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TCC trustee criticizes vote on chancellor's pay

Tarrant County College District trustee Joe Hudson is asking fellow board members to revisit the pay package offered to Chancellor Leonardo de la Garza, saying he didn't know board members would be voting on the $325,000 a year contract when he left a June 25 meeting before it was adjourned. In a letter to board president Louise Appleman and two other members Monday, Hudson said that the board voted in a June 18 meeting to offer de la Garza a one-year contract at "a salary increase commensurate with what other employees are expected to receive."

He says he was then "shocked" to read a newspaper account June 26 that the board had voted to offer de la Garza a three-year contract and "additional compensation."

"How did this occur? Why was I not informed that the official vote of the trustees on June 18 would be reconsidered - if that is what occurred - on June 25?" Hudson's letter said.

But Appleman, the board president, said the agenda for the June 25 meeting - which was called so trustees could vote on the school's purchase of the Radio Shack Corporate headquarters downtown - made it clear that de la Garza would also be discussed.

She said that after the Radio Shack vote she told members that, after a recess, the board would reconvene "to revisit the issue of the chancellor's contract" with legal counsel and the school's vice chancellor for administration present.

"Everyone knew to anticipate serious discussion and possible action," Appleman said.

Hudson's letter said he left the morning meeting to go to work. He says he would have asked that the vote be postponed if he knew it was planned. Hudson is the board's Northeast Tarrant County representative and has been a critic of the college's former plans for a downtown campus. He was elected to the board in May.

Under his previous contract, de la Garza makes $295,000 a year. Appleman said Tuesday that the 10.2 percent increase was justified because de la Garza had not had a raise in three years - a time when other college employees received yearly bumps of three to five percent. She said Hudson is wrong about the $325,000 amount changing from the June 18 to the June 25 meeting.

Only the length of the contract was changed, she said.