June 1, 2022

Gretchen Zimmermann, Staff Writer

Two weeks after the Citizen inquired about the lingering nonattendance of Area 7 trustee Julina Bonilla, the remaining trustees unanimously approved a resolution excusing her absences because of “illness” on May 25.

Peralta Community College District Board member Julina Bonilla has been absent from Board meetings since February 22. The Peralta Citizen reached out to Mark Johnson, PCCD’s Executive Director for Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations, and Board President Cindi Napoli-Abella Reiss when Bonilla’s continued absence was noted on May 10.

“I don’t know so I will check and get back to you early next week,” was Johnson’s response on May 11. The Citizen did not hear back before publication time.

Board of Trustees President Reiss replied to an email inquiry from the Citizen about Bonilla on Monday, May 23. “I do not have any information to share about when Trustee Bonilla will return. I am assuming we will get another update soon,” Reiss wrote.

Trustee Bonilla has not responded to inquiries from the Citizen.

A week after the Citizen’s emails about Trustee Bonilla’s absence, Resolution NO. 21/22- 67 titledTrustee Absence from Meeting” was included in the Human Resources section of the Consent Calendar for Tuesday’s May 24 Board meeting. The document properties of the PDF file show that the  resolution was created on May 17. 

The Resolution cites Education Code 72024(d), states that “the absence of Trustee Bonilla from the regular board meetings beginning on February 22 and through May 2022 were due to illness,” and resolves that “Trustee Bonilla shall be paid as if in attendance at the missed board meetings.” 

Board Policy 2725 specifies that board members “may be paid for a meeting when absent if the Board finds that at the time of the meeting, the member is performing services outside the meeting for the District, is ill, on jury duty, or the absence is due to a hardship deemed acceptable by the Board.”

Bonilla’s status was not discussed at the meeting. The Board passed all of the items in the Consent Calendar in one unanimous vote.

Trustee Bonilla’s term as the Area 7 representative on the PCCD Board of Trustees began in December of 2014. Her current term will end in November, 2022. Area 7 includes Emeryville and most of West, North, and Downtown Oakland.  

Peralta Community College Distric Area 7 Map. Source: Peralta Board Meeting agenda.

Transparent California reports that Bonilla earned a total of $5,191.20 in regular pay, $6,000.00 in other pay, and $17,035.68 in benefits as Board Trustee in 2019. 

The Citizen reached out to the PCCD Human Resources department for more current figures. Interim Vice Chancellor of Human Resources & Employee Relations Dr. Ronald McKinley replied in one email that Trustee Bonilla earns $432.60 per month ($5,191.20 divided by 12 = $432.60.) In a subsequent email he stated that “I did some additional checking, and the Trustees are paid, on average, $6,000 per year or approximately $285.70 per meeting.” 

Regarding benefits, McKinley said that “The Trustees are eligible for benefits; however, they do not all use our benefits since they have other regular employment.” According to the Peralta website, the PCCD Board meets year-round, two times a month with a typical break in August. 

Bonilla is best known for her work promoting job opportunities and training for underserved communities. According to her LinkedIn page, the former Elementary School Teacher participated in research about the ever widening achievement gap of underserved high school students during her studies at U.C. Berkeley. Her LinkedIn Bio states that “this formative experience lead [sic] Ms. Bonilla to dedicate her career to supporting and developing alternative education opportunities and career pathways for under-served youth.”

Bonilla is the former Executive Director of the West Oakland Jobs Resource Center. She was hired by the Port of Oakland in 2018 as the Workforce Development Manager in a newly created Social Responsibility division. She is responsible for “ensuring that the local community has access to Port-related employment and business opportunities.”

The next Board meeting is scheduled for June 14. The Citizen has been unable to confirm if Bonilla will attend.