Case Title:   GROSSMONT
Case Number:   GIE036308     Case
Location:  East County       
Case Type:  Civil    Date Filed:  
Category:  CU-PTO  Petitions - Other  


IN THE MATTER OF         P    
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community
College District
) Case No. LA-CE-3727
) PERB Decision No. 1209
) June 23, 1997
College district
chancellor to retire
Administrator was at odds
with faculties
By Leonel Sanchez
March 27, 2008

Omero Suarez, Grossmont-
Cuyamaca Community
College District's
controversial chancellor, will
voluntarily step down next
year with one year
remaining on his contract.

Contract and resignation

Suarez, 61, has issued a
statement announcing his
retirement and listing his
accomplishments but
providing no reason for his
retirement. He did not return
calls for comment Monday or

Suarez's pending retirement
was met with mixed reaction
at the district's two colleges.

“He did some great things
and there's been some
disappointing aspects as
well,” said Pat Setzer, a
faculty leader at Cuyamaca

Suarez, who made $191,803
last year, will get no
severance package with his
retirement beyond typical
state retirement benefits.
Under his agreement with
the board, he will stay on as
the chancellor until Feb. 28
and as a consultant until
June 30.

Suarez was hired in 1999
and in 2002 led the passage
of a bond measure that
helped construct new
buildings. But in 2006 he
was roundly criticized for
having a buyout clause
removed from his contract
without board approval.

Suarez disclosed his plans to
retire at the governing
board's meeting last week
with district lawyers present.
Grossmont College faculty
member Michael Golden said
Suarez can't leave soon
enough. “We'll look back at
this chancellor's legacy as
one of the worst periods in
the history of this college,”
he said.

The high point of his career
at the district was the 2002
passage of Proposition R, the
$207 million bond measure
has helped finance the
construction of new buildings
and other projects at the two
colleges. He also led a call
for additional state dollars
for the most under-funded
community colleges in
California, including
Grossmont and Cuyamaca.

His relationship with faculty
leaders at Grossmont
College and the district's
faculty union had become

Faculty members are
protesting stalled labor
negotiations by refusing to
volunteer on committees and
other activities not included
in their contracts. The
district must also cut $1.3
million from the current
budget because of a
statewide reduction in
funding for community

Suarez's reputation suffered
in late 2006 after he
admitted under pressure that
he ordered members of his
staff to delete the buyout
clause from his contract
without board approval.

The clause called for up to
12 months of severance pay
if Suarez was released from
his contract. State law now
allows up to 18 months of
severance, fueling
speculation that Suarez
wanted to ensure an
additional six months of pay
in case a new board was
elected and decided to let
him go. Suarez said he
ordered the clause re-
inserted after he realized he
n't followed proper procedure.

Board President Bill
Garrett said the board “did
not feel it had any
grounds” to discipline
Suarez over the handling
of his contract but noted
during an interview this
week that relations
between the board and the
chancellor have not been
the same since then.

“He lost the confidence of
a variety of board members
when that happened,” he

Still, Garrett praised Suarez for his
accomplishments and stressed
that he was not asked to leave. He
will not receive severance pay
because he is leaving voluntarily.

He has agreed to step down as
early as January if a new chancellor
is named by then, according to the
agreement. Among the other
clauses in the resignation
agreement, the district's board
president will provide a letter of
reference at Suarez's request that
will reflect his “positive work record”
and not contain any “negative or
derogatory comments.”

The board voted 4-1 to accept
Suarez's resignation and the terms
of his departure. Trustee Tim
Caruthers, Suarez's chief critic on
the board, voted no but declined to
explain his decision.
revealed details of the contract
controversy at a board meeting in
2006 and had called for Suarez to

Garrett said Suarez had been
discussing his retirement with the
board for a few months.

“I think he had decided that he
wanted to retire prior to his time,”
he said.
Team that pulled off
the Victoria Richart
deal at
College helps Omero
Suarez at GCCCD
Posts on Weblog of San Diego Union
March 6, 2008

State probe still not wrapped up
Looks like there won't be any quick resolution of
the state's investigation of the shenanigans at
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
that were brought to light by a whistleblower. I
asked Ralph Black, assistant general counsel at
California Community Colleges System Office, if a
final report had been issued.

No, we have not done so yet. We have had some
key staff leave and, due to the state budget
problems, haven't been able to fill vacant
positions. In addition, one key staff person who's
been working on this case has had some health
issues and hasn't been able to devote much time
to this case.

I can't wait to read the report. The draft report --
look at it
here--sure raised fundamental questions
about Grossmont-Cuyamaca's leadership.

Here's key detail not in the report: Just what was
the community college district wrongly reimbursed
for by the state?

