Cuesta trustees delay pay cut for president, vice presidents

Cuesta College President Gil Stork and the college’s three vice presidents will not take a pay cut as originally proposed as part of offsetting the college’s nearly $3 million shortfall.

In May, the college’s board of trustees approved $2.9 million in cuts for the 2011-12 fiscal year — affecting the jobs of about 120 employees.

Included in those cuts was a voluntary pay reduction of up to 5 percent of the salaries of the president and the college’s three vice presidents — amounting to about $36,390.

Last week, the trustees voted to delay voluntary pay cuts for the college’s top administrators.

However, what will remain in place are five layoffs, an 8.3 percent pay cut to 43 nonteaching jobs and a limiting of the hours for about 70 part-time faculty.

“We were doing that to lead the college, but now the state budget has come out and the rest of the college staff may not need to take a reduction,” said Stork, referring to those employees who have not yet faced cuts.

He added that if more cuts are made by the state in December, the voluntary reduction would come back to the table. “The vote was to delay taking a reduction until we know more,” he said.

Stork said the idea of the top administrators’ reduction was based on the assumption that Cuesta employees would be forced to take furlough days to meet expected state budget cuts.

So far, those furloughs haven’t been needed, he said.

The move has irked the classified union, which represents the employees who did take the cuts.

“One of the questions being asked is: Why aren’t the leaders leading?” said John Fetcho, president of the Cuesta College Classified United Employees. “We’ve been told that they wanted to delay it until such a time as a reduction is required of all employee groups, but the classified employees have already been required to give up things.”

Fetcho said the decision has caused employee morale to plummet.

“People are scared,” he said, “and classified employees are afraid that they are going to have to take the brunt of the cuts.”

Stork said the cuts made were based on positions where the workload could be reduced.

“Whenever we are looking at a reduction in staff we look at what work is being done, what is essential and what can be done differently or reduced in scope,” Stork said. “The job of the president and the vice presidents will not be reduced in scope but only get bigger and uglier.”

Fetcho said that doesn’t sit well with those employees affected by the cuts.

“Why them and not us?” asked Fetcho, referring to administrators avoiding wage cuts for now.

Interim president decides he wants to keep the job longer, citing ‘unfinished business’

Cuesta President Gil Stork, who had led the college since January 2010 on an interim basis, announced this week that he will seek the job.

A search for a permanent president is under way by the Cuesta College board of trustees and is expected to be complete by January 2012.

Stork, whose annual salary is $195,000, told the trustees Tuesday that he is submitting his name as a candidate for the position. Stork’s current contract expires in December. Stork was named the community college’s interim president in 2009 to replace President David Pelham, who resigned to take a job in Abu Dhabi. He has worked at Cuesta for 43 years, in positions ranging from math professor to vice president of student affairs, a position he held for 14 years until his retirement in 2004.

“We are not out of the dark time of the college’s history in terms of the state budget and the accreditation sanction,” Stork said. “There is a lot of unfinished business I feel compelled to follow through with.”