Increase for SJDC exec

STOCKTON -- San Joaquín Delta College trustees approved a pay increase for a new manager Tuesday despite criticism from rank-and-file employees who say they deserve the same opportunity as they take on more work at the college.

President Jeff Marsee said the increase in pay for human resources director Dianna González would be more than offset by the savings from not hiring a new vice president in the same office.

Vice President Vince Brown is retiring; his position is one of two vice presidencies that will go unfilled.

González, hired in June, will take on both her current job and Brown's. She'll be responsible for more than 1,000 employees at a time when the college is navigating very rough financial seas.

Her original annual salary range was $92,508 to $106,560. The board's action Tuesday increases that range to $118,020 to $135,960. Marsee said she'll be receiving a $12,000-a-year increase, but the amount of money saved by consolidating the jobs would exceed $130,000.

"This is a highly qualified person, but we placed her in at midrange to oversee people above her area of responsibility, " the president said, adding there is a "dire" need to upgrade the position.

It's a time of great uncertainty at Delta, where officials plan a major restructuring as more cuts come over the next three years.

It makes no sense, Marsee said, to reconsider the salaries of so many classified employees when some positions in the coming months will merge and change.

He said officials will examine classified salaries when the restructuring is complete.

But classified employees took obvious umbrage with a pay hike for an administrator at such a difficult time.

"We are asking the board to approve the whole district reorganization at one time, " said Dana Baker, head of the classified union. "Please look at the whole plan before making executive decisions that could break our college."

A large pro-union crowd turned out for Tuesday night's meeting, occasionally interrupting Marsee with snickers and calls of "no, no, no." Board president Teresa Brown once threatened to remove anyone who disrupted the proceedings.

Aside from their philosophical objections to the pay raise, critics also said the president did not follow college procedure.

Marsee's proposal was rejected by a review committee on Aug. 25. He wrote in a follow-up memo that he would then bring the matter before trustees for their consideration, a move that critics say violates Delta policy.

Trustees debated putting off the vote until more deliberations could take place.

But they ultimately approved Marsee's recommendation 5-2, with trustees Mary Ann Cox and Taj Khan voting no.

Cox said the college shouldn't increase an administrator's salary when staff may be laid off.

"Everybody's doing more with less, " Cox said. "Why should this position be any different?" Trustee Steve Castellanos supported the increase.

"We said going into the reorganization recognizing that it was going to cost something to save something," Castellanos said.

It cost money to offer employees early retirement incentives, but that offer, too, will save the college in the long run, he said.

"I didn't hear anyone complain about that, " Castellanos said.