Hundreds of thousands of dollars for providing
educational classes at facilities for seniors -- and
the "classes" amounted to such unfocused
frivolousness as the "instructor" playing a piano
for the seniors.

The GCCCD bosses who approved this scam
should be fired, and promptly. Of course that
won't happen. In a district where the
superintendent can surreptitiously rewrite his own
contract without getting in trouble with a
see-no-evil board majority, nothing short of armed
robbery has any consequences.

Posted by Chris Reed at March 6, 2008

...My simple question is this:  Why isn't the
Grossmont Cuyamaca College Board of Trustees
What will it take?

1. We have the top highly paid GCCCD CEO,
without board approval (violating the law) , YET
MAKES EXCUSES and rationalizations for his
behavior by the same lawyers that are dealing
with MiraCosta's mess,
2. We have had the FBI asking questions of the
contract changes, the Grand Jury investigation
that is ongoing OF GCCCD, and the San Diego
District Attorney involved looking into the list of
problems within the district,
3. We have had an ongoing NONCREDIT
investigation (for nearly three years) by the State
Chancellor's office in Sacramento citing GCCCCD
for approximately over $340,000 to be paid back
due to bogus Rest Home/retirement home
(Cuyamaca's) "college courses" funneling millions
of dollars into Cuymaca's budget despite Omero's
public denial of any such investigation ---and the
GCCCD board responding with their heads in the
4. We have numerous employees that are
agressively looking for other jobs at other colleges
or in the private sector to flee the hostile working
environment (retaliation and firings of employees)
5. We have a history of Omero continuing to give
special favors (and bonuses and extended
contracts/inlcuding interim back door contracts for
select positions) to employees who support him,
5. We have all GCCCD employee groups that
would be happy to see this "leadership' end due
to the ongoing problems with negotiations and
game playing (decieve deny delay tactics) by Ben
6.. Under Omero's reign, GCCCD now has a track
record over the years of such poor FISCAL
MANAGEMENT, that GCCCD is claiming they cannot
afford to pay their emloyees COLA,
7. We have a vote of no confidence against Omero
by the Academic Senate due to the years of
miscommmunications and conflicts under his reign
with the faculty,
8 We have hundreds of thousands of dollars also
during Omero's reign as chancellor, that GCCCD is
paying to mounting legal fees and settlements
from the countless numerous legal cases filed,
9. We also have GCCCD who is paying millions of
ollars each year to building consultants for new
buildings despite not one shred of evidence from
an objective Projected Enrollment Study to
validate Prop R monies that were intended for
10. We have District office personnel that are
spending hundreds of dollars each month eating
out at the Brigantine and the Fish Merchant and
other eateries in addition to purchasing Starbuck's
cards and for various travel across the
11, We have board members that are involved in
ECEDC, DEFCOMM, and other business deals
overlapping educational monies with East County
business raising eyebrows about the conflict of
interest issues,(Rest home/retirement facilties
under investigation giving campaign dollars to
Weeks, Garret and Alexander)
12. We have the Accredittion Report citing major
issues that need to be addressed by the District
yet the Board not fully comprehending the high
stakes of lost accreditation, don't even
understand the issues at stake for the colleges
sicne their top CEO fails to communicate key
issues to the Board,
13. WE have many students at Grossmont who
cannot get their classes due to many faculty
choosing to work at other campuses due to the
poor hourly pay, (classes are being cancelled due
to the inabiity to hire faculty to teach)
14. We have a Board majority and district
leadership with Omero at the top, that has
supported the construction of new buildings with
millions of dollars of taxpayer money to build
gargantuan buildings at Cuyamaca college
(Alexder's backyard), with not enough students
who can fill the rooms ...while students at
Grossmont College cannot find parking or enough
classes that they need during prime time. All
Grossmotnt college employees beginning in
2008/09 will be asked to park off campus....

These are only some of the issues..............

Why would any Board of Trustees continue to let
this happen?
Posted by: concerned taxpayer at March 10, 2008
04:09 PM

As a former student at Grossmont College, I have
had my own personal experience with Chancellor
Omero Suarez and the board of Trustees. I once
had some respect for what Omero Suarez was
trying to accomplish with getting equalization
dollars, when equalization dollars finally came and
they ran the money through a funding formula
that even their own CFO (Austin) admitted was
based on flawed assumption, the college that
should have received more funding (Grossmont)
saw money come into their budget, and then get
reduced and the money given to (Cuyamaca) not
to create a class that a student from Grossmont
could go to but to pay for (Cuyamaca) ridiculously
costly Administrative staff. Why?

