CRACKING WISE: Flores in familiar spot

By DAVID MENDEZ

It’s only been a month, but so far I feel comfortable saying that I’ve learned the following this semester, Pima:

The milkshake machine in the West Campus cafeteria — I can’t vouch for the other campuses, unfortunately — is among the best moneymaking decisions that Pima Community College (or its contractor, Sodexo) has made in years.

Why, if they had installed this earlier, they may not have had to close down the child care centers.

It likely would have happened anyway, though. After all, the money that was paid to recently-fired John Crnokrak, management consultant and executive coach extraordinaire, had to come from somewhere, right?

The dismissal of Crnokrak, who reported directly to PCC Chancellor Roy Flores, is another in a long list of issues he’s faced in his career.

Back when he was the president of Elgin (Ill.) Community College, Flores was accused by anonymous board members of mismanaging college funds one year into starting his job as Elgin’s top executive.

According to a Chicago Tribune news report, the ECC board of trustees claimed he overstepped his bounds by creating the position of vice president of instruction – a charge he disputed.

He was offered a $63,000 buyout to leave his position, which was later withdrawn.

Flores was shocked by the board’s accusations, saying he was unaware of the politics that play out in these situations and that he didn’t research the board’s divisive history before accepting the position.

He also said he didn’t experience any similar politics as a vice president at Virginia Community College.

He stayed at Elgin for two more years before accepting the top job at Allegheny Community College in Pennsylvania.

There, Flores hand-picked his executive assistant for the position of vice president of academic affairs – a man who was later fired for falsifying his credentials, according to a news story by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Flores, who was said to be friends with the assistant, said he was unaware of the false credentials.

According to an Arizona Daily Star news story, Crnokrak was discovered by Flores.

The chancellor was said to have read one of Crnokrak’s self-published books and saw ideas that he felt would be a good fit for PCC.

Crnokrak was recently let go after years of consulting when it was found he had a history of sending inappropriate messages to Pima administrators.

It certainly didn’t help that he billed years of cell phone bills, flights, meals, rental cars and, in one instance, a massage to the college.

In Flores’ eight years as Pima’s top executive, the college has grown considerably and is in a position to do so well into the future.

But the fact that he has a track record of denial regarding subjects he should have more than a passing familiarity with (office politics in a region famous for political ploys; a friend and long-time coworker’s resume; the personality of a consultant who had been working with Pima since 2006) makes one wonder what else Flores might claim ignorance of.

Given his recent heart troubles, he may have had to cut milkshakes out of his diet completely, which is a shame.

The ice cream might ease the sting of the scandals.

Mendez is co-editor in chief of the Aztec Press.

 

Filed Under: Opinion

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