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Officials' pay increase sparks debate

Coast Community College District's trustees, however, defend the raises and allowances, saying the administrators need to be brought up to more competitive levels.

April 11, 2012|By Britney Barnes

Orange Coast College students and faculty this week questioned pay and mileage allowance increases for six top administrators across the college district amid widespread class and budgets cuts.

The Coast Community College District board of trustees, however, have defended the raises, saying the administrators were hired at lower salaries and need to be brought up to more competitive levels.

The college district — comprised of Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley and OCC in Costa Mesa — gave out more than $80,000 in pay increases and/or mileage allowances for its administrators. OCC's campus newspaper, the Coast Report, broke the story last week.

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The trustees in November approved nearly 9% raises each for two college presidents and two district vice chancellors, and added monthly mileage allotment to each of their contracts and two others.

"I just can't believe they're getting a raise when we're in a recession," said OCC criminal justice major Debi Haywood, 55, a Huntington Beach resident. "We're all struggling to get to school. Everyone's mad ... I think we ought to just protest."

Board Vice President Mary Hornbuckle said the district serves 60,000 students and only has three college presidents and three district vice chancellors to meet student and faculty needs.

The presidents and vice chancellors have taken on more work. As other managers have been laid off, they're left to working 12- to 14-hour days, said Trustee David Grant, a former OCC president.

"It seems really unfair, but in order to maintain the quality of the staff we have and the quality of administrators we have, we have to pay them a comparable salary of what they would get elsewhere," Hornbuckle said.

OCC President Dennis Harkins received a $16,000 pay increase and now earns $198,000, according to his contract, which was obtained through a public records request.

Coastline President Loretta Adrian, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administrative Services Andy Dunn and Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Deborah Hirsh each received a $15,000 boost to $190,000, according to the contracts. Dunn and Hirsh work for the district, whose offices are across the street from OCC.

Golden West College President Wes Bryan earns $217,928, but received no pay increase.

Bryan, college district Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Technology Andreea Serban and the other four administrators each received $3,480 annually for mileage reimbursement.

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