The Glendale College Faculty Guild held a college board of trustees candidate forum in the auditorium on Feb. 22, then on Thursday voted to endorse a challenger who vowed to tap the college’s reserve fund should the need arise.
The board’s President Anthony P. Tartaglia and member Vahe Peroomian are up for reelection on April 5.
Newcomer and business owner Vartan Gharpetian, who won guild endorsement, joined the incumbents in answering questions read by Faculty Guild President Ramona Barrio-Sotillo.
Glendale Community College is faced with a $5 to 10 million budget shortfall in the coming year. Currently, there is a 5 percent reserve in the general fund that both incumbent candidates Tartaglia and Peroomian pledged to retain. Gharpetian, on the other hand, said he is willing to dip into the reserve to keep the college afloat.
“At this point I think we are in a dire straight of just getting by,” he said.
Gharpetian called for a budget study involving community participation, and reaching out to the state legislature to get more funding for the school.
“We have to go out there and find more funds for the college by creating better relationships with our legislators,” he said.
President Tartaglia said if the 5 percent budget is spent, “We’re done. A 5 percent reserve represents, if we’re lucky, a month, maybe three weeks, of the operating budget of this campus.”
When asked about the contract extension and buyout of former GCC President Audre Levy, Gharpetian said he would have not extended Levy’s contract to begin with, and would have not paid the $300,000 settlement to end Levy’s contract.
“In these tough economic times its huge burden on the college,” he said.
President Tartaglia said “mistakes were made by everyone” in the hiring of Levy, and that the contract shouldn’t have been extended. Tartaglia said it was better to cut their losses rather than continue with Levy’s contract.
The candidates talked about their disapproval of cutting athletics and P.E. courses. Peroomian said “they are an integral part of any college.”
Some in the guild voiced concerns about Gharpetian’s political aspirations.
Gharpetian had put in a bid for Glendale City Council as well as the GCC Board of Trustees. He said he wanted to get the community’s reaction to his running for city council and board of trustees, and he received overwhelming support to run for the board.
Neither Peroomian or Tartaglia were endorsed by the guild in their last election, but both said that an endorsement this time around would be an affirmation that the board was moving in the right direction.
It didn’t turn out that way.