by JAMIE VERWYS
As Pima Community College moves forward into October, the search for a new hire in administration has already begun.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer Erica Holmes announced in an email on Sept. 25 that she had resigned from her position, which she has held less than a year. Her contract was slated to end June 30, 2016, but due to “personal reasons” her last day at Pima was Oct. 1.
In an email to all Pima faculty, Chancellor Lee Lambert wished Holmes the best of luck in her future.
“In accepting her resignation, I praise Dr. Holmes for her insightful and faithful service to Pima Community College during her tenure,” he wrote.
Holmes also addressed Pima faculty by email, expressing hopeful words about the forward momentum she believed the college was taking in the wake of multiple hardships.
“There are strong, competent and energized teams all across the district who will be able to implement planned initiatives,” she stated.
The cordiality however, is written fairly clearly in the Separation and Release Agreement, released by the Arizona Daily Star on Sept. 28.
Per the binding agreement, both parties may not make derogatory comments, all parties must claim Holmes has left for “personal reasons,” and Lambert would be required to write recommendations for her “confirming her positive contributions to the college.”
Also included in the agreement, is compensation to Holmes in two payments totaling around $150,000. The amount is roughly 12 months of pay and health benefits. The original contract with Holmes guaranteed her the pending amount before she was hired.
This doesn’t mark the first time Pima has had a provost that did not stay long term. There have been three different people in the position since 2012. Jerry Migler, the last provost, began to look for a new job after only about 6 months at PCC.
Holmes also looked elsewhere for shortly into the position, applying at Pasco-Hermando State College in Florida, according to a Daily Star report on Jan. 28.
Holmes’ primary objective when she arrived was to improve PCC’s attendance tracking procedures after the college was federally audited. The new procedures weren’t widely liked by students or by the faculty, who had to change their policies on a tight schedule.
In the Mutual Release of Claims clause it states, “Holmes expressly acknowledges and agrees that she is waiving any and all claims that she may have under the Age Discrimination in Employee Act.” In return for this, Holmes will “receive consideration beyond that which she has been entitled to receive before entering into this agreement.”
Lambert wrote in an email Sept. 28 that they were reassessing the position of Provost, one that Pima seems to have difficulty filling for a full year duration.
The college invited interested parties to write letters of interest to apply for the acting role as Provost. Pima hopes to fill the position by Oct. 7, though the search for a permanant Provost could take as long as a year.