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“To me, that’s a no-brainer,” said Board trustee Tony Ruiz, referring to the Board’s unanimous vote to pay Victor Krimsley the hefty sum.

Through the end of April, Krimsley is assuming the duties of superintendent/president of Gavilan College, which has three campuses in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister. President Steve Kinsella is out due to back surgery for an entire month.

Krimsley, who is now retired, served as interim vice president of Instruction at Gavilan three different times from 2007 to 2009.

He also previously stepped in as interim president on two separate occasions in December 2008 through January 2009 and again in April 2008 when the president was gone for medical reasons. On those occasions, Krimsley was paid a prorated salary of ,000 a month, based on Kinsella’s 4,000 yearly income at the time.

Still, the board could have leaned on its two remaining, full-time vice presidents – Kathleen Rose, Executive Vice President and Chief Instructional Officer, and John Pruitt, Vice President of Student Services – to share the responsibilities of overseeing the campus in Kinsella’s absence, rather than bringing on Krimsley.

But the Board counters: Additional presidential duties have amassed since the retirement of the college’s former third vice president, Joe Keeler. His position has been vacant since December.

The decision to hire Krimsley “was not taken lightly,” Board President Kent Child maintains. He adds that the Board is “always looking at ways to reduce costs where possible.”

Furthermore, trustees say by hiring Krimsley right away they eliminated a 20 percent search fee by not going through a staffing firm. Also, Krimsley’s compensation does not include standard health and benefits provided to other administrative personnel at Gavilan College.

In the case that Kinsella needs more time to recover from his back surgery, the Board would have to vote on an extended compensation agreement with Krimsley.

“I suppose it could be longer if Steve’s not able to get back in the saddle,” Ruiz said.

Still, Gavilan’s justification of paying one man ,000 for one month’s work is a hard sell for students like Michelle Kobobel, 26.

“That is completely outrageous,” said the third-year nursing student last week. “We have all these problems with budgets for schools. I don’t understand how they have that ability to pay someone that much for only one month.”

Her sentiments were echoed by freshman Izaiaz Barrera, 18, Christopher High School graduate and social science major at Gavilan. He called the Board’s decision “absurd.”

“You know something is wrong with the system,” Barrera said. “It’s working against us (students).”

When Krimsley was informed by the Dispatch about an email from a Gavilan classified worker who thought Krimsley’s salary would be better served filling a vacant position at the college, Krimsley likened that suggestion to “trying to compare apples to oranges” since “it’s two different things.”

Krimsley pointed out his position “is for one month. When you fill those (year-round) positions, it’s an ongoing expense.”

Any additional, ongoing expenses are exactly the thing the college is trying to avoid.

As of March 2013, Gavilan has a ,613,542 operating budget for the 2012-13 school year. But that’s an ever-fluctuating figure throughout the year due to uncertainties in state funding, according to Public Information Officer Jan Berstein-Chargin for the college.

Even with the passage of Prop 30, which provided roughly 0,000 in restoration funding to the college, Gavilan still had to make 0,000 in cuts – which were recommended to the board by its Expenditure Reduction Task Force – to trim its .2 million budget deficit. The task force has been activated three other times in the past since 2003 to find cost-saving measures.

Along with Krimsley’s familiarity with Gavilan and the urging of the Board by Kinsella to use an interim president, another key factor in the trustees’ decision is that Gavilan is in the final stages of undergoing “an extensive accreditation process,” according to Child.

An accreditation process, which keeps a community college such as Gavilan in good academic standing with the state, must take place every six years. The process culminated a few weeks ago with a visitation from state educators and Child argues that Rose’s time continues to be greatly consumed with the associated responsibilities. Had this not been the case, Rose would have been the Board’s choice to fill in for Kinsella.

Not only that, “(Krimsley is) really very, very familiar with the people, the issues, the staff and the community at Gavilan College,” Child said. “He has the ability to hit the deck running.”

“The morale at Gavilan is very good despite those people who are unhappy,” Board trustee Tom Breen insists. “I trust we’ll work our way through it and satisfy most people.”

There are currently 118 permanent classified workers at Gavilan. The college currently has four current vacant classified positions the board has chosen to not fill. That includes two part-time security guards and two assistant accountants.

Kinsella has served as Gavilan’s president for nine years, beginning in 2003. He has been in the California community college system since 1991, and became the Chief Business Officer of Gavilan College in 1996.

Beginning Jan. 1 2012, Kinsella's salary rose from 4,090 to 5,090. It will increase by ,000 to 6,090 by 2015, as described in his contract dated Oct. 26, 2011.

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