Dr. Linda M. Thor, newly elected president of the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board, has announced she will soon propose to bring back a previous board decision that stopped a “meet and confer” faculty negotiation process that the board ended last year.
“Meet and confer” was previously used to negotiate faculty salaries and working conditions. Now, the district uses a policy that “recognizes the Governing Board as the final approval authority for all policy matters.”
The board’s controversial February 2018 decision to end the process has been criticized by faculty, who have expressed their disapproval so far as to file a complaint that the board is exceeding its authority with the district’s accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, according to AZ Central.
In order to bring “meet and confer” back, Thor would need a majority vote of the seven board members.
After a recent meeting however, the board most likely has a new majority that includes Thor, board member Dana Saar and recently elected members Marie Sullivan and Tom Nerini.
The members decided to have the meeting so they could vote on a new board president, even though Laurin Hendrix, the president at the time, had six remaining months on his term.
The meeting began with Hendrix resigning so the board could elect new officers, if they chose to do so. Hendrix voiced his regret over a “tough year”, including a threat and unknown vandals leaving swastikas in his front yard, AZ Central reported.
After Hendrix finished speaking to the board, Thor thanked him for his work and appreciated him recusing himself as president so the board could elect a new president.
Thor’s presidency began in January 2017. She has worked in community colleges for 41 years, 20 of which serving as president of Rio Salado College, the district’s online college.