The Chabot-Las Positas Community College District will soon have its third interim leader as the Board of Trustees has decided to restart the hiring process to find a permanent chancellor after not approving any applicant from the first round of recruitment.
After confirming its initial inclination to not select any of the three finalists for final appointment Tuesday night in Dublin, the board voted to promote Ronald P. Gerhard, the district's vice chancellor of business services, to serve as interim chancellor starting next week.
"We believe it is in the best interest of the district to name an interim chancellor at this time," Board President Edralin "Ed" Maduli said in a statement Wednesday morning.
"Mr. Gerhard has a long history with the California Community Colleges and will help us stay the course until such time that we can launch another national search for a permanent chancellor," added Maduli, who represents Livermore and parts of Pleasanton in Trustee Area 7.
Gerhard, who was not a candidate during the district's national search last fall, will take the helm next Tuesday when district offices reopen after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Earning a new monthly salary of $22,916.67, Gerhard is set to hold the position through Aug. 22, 2020 or until the permanent position is filled, whichever occurs first.
Before becoming vice chancellor of business services, Gerhard worked in multiple roles for Chabot-Las Positas, including as vice president of administrative services at Chabot College in Hayward.
Earlier in his career, he held various finance or business leadership positions with City College of San Francisco, Peralta Community College District, Compton Community College District and San Bernardino Valley College. He earned a master's degree from the University of California at Riverside after completing a bachelor's degree from the University of Redlands.
Now, Gerhard will become the third interim leader since August for the district that serves 29,000 East Bay community college students among main campuses at Chabot in Hayward and Las Positas College in Livermore.
He will take the reins from Thomas Fallo, a longtime California community colleges administrator who came out of retirement to hold down the fort for Chabot-Las Positas until the board hired a permanent chancellor -- which was originally expected to occur by February.
Fallo started in mid-September, succeeding Chancellor Emeritus Susan Cota who served briefly as interim chancellor in the immediate aftermath of chancellor Jannett Jackson resigning in August after five years at the helm. Jackson stepped down three months after the Board of Trustees voted not to renew her contract beyond its June 2019 expiration date for unspecified reasons.
The district then kicked off a nationwide recruitment for a permanent chancellor, a process spearheaded by a consultant firm working with a district-wide search committee comprised of faculty, staff, students and community members.
District leaders announced in early December that the board had selected three finalists from among the pool of applicants.
The top candidates were Lisa Avery, president of Portland Community College's Sylvania Campus in Portland, Ore.; David Dore, campus president and vice chancellor of workforce and economic development at the Pima Community College District in Tucson, Ariz.; and Walter Tribley, superintendent/president of Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey.
District leaders unveiled the finalists ahead of public forums at both main campuses, which were followed by a board meeting Dec. 17 to hear public comment before talking in closed-session about the chancellor search.
The board then conducted closed-session interviews with the finalists Dec. 18, but announced after the meeting that no candidate was chosen for the position. But soon after district officials determined a clerical error resulted in the Dec. 18 meeting agenda not being properly posted in public, a violation of California's Brown Act, according to Guisselle Nuñez, the district's public relations director.
The rejections were rescinded in favor of a properly agendized special meeting after the winter holidays, but the trustees did not reach a decision on the chancellor vacancy last week, forwarding the final vote to Tuesday night's regular meeting, according to Nuñez.
On Tuesday, the trustees confirmed their initial inclination by not selecting any of the three finalists. The reasons for their decision were not released because personnel-related discussions are deemed confidential, according to Nuñez.
The vote to approve Gerhard's interim appointment was 4-0, with trustees Dobie Gelles, Hall Gin and Carlo Vecchiarelli absent.
Fallo needed to be replaced this month because as a retiree in the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), state retirement law prohibited him from continuing to work beyond his contract date, according to Nuñez.
The timeline and process for the district's renewed chancellor recruitment have not been revealed to date.