Why does Cuyamaca have to be like Grossmont, it
is smaller, even the districts own experts figures
show that the college isn't growing not like they
predicted and certainly not because they are
building all these new buildings over their. The
"Build it and they will come" philosoply has failed
and only cost the tax payers money, while the
college that does serve most of the students in
the district suffers. They billed Prop R as "For
Repair" yet they ignore the currently old and in
much need of repair and renovation buildings
while they build buildings that are bigger, but
won't have the students to fill those buildings.
Sure the Grand Mistress of Spin at the District will
claim things like, tax payer association awards,
clean audits and the CBOC all who are some what
beholden to the district, the CBOC especially has
members that are all appointed by the Board, I
know I was a member of the CBOC. Then there is
the ruthless political activities, the nasty little
secrets that the district doesn't like getting out,
like the States Investigation, or the Grand Jury
Probe. All this is happening yet the district is in
Deny, Delay, Deceive mode constantly. They do it
because they think they have the citizenary
fooled. I was even personally attacked by
Chancellor Suarez, when I ran out of things to
defend him for, and finally saw that the faculty
was right for passing all the votes of no
confidence, Omero finally showed his true colors. I
recall once, Omero mentioning to me when I came
under attack by Crystal Sudano, that I must know
what it feels like to be under-fire. My response to
Omero was, that the only difference was that I
was innoncent and he was guilty. An he has
remained Guilty ever since, if there is a scandal in
this District you can bet your bottom dollar that
Omero Suarez, Rick Alexander, Bill Garrett and the
rest have behind the scenes orchestrated
everything, everything they do is based on some
political motive, everything they say has some
political agenda, they don't care one bit, that
students can't find a class or that they are running
a great district into the ground. Then their is Bill
Garrett......what can be said....well since he is
worthless as board member it just isn't worth
talking about, you show this guy the truth and
you would think hey would have a lick of sense to
look at the facts and do something. He says, "But
I am only one board member" well look at his
voting record he usually votes for what ever scam
or backdoor deal is on the table. In Wikipedia next
to the word Corruption, they should have a
picture of everyone of these Board members.

Posted by: Student Trustee (Yeah that one) at
March 11, 2008 06:37 AM
So Omero has decided to retire effective late next
year. When the trustees were asked if there was
a buy out or a settlement, one said yes while the
other said no. One trustee even voted not to
accept the retirement. I wonder what kind of
shady backroom deal was done this time.

The latest on Ben "let's break the union"
Lastimado is that he secretly recorded CSEA
negotiations after being told that our negotiators
did not want to be taped. That is a violation of
penal code 632. I hope our union decides to press
charges, the district is even refusing to negotiate
without the proceedings being taped which is not
legal. I pray that the governing board does the
right thing and fires Lastimado for breaking the

Posted by:
concerned csea worker
March 25, 2008 08:15 PM
CONTACT: Della Elliott, Public
Information, (619) 644-7690,

July 20, 2004

New human resources
to join East County
community college district

EL CAJON – Dr. Ben Lastimado,
a former college administrator in
the state of Washington, is the
new vice chancellor of human
resources for the Grossmont-
Cuyamaca Community College
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The regular meeting of the Governing
Board of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca
Community College District was held on
Tuesday, March 20, 2007, at 4:00 p.m., in
the Heritage of the Americas Museum at
Cuyamaca College, 900 RanchoSan
Diego Drive, El Cajon,

California.Members Present:
Trustees Alexander,
Garrett, and
Weeks; and
Student Trustees Ardilla and Keyes

Members Absent:None

Others Present:Chancellor Suarez,
President Perri and Interim President
Colli, Vice Chancellor Lastimadoand
Interim Vice Chancellor Business
Services Sue Rearic, district and college
administrators, members of the staff,
students, press, and interested citizens.

Call to order

Board President Alexander called the
meeting to order at 4:03 p.m.

Public Presentations

Public comment was heard from Dee
Murdock, California School Employees
AssociationSecond Vice President, who
presented resolutions of no confidence
in Chancellor Omero Suarez and Vice
Chancellor Human Resources & Labor
Relations Ben Lastimado; BradTiffany,
President Administrators’ Association,
and Zoe Close, President United Faculty,
presented declarations opposing Vice
Chancellor Ben Lastimado;

and Nancy Asbury, concerned citizen,
and Crystal Sudano, Grossmont College
student, spoke in support ofChancellor
Suarez and Vice Chancellor Lastimado.

Adjourn to Closed Session

Board President Alexander adjourned the
open session at 4:16 p.m. and the Board
met in closed session until 6:30 p.m. in
the Museum Library, pursuant to
Government Code Section 54957.6. The
Board reconvened closed session at 8:
57 p.m.

