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PCC reduces number of division deans to save money

Pima Community College Chancellor Roy Flores announced late last month that the No. 1 step in dealing with state budget cuts would be reducing administrative positions.

The first evidence of that is a shakeup at the East and West campuses, effective July 1, reducing the number of division deans from seven to five.

Thomas Tomasky and Ricardo Castro-Salazar, the two East Campus division deans, will return to faculty positions, according to an e-mail sent to West Campus employees Friday.

West Campus President Lou Albert sent the e-mail, explaining that just one of the East Campus dean positions would be filled as the college tries “to reduce expenses while maintaining services for our students and our community” in light of state budget cuts and declining real estate values.

The college is funded through tuition, property taxes and state allocations.

The lone East Campus dean position will be filled by John Gillis, who is division dean of the health-related professions and the fitness and sport sciences programs at the West Campus, Albert wrote.

Gillis’ responsibilities will be redistributed among the four division deans remaining after he leaves.

Gillis said the move made sense because East Campus needed a dean and West Campus had a surfeit.

“It’s making a decision that benefits the wider college,” Gillis said.

Castro-Salazar said Wednesday the move to a faculty position was his choice.

“The main consideration was my family,” he said. “My wife is in a Ph.D. program at (the University of Arizona) and I want to be able to support her and we have a 2-year-old. The chancellor is being very wise and very humane in the way he has approached this whole (budget cut) issue, including personal decisions into his equations.”

Tomasky did not return calls seeking comment and college spokeswoman Rachelle Howell did not know if his return to a faculty position was voluntary.

Albert said Wednesday that the redeployment will cause the remaining deans to “work a little harder and certainly smarter,” but he appreciated managing the budget cuts with attrition and realignment rather than layoffs or furloughs.

“I’m convinced this is a way we can save some money and still not miss a beat,” Albert said.

He did not know exactly how much money would be saved by losing one dean position. Howell said specifics on money saved were not immediately available.

Howell said the shifting of deans is just “one piece of a large, complex picture” of Pima’s attempts to deal with more than $5 million in state budget cuts this year.

Other measures include travel restrictions, deferring replacing equipment, eliminating noncritical employee training and a hiring freeze on all nonfaculty positions.

The measures are taken to prevent layoffs and furloughs, Howell said.

The college board passed a $2 per credit hour tuition increase last month upon advice from Flores that, without it, staff would have to be laid off or take furlough days.

Howell said there have been no other reductions in division deans at the college’s four other campuses. Those campuses have between one and three division deans, according to PCC’s Web site.

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