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Citrus College Approves President’s Controversial Pay Raise

After angry debate among trustees and classified employees, the Board of Trustees approve Dr. Gerri Perri’s salary increase to $251,000 at the end of four years.

Despite public outbursts, personal jabs and bitter debate, the Citrus College Board of Trustees approved President Dr. Gerri Perri’s controversial annual raises in a divisive 3-2 vote Tuesday.

Classified employees crowded into the boardroom and expressed outrage over the proposed contract adjustments, which ensured Perri’s employment through 2016, and included annual step raises similar to other management employees. The raise would increase her current $215,000 salary to $251,000 after four years pending continued positive annual evaluations.

The contract also gives Perri 2.83 vacation days per month, which can be cashed out at the end of the year.

But public comment speakers, mostly classified employees, complained of the reduction of classes, teacher layoffs and a $5.7 million cut from Citrus College’s $55 million budget, calling the proposed pay increase during tough budgetary times “in poor taste.”

“The sanity of even discussing a raise is unbelievable,” said Glendora resident Debbie Neal.

Classified employees also complained that under their current contract, seven years would pass before they would see another opportunity for a pay increase.

“Classified morale is at an all-time low,” classified employee Scott Norman told the board.

The debate extended to members of the Board of Trustees who engaged in contentious banter during the meeting.

Dr. Edward C. Ortell took issue with items in Perri’s contract, calling them inappropriate, especially with the uncertain passage of Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiatives in the November election.

Trustee Dr. Patricia Rasmussen called Ortell’s comments “bad boardsmanship.”

“These things were discussed in thorough discussion after the board meeting,” Rasmussen told Ortell. “Everyone had an opportunity to give insight. It is bad boardsmanship to come back after the fact after you approved it in closed session.”

Trustee Susan M. Keith defended Perri’s contract, praising Perri’s “unanimous” positive evaluation and citing all employees' annual step increases.

“I know a lot of people don’t want to consider step and column as a salary increase. It is a salary increase. It is an automatic salary increase,” said Keith. “[Perri] has gotten nothing, not a cent in the last four years since she has been at the college.”

The Board of Trustees approved Perri’s contract in a 3-2 decision, with Rasmussen, Keith and Joanne Montgomery voting in favor of the contract. Ortell and Dr. Gary L. Woods were the two dissenting votes.

NWT July 20, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Hilarious! Though not really. Sayitisntso, Anytime you'd like to put the schizophrenic rantings aside, and articulatly debate an issue whilst not resorting to a grade school playground mentality, I'm all ears.
Erin Thorn July 20, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Maybe someone else can point out the obvious that a bandaid doesn't prevent hemorrhaging? Let's pick out the figure of speech and tear it apart since we don't have an answer for the actual problem. Gayle you are right about the doom and gloom.
Charles Castillo July 21, 2012 at 03:29 AM
The vacation payout is really the underhanded moneygrab that could easily double the 4% raise that was awarded. Do the math. Citrus employees already get 17 paid holidays a year (that includes shutting down the college around Christmas time), so the idea of being able to use up 8 weeks of vacation on top of that is ludicrous. The president makes $1000 dollars a day ($215,000 divided by 222 days contracted) if she uses half of the awarded 44 vacation days, she will get paid out 22 days. That would be a $22,000 payout on top of the 4% raise she would receive! Dr. Rasmussen, Dr. Keith, and Mrs. Montgomery need to be voted out or at the least be given a vote of no confidence!
Dan Crandell July 21, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Anger makes more since when you actually have the math to fan the flames. Charles if this information is correct, trust but verify, a vote of no confidence should be demanded immediately. Boggles the mind.
Charles Castillo July 21, 2012 at 12:03 PM
The info is verified. Also Trustee Sue Keith said the President hasn't had a raise since she was hired. That is also not true. Every year the 3 ladies have approved a $40,000 housing allowance on top of her salary. Perri is the first President at Citrus to receive this perk. 2 of the board members have always opposed that perk but the three ladies have always approved it and increased it! That is a perk that has never sat well with the majority of employees at Citrus.

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