Reconvene in Open
Session/Announcement of Closed
Session Action(s)
Open session

Board President Alexander reconvened
the open session at 6:30 p.m. and
announced that no action was taken and
that closed session would be reconvened
following open session. Board President
Alexander reconvened the open session
at 11:04 p.m. and announced the following
action on March 20, 2007:Closed
sessionannouncementsOn motion of
Members Caruthers/Barr, with a vote of 1-
4 (Alexander, Barr, Garrett, andWeeks

the board voted not to
discipline the Chancellor.

Public Presentations
Public Comment

Public presentations were
heard from Rick Walker,
concerned citizen, regarding
BP 2010-Board Membership.

Mary Herman, Grossmont College
Multi-Media Tech, Senior, Crystal
Sudano, Grossmont College
student, Martin DuBord, Cuyamaca
College GroundsMaintenance
Worker, Senior, Sandy Beasley,
Cuyamaca College Learning
ResourcesSpecialist, Dave
McDade, Grossmont College
Financial Aid Assistant, Senior, and
Amber Green, Director Employment
Services, spoke in support of
Chancellor Suarez and Vice
Chancellor Lastimado
More on Omero Suarez and the one
trustee, Timothy Carruthers, who cared
about the law

"The employee alleges that
Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Ben
Lastimado directed her to change the
chancellor's contract..."

FBI's role in college district
By Leonel Sanchez
November 7, 2006

A taped phone message sent to thousands of
East County homes last week claims the FBI is
investigating possible wrongdoing in the
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
– yet there's no confirmation such an investigation

The message targeting district trustees Rick
Alexander, Bill Garrett and Deanna Weeks – all vying
to keep their seats in today's election – came from a
faculty member who supports their opponents.

“The FBI is investigating potential felony crimes
committed by our incumbent governing board
members and our chancellor for falsifying public
records,” Grossmont College faculty member Scott
Barr says in the recording. “Yet these incumbent board
members are condoning these abuses by not taking
Barr is treasurer of Citizens for Educational
Responsibility, a political action committee that has
targeted the incumbents. His brother, Greg Barr, is
one of four challengers backed by the group.

Trustee Timothy Caruthers complained to the FBI
after learning that district Chancellor Omero
Suarez had the buyout clause deleted from his
contract, then had it re-inserted when Caruthers
asked about it

Weeks signed the altered contract but denies knowing of the

Scott Barr said yesterday that he based the investigation claim
on Caruthers' complaint and on the word of a district employee
who said she has spoken with an FBI investigator.

The employee alleges that Vice Chancellor of Human
Resources Ben Lastimado directed her to change the
chancellor's contract. Lastimado did not respond to questions
about the employee's allegations. The employee did not want to
be identified out of fear of retaliation.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said she could not say whether the
agency received the complaint or is investigating.

A Grossmont-Cuyamaca spokeswoman said the FBI has not
contacted Suarez, Lastimado or the three incumbents.
Memos, Etc. Clover Park Technical
Ben Lastimado, Vice President for
Human Resources, has written a book,
"Increasing Your Human Resources
Profession's Value" which is now being
published by ...
Bob Eygenhuysen  represents

His fellow attendees on Jan  2006 were:
& ASSOCIATES Graham Grice Steve Moccardini Colleen Bjerknes
Bob Eygenhuysen does not want the
public to know about the jury that found
GCCCD ... tried to get away with
in a case that produced a verdict the
week before the October 10, 2005 meeting of the
Association of Community Colleges Joint Powers
Authority meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, he asked for trial
results to be discussed in closed session:

"Bob Eygenhuysen requested that
Grossmont-Cuyamaca CCD be added under Trial
Results in closed session."

Here are the minutes.
May 2008 San Diego
County Grand Jury

(filed May 27, 2008)

The 2007/2008 San Diego County Grand
Jury recommends that the Governing
Boards of the Grossmont-Cuyumaca
Community College District,
the Mira Costa
Community College District, the Palomar
Community College District, the San Diego
Community College District and the
Southwestern Community College District:

08-91: Endorse and support the County
Educational Ethics Committee for
community college districts, as proposed
above in this report.

08-92: Formulate a ballot proposal, for
approval by voters of the district, to limit
terms of Trustees.

08-93: Adopt a Governing Board policy that
would limit campaign contributions to a
candidate for Trustee, whether to a
candidate or to a Political Action
Committees (PAC) on behalf of that

08-94: Adopt a Governing Board Policy that
would limit the total amount of campaign
contributions a candidate for Trustee could
receive to a reasonable amount to be
determined by the governing board.

