Applicant pool shrinks from 7 to 6 for COD vacancy

PALM DESERT — The applicant pool for the Trustee Area 3 vacancy on the College of the Desert has dwindled from seven applicants to six, according to those familiar with the process. One applicant was rejected for not living within the Trustee 3 area, which you can see in this link.

The identities of the applicants have not been made public, but at least four applicants have made their identities known. They are former Palm Springs Mayor Ron Oden; Rocio Conde, president of LULAC of the desert; David Powell, executive director of the Coachella Valley’s LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce; and Al Jones, former Assistant Vice Chancellor in the Office of the Chancellor for the California State University system of 23 campuses.

If a provisional appointment is made, the person appointed to the position shall hold office only until the next regularly scheduled election for District Board members, when the election shall be held to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.

The provisional appointment will be made by a majority public vote of the Board members at a public meeting.

Each of the six applicants is vying to fill the seat of former Trustee Fred Jandt, who resigned in March due to health issues.

Interestingly, since at least February of 2010, the Trustee Area 3 seat has been held by a member of the LGBTQ community. Michael O’Neill was appointed in 2010 and won election in 2012. He resigned in December 2015.

Jandt was first appointed to the Board of Trustees in February 2016. He was one of eight applicants who applied. He was elected in November 2020. His term was set to expire in 2024. Trustee Area 3 generally includes Palm Springs and Cathedral City.

COD Trustee Area 3 Applicant Pool Narrowed to 6

Al Jones

COD Trustee Area 3 Applicant Pool Narrowed to 6

David Powell

“I am a strong advocate to build a community college campus in Palm Springs,” Jones said. “I have served on Coachella Valley committees advocating not only for a 24th CSU Campus – CSU Palm Desert (I helped bring up CSU San Marcos and CSU Monterey Bay) but also for a community college campus in Palm Springs.”

Powell said, “I am independent, and not ‘politically’ aligned with any one person or group on issues that are being reviewed or acted upon by the district. I did mention my intent of applying for this position to each of the four current trustees, but I did not ask for their endorsement, nor did I ask for their vote. I will let the process determine who they select for the position.”

In a Facebook post, Powell said that many may say that the main issues are building campuses and getting a new leader who is in line with fulfilling promises.

“I believe the most important issues are supporting current students with valued and valuable opportunities for learning, and developing programs that will support the future needs of our valley,” Powell said. “This includes giving local residents/students a strong foundation for learning, and, if they wish, to continue their education after COD. Further, it includes continuing to provide and expand solid occupational training programs for careers that will deliver services to our residents well into the future.”

Yes, Powell said, campus completion and program development are very important, like the Palm Springs Campus and the Roadrunner Motors Project in Cathedral City.

“But it’s also important to look objectively at other projects throughout our Valley to ensure that future student needs are met, and hopefully exceeded,” Powell said. “There is so much more that we have not been exposed to through the media, or even through monitoring board and committee meetings. The goal will be to maintain objectivity throughout this process, and after assuming the position.”

Trustees have been asked to score each applicant.

On Tuesday, May 16, Executive Assistant, Armando Robles, will tally the scores and contact the top four candidates. In addition, he will send a letter to those not selected.

Finalists invited to interview will do so during an open session meeting, expected to take place May 19.


Image Sources

  • College of the Desert: COD