Way Too Much
PCC faculty members say Rocha doesn’t deserve such a generous severance package
By André Coleman 08/21/2014
Pasadena City College employees told the Weekly they are unhappy with the generous severance package awarded to outgoing President Mark Rocha.
As part of the deal, the PCC Board of Trustees agreed to give the embattled Rocha $403,826 in salary, unused vacation time and up to $16,000 for any legal fees he has incurred. The salary payout is equal to 18 monthly paychecks, according to the agreement.
College district officials at first denied the existence of the agreement but released it last week following the filing of a state Public Records Act request by the Pasadena Weekly.
The six-page agreement was signed by Board President Anthony Fellow on Aug, 7, one day after the board voted to approve the deal in closed session and failed to report it in open session, which is a violation of the state’s Brown Act, or open meeting law.
The agreement could also prohibit the Board of Trustees from answering questions which may be asked by their constituents due to a clause that prohibits public criticism of the former president by board members.
Rocha, who was originally under contract with PCC until 2017, formally retires at the end of August.
This is the second big severance package given to a PCC president in the past five years.
In 2009, the Board of Trustees approved a $300,000 payout to Paulette Perfumo. That package also allowed Perfumo to keep the luxury Cadillac SUV that she bought with her car allowance.
“I think on its face paying two large settlements is an enormous waste of tax dollars and something the voters will have their say on in this next round of elections,” said Professor Mary-Erin Crook, who teaches English as a second language and is a member of the Union of Pasadena College Faculty.
“I think it is good he is gone,” Crook said. “I hope the campus returns to a campus of open dialogue, which we have not had in years.”
Graphics Professor Kris Pillon echoed Crook’s sentiments.
“He didn’t even do a good job,” Pillon said. “The college is worse off than when he came. It’s a ‘fake’ retirement because the board was trying to get rid of him. The board needs to be held accountable with how they continue to make such poor decisions.”