08-95: Adopt a Governing Board Policy that
would set standards for staff members from
soliciting campaign contributions. The Policy
should include a provision prohibiting staff
members from soliciting campaign
contributions for Governing Board
candidates from contractors and other firms
doing business with the District.

08-96: Adopt a Governing Board policy that
provides disclosure standards for Trustees.
The Policy should include a requirement that
a Trustee disclose the fact that a bidder on a
contract donated to his or her campaign.

08-97: Adopt a Governing Board Policy that
would set standards for buy-outs of
administrator contracts. The Policy should
include a provision limiting administrator
contract buyouts to amounts specified in
their contracts. No salary or benefits
should exceed the 18-month period
specified in the State Education Code. No
damages or special payments should be

08-98: Endorse a policy to expand the public
Governing Board meeting agendas
according to the spirit of the Brown Act. For
items concerning awards of contracts,
approving bids and hiring consultants, the
agenda should include amounts of bid and
award, scope of work, time period, name
and address of contract, and college contact.

08-99: Adopt a district policy that the campus
police chief reports directly to the Chancellor
or President/Superintendent or an
appropriate Vice Chancellor or Vice

08-100: Review the qualifications of all
sworn campus police officers for
compliance with requirements of the
California Commission on Peace Officer
Standards and Training. (POST)

08-101: Adopt a Governing Board policy for
all real property purchases that specifies
the data to be listed on the public agenda
when the purchase is voted on.
This data
should include the current assessed
valuation and information on amounts of all
sales in the last two years for comparison
with the amount of the current purchase

08-102: Undertake a cost/benefit
analysis on the feasibility of
employing a Counsel for the District
as opposed to contracting for all
legal services.

08-103: Direct District Human Resources
officers to adopt procedures to avoid the
appearance of nepotism and inappropriate
supervisory relationships in the hiring
. These procedures should include
the identification and screening of
applicants who are close friends and
relatives of elected Governing Board
members and staff.

08-104: Adopt Governing Board Policies
regarding the disposition of surplus
property. Said Policies should include a
requirement that any college surplus
property donated to non-profit organizations
or sold by means of public auctions and
prohibit purchase by college
staff/employees or relatives.
College district deserves
further probe

San Diego Union Tribune
June 7, 2008 Letters to Editor

This is in response to the Union-Tribune
article (“Grand jury expected to urge
community college ethics panel,”
May 26)
and the actual San Diego County grand jury

The report, which recommended that the
San Diego County Board of Education
create an ethics committee, is an
indictment of a system that is broken.

While the report did not name specific
individuals, I feel specifics are necessary
for citizens in the community college
district, which was the focus of the

I am familiar with the Grossmont-
Cuyamaca Community College District so I
will limit my remarks to that district only. I
encourage individuals in the other districts
to come forth with more specifics so that
the public can understand why the grand
jury was involved.

Quite apparent was the failure of the
agencies already tasked with oversight
such as the board of education, California
Board of Governors and the state
Chancellor's Office. The Chancellor's Office
was notified of the allegations in the
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College
District more than two years ago.

While I agree with all of the
recommendations made by the grand jury, I
am going to make this prediction. The
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College
District Board of Trustees – Bill Garrett,
Deanna Weeks, Rick Alexander, Gregg
Barr and Tim Caruthers – will continue to
deny, delay and deceive the citizens of East
County regardless of what this report
states. They won't move to bring forth term

The grand jury report needs to be a wake-
up call for the residents of East County, and
they should start holding this community
college board accountable for the
outrageous legal costs it has approved and
for a chief executive who has been
dishonest and whom the board failed to
properly discipline.

I have no confidence that the Grossmont-
Cuyamaca trustees will do anything to
become more transparent.

In order for reform to occur, every member
of the current board needs to be removed
from office and a new board elected.

Grossmont Student Trustee 2005
Associated Student Body President 2004-
Citizens Bond Oversight Committee
Mary Kay Rosinski
San Diego Union Tribune
Oct 9, 2--8
Leonel Sanchez

Rosinski said her experience as a labor
leader in the National School District, where
she teaches, would be an asset. “I have lots
of experience with negotiations,” she said.

She's also concerned the district spends too
much money on legal fees, including
defending the firing of a science teacher at
Grossmont College. A Superior Court judge
recently reversed the firing.
GCCCD faculty fights for fair contract
May 30, 2008.
Fact Finding-Presentation of Case.
Your UF Representatives spent two days (27 & 28 May 2008) presenting our case to the
PERB appointee.

May 20, 2008.
United Faculty Election

May 6, 2008. Unity Gatherings Announced
Unity. UF is happy and proud to join the Unity Gatherings conceived and hosted by our
colleagues at CSEA. See the article on our home page under the teaser 'Unity' for days
and times.

