustees, with the online application due Feb. 9.
The seat became available following the resignation of Kevin Jenkins, who stepped down from the board on Jan. 9 after being elected to represent Oakland City Council District 6. Jenkins began his term representing Area 2 on PCCD’s governing board in December 2020 and was originally intended to serve until December 2024.
At its Jan.10 meeting the board decided to fill the vacant position by provisional appointment rather than ordering a special election.
During the meeting, presenter Royl Roberts, who was serving in the role of Interim General Counsel that evening before he left PCCD, recommended that the board fill the seat via a provisional appointment to avoid the costs associated with ordering a special election. However, a special election could still be called if registered voters residing in Area 2 submit a petition to the County Superintendent, according to California Education Code (EDC) § 5091.
At its regular meeting on Jan. 24, the board voted to approve an item on the agenda that established the timeline and process for appointing the new trustee.
The timeline for the appointment process includes an application period, a screening period, an interview period, and a final selection. The initial application, posted online, is due Feb. 9.
The application asks candidates to attest that they meet the minimum qualifications for the role as defined by EDC § 72103, which requires them to be a registered voter residing in the community college district, and to not have been convicted of a crime that prohibits them from holding public office in California.
In addition to the requirements set in place by EDC § 72103, PCCD Board Procedures 2100 and 2110 dictate that trustees must reside in the trustee area that they represent.
Current employees of the district cannot simultaneously hold a position on the board; they must resign from their previous employment if they are appointed.
Candidates must also submit a resume and a brief statement sharing their qualifications and why they are interested in serving on the board.
The application asks no specific questions regarding criteria such as the candidate’s employment, experience, or community engagement.
Prior to the board’s approval of the agenda item at the Jan. 24 meeting, Trustee Nicky González Yuen expressed dissatisfaction with the limited questions in the job posting.
“We wouldn’t know who we want to interview until we’ve seen an application,” Yuen said, adding that the board could “set up minimum qualifications based on the law and then it’s up to this board to make a determination [sic] who we appoint. But we need some information, knowledge, and criteria in order to make that determination”.
Roberts explained that the decision to leave more specific questions out of the application was based on the criteria laid out by EDC § 72103.
“It’s pretty prescriptive and it sets out what the criteria is and it’s pretty clear,” Roberts said.
Roberts specifically pointed out that EDC § 72103 states that if an individual meets the minimum requirements, then that person “is eligible to be elected or appointed a member of a governing board of a community college district without further qualifications”.
Roberts suggested that additional questions could potentially be used as further qualifications for each candidate.
“If it would be used to limit the qualifications of someone moving forward, it would go against what the Ed Code says,” Roberts explained.
Yuen challenged this interpretation of the law, and argued that some additional information is needed in the decision making process. Yuen suggested that under this interpretation, statements of qualifications and résumés would also be limiting.
“Obviously you need some criteria that will inform the decision. So that interpretation can’t be correct – that you have no other qualifications. Because then you could be like, ‘let’s draw by lottery, because they’re all qualified,’” Yuen explained.
The board eventually agreed to add a candidate statement to the application and unanimously voted to approve the process and timeline.
The Citizen reached out to Mark Johnson, PCCD’s Executive Director for Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations to confirm that the job posting is being advertised in major media outlets in accordance with EDC § 5092. Print ads will run in the Oakland Post, Oakland Tribune, and East Bay Times. Digital ads are running online on The Oaklandside’s website and on “Google’s network.”
According to Johnson, the compensation for the position includes a $458.46 monthly stipend, a $400 travel stipend, and a $100 cell phone stipend – $958.56 per month in total.
The board will interview candidates between Feb. 14th and 27th. After the interview process, the board will appoint a new trustee by majority vote during their regular meeting on Feb. 28. The appointee’s first meeting as a new trustee will occur on Mar. 14.
EDC § 5091 states that “a person appointed to fill a vacancy shall hold office only until the next regularly scheduled election for district governing board members that is scheduled”.
In an email update sent to the Peralta community on Feb. 8, the district announced that it had “confirmed with Alameda County Elections officials that there is NOT a general election planned for November 2023”. The board appointed trustee will fill the vacancy until the next general election in November 2024, serving out the rest of Jenkins’ original term.
Correction: February 8, 2023
The original version of this story incorrectly asserted that the end of the board appointed trustee’s term will be in November 2023 when it is actually November 2024.