Green River College begins search for next president

The Green River College Board of Trustees on Oct. 20 appointed a 13-member advisory committee to help find the college's next president.

The Green River College Board of Trustees on Oct. 20 appointed a 13-member advisory committee to help find the college’s next president.

The board also agreed to pay the institution’s next leader $240,000 a year.

Eileen Ely, who became the college’s fourth president in 2010, resigned in June following months of unrest on campus. Scott Morgan, former president of Spokane Community College, was selected to serve in an interim role while the college finds a permanent replacement.

The college has decided not to hire a firm to help find the next president, but instead will rely on assistance from its advisory committee.

“The Board of Trustees is going to make the final decision in the selection of the next president,” said Marshall Sampson, Green River’s vice president of human resources and legal affairs. “However, an advisory committee is responsible for narrowing that pool down to four finalists. This is something that we felt was very important.”

The committee will interview semifinalists and make recommendations to the board.

“The committee’s decisions are non-binding, meaning the board may consider candidates not presented by the committee,” Sampson told the board at its meeting. “It is your prerogative, as the board, to make that decision. It is important for us, as the the college, to remember we are just helping the board make that decision.”

The advisory committee is comprised of representatives from the college’s constituent groups:

• Students: Karlie Gao, chief justice for Green River’s Associated Student Government; and Tiffany Gibson, who was previously involved in student government at the college.

• Faculty: Jaeney Hoene, president of United Faculty, the college’s faculty union; Liz Becker, humanities division chair and Steve Kinholt, math instructor.

• Green River Diversity and Equity Council (GDEC): Vik Bahl, faculty member and GDEC co-chair.

• Classified employees: Todd Henderson, IT chief shop steward; and Jenny Park, an administrative assistant in enrollment services.

• Exempt employee: Nancy Kremer, international programs.

• Administrative employee: George Frasier, executive director of the Green River College Foundation.

• Green River College Foundation member: Bruce deJong, who is the director of talent management, learning and leadership development at Mutual of Enumclaw.

• Community members: Mychal Boiser, executive director of Kona Kai Coffee in Kent, which is a job training program that uses coffee and food as tools to reduce hunger and homelessness by providing life skills and job training to unemployed adults and youth for careers in the hospitality and food service industry; and Mark Okazaki, a Kent resident and executive director of Neighborhood House, which partners with diverse individuals and families to build community and help them achieve their goals for health, education and self-sufficiency.

Morgan and trustees Claudia Kauffman and Sharonne Navas will serve as ex-officio committee members.

Henderson, who gave a classified staff report during the board meeting, told the trustees he looks forward to helping find the college’s next leader.

“I think that being inclusive like we are being, I have every hope of filling in the gaps that we have seen in the past,” he said.

The board voted 3-1 to approve the appointment of the committee members. Kauffman, Navas and newly appointed trustee Jackie Boschok were in favor, while Tim Clark voted against, and Linda Cowan abstained.

Cowan said she was not comfortable voting on the community representatives.

“I just didn’t get the information in advance, so I had no opportunity to do what I consider my due diligence,” she said.

Kauffman presented the names at the meeting based on suggestions she had received previously from trustees.

Clark also was not comfortable voting on the community appointees. He said he had a concern with one of the names presented.

“I could not in good conscience vote for that person if in fact it is the person I think it is,” he said. “Knowing that, I would have to vote no because of the inclusiveness of the motion. … I am not trying to trump someone’s choice. I just want to feel comfortable with the people who are being named.”

Morgan wanted to have the committee appointed in advance of a campus-wide forum that was scheduled for Thursday.

“It is a campus-based forum but the community members would benefit greatly from finding more about the college,” Morgan said of the community members’ participation.

Salary in line

The $240,000 annual salary for the next president is comparable to what other colleges in the region pay.

“We have done a little bit of research into the other institutions in the Puget Sound area, and we are wanting to be fairly level with our peer institutions ” Sampson told the board before it unanimously approved the compensation package.

Bellevue College paid its last president $230,000 a year. It is currently searching for a new president. At Everett Community College, the president makes $235,000 year. Highline College pays its president $232,000 annually, and Tacoma Community College pays $236,000.

Ely made $206,000 a year.

“Once we set the base salary for the position, that is the base salary going forward,” Sampson said. “The position is eligible for cost-of-living increases but … a person cannot be more responsible for a college than they are at that point in time. Doing a compensation increase at a point down the line is something that we have had an issue through the state for any college president, so what we set it at is what it is going to be for a long period of time.”

Green River’s new president also will get 20 hours of vacation each month with an accrual cap of 400 hours, eight hours of sick leave per month, standard college benefits – including medical and dental – and a relocation allowance as described by the college policy.

Morgan, who serves as chair of the advisory committee, said he hopes to have the application packet out to candidates by Christmas break in order to get applications back by mid- to late-February.

“We want to be out in front of, for instance, Bellevue College,” he said. “We are out there competing with other colleges, not just in this state, but all over. We want to try to move this process at a quick, but reasonable, pace.”