In a surprise move, Kathleen Burke-Kelly, president of the Glendale Community College District Board of Trustees, submitted her resignation, effective immediately, to the LA superintendent of public schools on Sept. 19.
This was a shock to the other board members, Armine Hacopian, Victor King, Vahe Peroomian and Anita Quinonez Gabrielian, all of whom didn’t find out about Burke-Kelly’s resignation until Sept. 21.
“It is my understanding that [Burke-Kelly] would like to focus her energies on her new position as VP of Academic Affairs at LA Mission College,” said Hacopian, who stepped into the position of president because she was the vice president.
When asked, though, Burke-Kelly only said that she resigned for ‘personal reasons,’ which she would not elaborate on other than to say that “it just involved a lot of different factors.”
The position at LA Mission however is not a permanent one, as she is the acting VP of Academic Affairs, a position that will last at least until June 30, according to Burke-Kelly.
As to whether or not she plans to apply for the job permanently once it becomes available, she said “I have not made that decision.” She also said that she has no other plans as to what she will do once she has completed her tenure in that position.
Burke-Kelly gave no indication of her intentions to resign to any of the members or at the board meeting that took place the evening before.
When asked if she had been planning to resign she said no, it was a sudden decision that she made.
Resigning is not a common practice when it comes to board members. The last two times the board appointed anyone was because a member died and another was elected to city council and had to resign to assume that position.
“It’s [resigning] more common then it was before,” said Peroomian.
However not everyone is happy about Burke-Kelly’s resignation, or the way she did it.
“I think the element of surprise is never welcomed,” said Hacopian. “It takes you a day or so to adjust, and then you get adjusted and you proceed and move on.”
“The timing of the resignation was somewhat inconsiderate,” said King. “We’re forced to appoint.”
“I would have preferred a public announcement because this is a public service position,” said Hacopian. “Had it been me at the board meeting I would have announced it, but then, it was not me.”
King was also unhappy as to the fact that the board was not informed immediately of her resignation and that Audre Levy, the superintendent/president, was informed before them but said nothing about the matter until two days after the fact.
According to Levy, Burke-Kelly let her know on Sept. 19 that she had handed in her resignation. She was unaware that the other board members knew nothing of Burke-Kelly’s decision, however, she did set up a meeting as soon as possible with the other board members to discuss the situation.
“That’s totally inappropriate,” said King in regard to the fact that the board members knew nothing about the resignation until Sept. 21. “The governing board is who gets to run the college. If the president resigns, then no one is running the college. So from Tuesday through Friday no one was running the college.”
On Friday a special meeting was held, and the Board of Trustees decided to go through a lengthy appointment process to find a new member.