April 15, 2008. A Final Insult
Rejection. Having acted in good faith, and in an effort to move things forward and give the
Board a chance to see and consider the UF proposal, we are met with utter rejection. The
Board refuses to even acknowledge our effort, let alone agree to the proposal.
August 27 , 2007.
CTA Loses
PERB Denies CTA Petition

PERB denies severance petition as filed by CTA. The petition was denied
in its entirety.
Violation of EERA

James M. Gattey by Vicki L. Gilbreath, Attorney, for United
Faculty of Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College

Stephenson, Worley, Garratt, Schwartz, Heidel & Prairie
by Timothy K. Garfield, Attorney, for
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

Before Caffrey, Chairman; Johnson and Dyer, Members.


CAFFREY, Chairman: On March 24, 1997, the United
Faculty of Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College
District (United Faculty)filed an appeal of a Public
Employment Relations Board (Board)agent's dismissal of
its unfair practice charge. The chargealleged that the
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District violated
the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA)1by
providing its administrators and negotiators with a
personal financial incentive to achieve reductions in funds
allocated to employee compensation.On June 13, 1997,
the United Faculty informed the Board thatit wished to
withdraw the unfair practice charge and appeal.

Board concludes that it is consistent with the purposes of
the EERA and in the best interests of the parties to grant
the request.  It is hereby ORDERED that the unfair
practice charge in Case No. LA-CE-3727 is DISMISSED
and the appeal is WITHDRAWN.

Members Johnson and Dyer join in this Decision.

The EERA is codified at Government Code section 3540
et seq.
Legal cases
Rick Walker, GCCCD Student
Trustee Fired
Board wanted to stop him from speaking
* Rick Walker's website was shut down in 2007, shortly after Maura Larkins
(author of San Diego Education Report website) was
sued for defamation by
the school's attorneys.

Rick Walker and GCCCD trustees

Rick Walker is a former student trustee of Grossmont-Cuyamaca,  veteran
and single father.

Rick lost his job at the college after GCCCD board members asked their
lawyers to provide them with a legal justification for his firing despite
existing precedents to the contrary.

Rick worked hard to bring the rule of law to GCCCD, and had some big
successes, including this decision by the CA attorney general:

September 10, 2007
The attorney general of California has issued an opinion in Rick Walker's
favor.  See
Rick Walker press release.

As an apparent result, Rick Walker's website*has been shut down.

Here are some articles about this case.

1.  San Diego Reader March 2, 2006

2.  Letter in San Diego Reader March 16, 2006

3.  San Diego Union Tribune Dec. 17, 2005

There are also several other lawsuits either already in progress or still in
the pipeline.

The most recent example ofGCCCD's legal "creativity" : helping the current
GCCCD Chancellor Omero Suarez get away with unilaterally altering his
own contract to ensure extra $100,000 payoff in case of termination is

[The previous link was mysteriously removed from the Union
Tribune in early March 2007.  It originally appeared in the body
of the Feb. 24 article linked

And here's now "independent" their investigator actually was.

GCCCD legal actions

GCCCD created a bogus legal opinion --but now the board is rethinking its actions...

Columbia Law School Professor William Simon wrote about the shameful practices of this
type of lawyer
in the Stanford Law Review.

Rick Walker has succeeded in making them at least go through the motions of reevaluating
their actions in the light of a California Attorney General legal opinion that contradicts the
high-priced baloney that Stutz law firm churns out.

If GCCCD board members stay true to form, the "reexamination" will result in no action at all.

What they should do, of course, is pay damages to Rick Walker for wrongfully harming him.
Especially when they harmed the college by punishing a student trustee for bringing up
issues that needed to be addressed for the good of the college.

Leonel Sanchez is doing a great job covering the story for the San Diego Union Tribune.

Here's his September 19, 2007 report:

"The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District will again review the issue of
whether a student trustee can serve on the district's governing board while holding a job in
the district.

"The last time the district looked at the conflict-of-interest issue, it led to the firing of former
Grossmont College student trustee Rick Walker, who was let go from his job as a Web
analyst in December 2005.

"Walker, speaking to the board last night, repeated his claim that he was unjustly fired...

"District officials said Walker was fired after district lawyer ... reviewed state education code
and concluded that student trustees should not be allowed to be district employees...

"“You will ultimately find out what the law is if somebody will bring some litigation on this,” ...

"Walker has threatened to take legal action. State Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego,
requested the legal opinion from the Attorney General's Office at his request.

"Trustee Bill Garrett said he found the attorney general's opinion “persuasive” and proposed
changing the district's policy to reflect that opinion. No action was taken on his proposal..."

