The 1999 Spring Plenary Session of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges produced more than its usual share of electoral agony and ecstasy this year. When it was all over, there were changes in three of the top four officers' slots, four new faces on the Executive Committee, and several shifts in offices held.
Adding to the drama was the fact that all four candidates for the two top slots of President and Vice President chose not to "trickle down." This meant that three of the four were putting it all on the line. Presidential candidates Lee Haggerty and Linda Collins, and Vice President candidate Winston Butler, had each reached the end of their current terms, so that a loss for any of them meant a one-way ticket home. Hoke Simpson, the other Vice President candidate, had only served one year in his two-year Representative-at-large seat, and a loss would return him to that position. The results were a landslide victory for Collins and a squeaker for Simpson.
Collins expressed gratification at the Plenary Body's recognition and endorsement of her work in the position of Secretary over the last two years. "This takes nothing away from contributions Lee has made over the years" Collins said. "I am honored that the faculty selected me.
The high profile created by my breakouts and written work certainly helped. I am delighted to have such a fine executive committee--and look forward to working with them to represent the faculty of the state and to advocate for the needs of our students." Simpson, too, was gratified by the outcome, but was also somewhat surprised. "Winston is an institution in the Senate," he said. "He's a wonderful person and a great contributor, and I really wondered whether I could challenge him successfully. But I've worked closely with Linda for the past two years, and I'm glad the Plenary Body thinks we'll make a good team-I'm sure of it!"
The office of Secretary, now vacated by Collins, was hotly contested, and this time everybody was trickling. The candidates were Nancy Silva, from American River College, who was completing a two-year term as Area A Representative, and three new faces: Miki Mikolajczak, a past senate president and veteran of the recent wars at Saddleback; Ellen Ligons, four-term senate president from Pasadena City College; and Debra Landre, from San Joaquin Delta College, a past Treasurer of the Academic Senate and, for the last two years, President of the CCA/CTA.
The first round of voting produced a runoff between Silva and Ligons-and when the last vote was counted, Ellen Ligons became the new Secretary of the Academic Senate. Nancy Silva trickled, and found herself elected to a familiar position: Representative for Area A. Miki Mikolajczak trickled and was elected to the two-year Representative-at-large position vacated by Beverly Shue, and Debra Landre was elected to the remaining one year of Hoke Simpson's Representative-at-large slot. (The Academic Senate By-laws call for all officers to be elected for terms of one year and all other positions are two-years. The President is limited to two consecutive one-year terms.)
The fourth new face on the Executive Committee, complementing the addition of Ligons, Landre and Mikolajczak, is Barbara Sawyer, senate president from Diablo Valley College and, for the past two years, district senate president for the Contra Costa Community College District. Sawyer won the seat for Representative North.
Sawyer will replace Barbara Davis-Lyman, of Sacramento City College, who has chosen to retire from the Executive Committee at the end of her current term. Davis-Lyman has provided the Executive Committee with two years of outstanding service, and capped her career as this year's Elections Chair, presiding over one of the smoothest elections ever.
Other successful candidates were Beverly Shue, from Los Angeles Harbor College, and current president of the Los Angeles Community College District, who moved from Representative-atlarge to Representative South; Mark Snowhite, senate president of Crafton Hills College, who was re-elected to the position of Area D Representative; and Dennis Smith, CFT chapter president at Sacramento City College, who ran unopposed for another term as Treasurer. When asked about serving another year on the Academic Senate Executive Committee, Smith responded, "Service to our community has been a value in my family for generations. Among my predecessors have been teachers, ministers, musicians, politicians, soldiers, builders, and more. I am proud to continue the tradition of community service. As faculty, we all have the opportunity to contribute to the future of those individuals who come to our classrooms. The value of that contribution cannot be overstated. However, I have come to understand that through our academic senates we can also shape the state and local academic policies and programs that make our work in the classroom possible. As I begin my second year as a member of the Executive Committee, I am excited and overjoyed with the opportunity to make a difference in the future of California's Community Colleges."
The final transition occurred outside of the electoral process, and that was President Bill Scroggins' assumption of the mantle of Immediate Past President, and the departure from that position of Janis Perry. Janis Perry has served on the Executive Committee for seven years, as Representative-at -large, Vice President, President, and Immediate Past President. She is truly one of the architects of today's Academic Senate, and her dedication and expertise will be sorely missed.
Rounding out the 1999-2000 Executive Committee are those members whose terms do not expire until Spring 2000: Edith Conn of Ventura College, Area C Representative; Ian Walton, Mission College, Area B Representative; Loretta Hernandez, Laney College, Representative North; and Lina Chen, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Representative South.