Board forced Flores out, PCC official says in email

2012-04-21T00:00:00Z 2014-08-05T10:30:27Z Board forced Flores out, PCC official says in emailCarol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 21, 2012 12:00 am  • 

An email sent to a local taxpayer this week by a Pima Community College official casts doubt on the college's official explanation for the recent resignation of its former chancellor.

Facing allegations of misconduct from at least eight female employees, ex-Chancellor Roy Flores said in a letter released Tuesday by the college that he's stepping down June 30 due to "health problems."

The next day, Sherryn "Vikki" Marshall, a member of PCC's Governing Board, sent an email to a constituent saying Flores was forced out by the board.

"Everyone said get rid of him now. We have," Marshall wrote, adding the board acted quickly, "before any investigation has shown any wrongdoing has occurred."

She also suggests some female complainants may have suffered career-related retaliation after run-ins with Flores.

Marshall's email was sent to Patricia Gordon of Tucson, a former PCC adjunct instructor, who wrote to take the board to task for the way Flores' departure was handled.

Gordon didn't forward Marshall's reply to the Arizona Daily Star. But she did pass it on to one of the female complainants, who sent it to the paper.

Gordon confirmed the email forwarded to the Star was the same one she received from board member Marshall.

Marshall, reached Friday by cellphone and email, did not respond to requests for comment on the contents of her message to Gordon.

Flores also couldn't be reached. He hasn't returned eight messages left by the Star during the past week, including a voicemail left Friday. PCC has said in a news release that he denies any wrongdoing.

In her email, Marshall writes that board members had been hearing rumors for some time about Flores' problematic behavior, but opted not to take action until someone came forward with concrete details.

"It was always innuendo, no names, no dates, no identified behavior," she wrote. "Until now, all we've had boils down to gossip."

Women started coming forward to complain in March, while Flores was on medical leave for complications following a quadruple bypass last fall.

Marshall's email faulted the female complainants for not coming forward sooner.

"We expect our children to tell if they feel improper behavior is happening - these are adults - I wish they had stepped forward sooner," she wrote.

Marshall suggested an employee union would have protected women who complained.

But some of the women work in positions with no job protections. Some are single parents or sole supporters of their families, the Star has learned.

Marshall's email said the board is still looking into whether Flores retaliated against the women in ways that affected their employment.

"The people who have come forth and are talking with the board's attorney will have their day," she wrote.

"Investigations will be made into their personnel files to see if there was any retaliation, etc., and we will seek to make them whole again if there was."

Meanwhile, the college's interim chancellor acknowledged Friday that the college's procedures for preventing and reporting misconduct are inadequate and need an overhaul.

"We intend to strengthen internal processes regarding the prevention, detection and reporting of unprofessional conduct," Suzanne Miles said in a mass email to college personnel.

PCC will put new prevention training in place, Miles said, and also may create a external complaint process that is separate from the board and college administration.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

On StarNet: To read a PDF of the email sent from a PCC board member, go to azstarnet.com/pdf

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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