GCCCD confidential letter
Feb. 22, 2007
2008: Appeals court says GCCCD
defrauded David Agosto.
2008 election: I think I made a mistake voting for Mary Kay
Election 2008 results
I think I should have voted for Timothy Carruthers.  I've been thinking: if Mary Kay
Rosinski was a reform candidate, why didn't she run against Bill Garrett?  

It would appear that Rosinski didn't want to criticize board decisions; Garrett is a
leader of the board.  Rosinski isn't anti-corruption, she's just pro-union.  She
targeted the
one board member who had questioned corrupt actions,  trustee
Timothy Caruthers, who complained to the FBI after learning that district Chancellor
Omero Suarez had the buyout clause deleted from his contract.   Suarez re-inserted
the buyout clause when Caruthers made inquiries about it.  

Rosinski has a record of paying union lawyers to cover up wrongdoing in Chula Vista
Elementary School District.  GCCCD can count on Rosinski to work well with
GCCCD's current lawyers; her South County Teachers United lawyers worked with
them in at least one case when Rosinski was a board member.  

I got fooled by Rosinski when she said she had questions about GCCCD's legal
expenditures.  I imagine the only question she'll be interested in is how much is
required to keep problems hidden.

See San Diego Union Tribune article about
Rosinski's big-money backers.
More on Mary Kay Rosinski

Unions credited in college board member's win
Rosinski defeated 12-year incumbent
By Leonel Sanchez
November 22, 2008

EAST COUNTY – Two labor unions helped Grossmont
Cuyamaca Community College District's newest
board member beat a longtime incumbent, spending
more than $188,000 on her campaign.

In the Nov. 4 election, Mary Kay Rosinski, a National
City special-education teacher who lives in El Cajon,
easily defeated Timothy Caruthers, who raised about

“If you're outspending someone 10-to-1, I don't care
how long you've been there,” said Caruthers, a board
member since 1996. “You're going to overcome the
incumbency name.”

United Faculty, which represents faculty members at
Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, gave $44,000 to
Rosinski's campaign, according to campaign
contribution forms filed Oct. 18 with the county
Registrar of Voters. The American Federation of
Teachers guild, which has donated heavily in other
San Diego County school board races, spent more
than $140,000 in a largely independent campaign to
elect Rosinski, according to records filed in
September and October with the California secretary
of state.

The money from the AFT's San Diego Community
College District Committee on Political Education was
spent on radio and print ads and other campaign
literature, some negative.

Rosinski is the second union-backed candidate to win
a seat on the five-member board; trustee Greg Barr
was elected in 2006. Trustee Rick Alexander said he
believes the unions are working to elect a union-
friendly board majority. Alexander is part of a board
that has taken tough stances in salary negotiations
with the United Faculty union in recent years.

The AFT and United Faculty are not working together,

AFT is organizing a campaign to decertify United
Faculty as the faculty's labor representative.

“We're hopeful that we'll be the bargaining agency in
that district and would like to make sure that there are
three education-friendly trustees that want to put
students first on that board,” AFT President Jim Mahler

United Faculty President Zoe Close calls the AFT plan
a hostile attack on the independent union.

Both unions claim Rosinski as their candidate.

Rosinski said that she appreciates all the support she
received and that she will not be partial to one group
over another.

“Everyone can rest assured that I will look at all issues
fairly,” she said.

She stressed that AFT ran an independent campaign
and that she is not involved in the dispute between the
two unions. “I really do want to stay out of that as far as
possible,” she said.

Rosinski ran unsuccessfully for a board seat in 2006.
She was one of four candidates backed by United
Faculty. Only Barr, a retired high school teacher, won a

Mahler said his union has successfully helped several
candidates win seats in other school board races in
recent years. AFT also spent about $50,000 to help
elect Mark Anderson to the county school board's 4th
District representing a large swath of East County. It
also spent thousands to help re-elect William
Schwandt and elect Mary Graham to the San Diego
Community College District's board.
List of School Districts
Commentary on the Firing of Ted Martinez
La Prensa
January 6, 2006
By Beth Smith

... Martinez is a strong advocate for Grossmont College – always has been
and probably always will be.
He continued to choose championing for
the students, programs and community that is Grossmont College,
and unfortunately, this stance led to a conflict between him and

He did exactly what every college president is expected to do – bring to the
attention of the district administration and board the problems and inequities
facing Grossmont College with the intent to resolve the issues as soon as
possible. However
, it appears that Suarez did not want him to do the job
he was hired to do...

This relationship became especially strained in early 2004.

