Jim Riggs Approved as Interim President/Superintendent

Angel Silva, Managing Editor

Taking a leave of absence from CSU Stanislaus, doctorate professor Jim Riggs is filling the position of interim president/superintendent at Glendale College for the 2012-2013 school year.

“I sent my paperwork in and sent a letter of interest in, and I was asked to do an interview with the Board of Trustees,” said Riggs. “They consequently offered me the position in late June, and I came to work in on July.”

Riggs’ contract as interim president was approved at the July 2 Board of Trustees meeting.

“With Dr. Riggs’ leadership and everyone on the team realizing that we don’t all have the same agendas, our college will be positioned to be the very best for our students,” said Board of Trustees Vice President member Ann Ransford at the meeting.

Riggs has held many roles, having worked as a president and professor of Columbia College (a community college in Northern California) for 11 years and as a professor at CSU Stanislaus for four years.

“My whole career has been in education,” said Riggs. “I started out as a music and humanities instructor, and I continue to teach whenever I have the opportunity.”

As president, Riggs will have to address the main issues affecting the college, including the current campus deficit and shrinking funds.

“The biggest difference is that I’m focusing on what I can get done in one year as opposed to over the long period,” said Riggs. “I will be providing a report to the trustees and the new permanent president as to what needs to be attended to.”

According to Hoover Zariani, Classified School Employees Association President, there are many issues that need to be addressed by Riggs and his successor.

“I’m concerned with the rights of our employees in the workplace and educating management and administration about our contract rights as well as fairness in how the budget deficit is dealt with,” said Zariani. “I think these two challenges are the most important this year.”

Part of the solution is to reduce spending on campus, said Riggs.

“We’ve got some plans but we haven’t implemented those cuts yet. We’ll have to cut more courses, quite a few more courses, and we’ll have to cut more personnel, because quite frankly there’s really no other areas to cut,” said Riggs. “We’ll be looking at a round of making cuts where it does not impact direct services and instruction to students.”

Open communication is key in addressing the budget issues, said Zariani.

“Dr. Riggs has shown over the summer that he is very straightforward with the issues facing the college and has listened and responded to our requests,” said Zariani. ”We hope this will continue throughout the year. It is greatly appreciated and will go a long way toward resolving problems.”

Another issue affecting the outcome of the campus budget is Proposition 30, a proposed initiative that would raise income and sales taxes to fund for public education and colleges.

“If Proposition 30 does not pass, we’re going to have to make substantial cuts to the budget, in the range of about $4.5 million,” said Riggs. “The budget cuts are on everybody’s mind at this point, and hopefully Prop. 30 will pass because that’s going to be so critical to the direction of GCC and all of education in the state of California.”

Riggs will be at GCC for the 2012-2013 school year. The Board of Trustees is currently forming a committee to search for the new president made from Glendale community members, staff, faculty and student input that will be responsible for initial interviews and assessment of candidates.

“This position is for a year,” said Riggs. “I’ll be done at the end of June. I plan to go back to Stanislaus.”