Desert Sun 11/28 – Flouting voters, COD board makes another questionable move

As The Desert Sun’s Jonathan Horwitz reported two weeks ago, COD Trustees voted 3-2 at that meeting to extend the contract of, and give a pay raise to, Superintendent/President Martha Garcia. Voting in favor were Ruben Perez, Bea Gonzales and Aurora Wilson. Trustees Bonnie Stefan and Fred Jandt voted no.

Garcia’s annual base salary will increase effective immediately to more than $397,000 per year, about a 12% increase to her current salary. This was part of a broader cost of living adjustment (COLA) raise given to many COD employees.

The board action came two days after the Nov. 8 election, and board members knew at the time that vote tallies showed Wilson running behind in her reelection bid vs. former COD Superintendent/President Joel Kinnamon. Kinnamon, who retired in March 2021 and was succeeded by Garcia, has been a critic of the board and Garcia’s administration. 

Such a move by a lame-duck board majority is not just a slap in the face of voters. It’s also a slap in the face of faculty and staff, who have been vocal in recent months about low morale at the school and other problems. 

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