The first, a seemingly minor accounting error, identified district expenses that
were being charged to the college... The dollar amount varied between
$200,000 to $300,000 per year, a sizeable amount that could have been
redirected to hiring much needed faculty and staff.
Suarez made no attempt
to absorb the charges back into the district budget, offered no
explanation for why the charges were there, and disgustingly, offered
no apology to the college for years of “stealing” funds away from
educational programs...

The second issue is much more problematic... It is the allocation and
spending of the capital construction bond revenue, locally known as Prop R,
approximately $207 million dollars. East County voters passed the bond that
was advertised as “R for repair,” citing the aging Grossmont campus and the
need for some new construction within the district. When the district
announced the split of the funds...Not only did the split emphasize new
construction at the other campus in the district, but it nearly eliminated all
repair funds from the budget for the college. Martinez again went to bat for
the college requesting more of the split and a greater portion to repair the
40+ year old campus. All his requests were denied and the college has been
suffering the results of the split since...

The Grossmont Faculty challenged the processes used by the district to
determine the Prop R split. The chancellor ... violated the faculty’s legal right
to participate in the development of budget and planning processes...The
Academic Senate voted no confidence in Suarez in March 2005...

The board response to the vote of no confidence in Suarez was predictable,
but the vitriol was not. With comments like “Bring it on” and a patronizing “You’
re not happy?” litany, the board supported Suarez, mocked the faculty
concerns, and left Martinez in the middle... Martinez stressed problem solving
while Suarez sought to gain power. Martinez was left in a pickle.

In June, the board voted to extend the
contracts, out of the normal evaluation
cycle, to the chancellor, vice chancel...
Not Martinez.

...Not once did the board acknowledge
the comments of the speakers or the
work of Martinez, but instead the board
showed a disappointing display of
irreverence and disrespect for the
speakers and Martinez.

... on December 23, 2005, two days
before Christmas, and an official day of
closure for the college. The board
called a special closed meeting at 4:00
scheduled for that day. The agenda
looked innocent enough, but the
campus soon learned that the board
would take action against Martinez.
Education Code clearly states the
processes and timelines for dealing
with contracts of administrators, and
the board “just recently learned” that it
had to take action six months prior to
the end of Martinez’ contract in June
2006. In a closed session, the board
voted unanimously to terminate his
contract and not renew it...

On the other hand, the Cuyamaca
College president has faced questions
by this newspaper about the integrity of
its noncredit program where Alzheimer’
s patients are enrolled as students in
college courses; operates a college
that has been in the “red” for 27 years
and the subsidy required to sustain the
college increases each year; and credit
enrollment there has been declining.

Did the board fire the right president?...

Beth Smith is Academic Senate
President. Grossmont College.
The CA Court of Appeal
is no longer giving
school districts license
to violate the law:
David Agosto v. GCCCD
Blog posts re GCCCD
San Diego Education
Report Blog
Why This Website

Stutz Artiano Shinoff
& Holtz v. Maura
Larkins defamation



Castle Park
Elementary School

Law Enforcement



Stutz Artiano Shinoff
& Holtz

Silence is Golden

Schools and Violence

Office Admin Hearings

Larkins OAH Hearing
Garrett gets nod as
Cuyamaca board
By Karen Pearlman
Dec. 13, 2013

Garrett was unanimously
chosen earlier this month
to serve a seventh-straight
year as president of the
Community College District
Governing Board. The
board also re-elected
Edwin Hiel as vice
president and Debbie
Justeson as board clerk to
second terms.

The district serves about
30,000 students at
Grossmont and Cuyamaca
colleges, in addition to the
district’s Continuing
Education and Workforce
Training program.

At the December meeting
of college trustees, Garrett
praised the Governing
Board for cohesiveness
and service to constituents.

“It has been gratifying to
see the hard work of the
board and progress made
these past months —
progress made at the
direction of the chancellor
(Cindy L. Miles) and with
the support of the board,”
Garrett said. “It is
sometimes easy to
overlook these
accomplishments as the
day-to-day efforts of
everyone doing their jobs,
but I and the rest of the
board am deeply
appreciative of everyone’s
efforts on behalf of our
students and the public we
represent. We look
forward to even more in
2014. There is still a lot to
do for the students and all
of East County.”

Garrett was appointed to
the Governing Board in
2004 and first elected in
2006, while Hiel and
Justeson were both first
elected in 2010. Greg
Barr, who started on the
board in 2006, and Mary
Kay Rosinski, who began
serving in 2008, are the
district’s other trustees.
Zack Gianino is student
trustee Grossmont
College; Elsa Michelle
Hernandez is Cuyamaca
College’s student trustee.
San Diego Education Report
San Diego
Education Report
Blog posts re GCCCD
Mary Anne Weegar case in
Sweetwater UHSD
See Rick Walker student trustee retaliation case below