After less than one year in the position; hired before new board members elected; passed on 3-0-1 vote with one trustee absent; no details provided; appoints Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology as acting chancellor
By Allen Payton
After less than a year in his new position, Contra Costa Community College District chancellor, Dr. Bryan Reece was placed on paid administrative leave effective immediately by a 3-0-1 vote of the governing board, during their special meeting Tuesday night. Ward 1 Trustee John Márquez voted to abstain, and Ward 5 Trustee Fernando Sandoval was absent, as he was out of town on vacation.
Reece started on Nov. 1, 2020 after he was chosen by the board in September, not long before two new trustees were elected, including Sandoval and Board Vice President and Ward 2 Trustee Dr. Judy Walters, the latter of whom voted for Tuesday’s board action. The board approved his contract last October, which includes a base annual salary of $315,000, with performance-based incentives. Later that month, three new trustees were elected to the board, two of whom voted for in support of the action. (See related articles here and here)
The decision was made in closed session under the subject “Public employee discipline / dismissal / release / complaint (Government Code Section 54957)” that began at 5:05 p.m. and lasted for four hours.
According to the minutes of the meeting, “Mr. Li reconvened the public session at 9:05 p.m. Mr. Li reported out on motion of Dr. Walters, seconded by himself, with one aye vote from Ms. Barrett, one abstention from Mr. Márquez, and Mr. Sandoval was absent for the vote, the GB (governing board) approved paid administrative leave for the Chancellor, effective immediately. Mr. Li then adjourned the meeting at 9:06 p.m. The next regular meeting of the GB will be held on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.”
However, when reached for comment, Board President and Ward 3 Trustee Andy Li said, “we didn’t say anything during open session because it was a personnel matter. I made the statement, reporting out of closed session, since I’m the board president, informing the public of the decision.”
“Then a letter was sent out to the district employees, this morning,” he added.
In that letter, Li announced the action against Reece and the appointment of Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, who currently serves as Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology for the college district, as acting chancellor. (See related article)
Li’s Letter to District Staff
The following letter from Li was to district staff via email:
“This message is being forwarded on behalf of Governing Board President Andy Li
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Li, Andy” <email@example.com>
Subject: Governing Board Decision
Date: September 15, 2021 at 8:14:15 AM PDT
To: “Li, Andy” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear 4CD Community,
At our special meeting last night, the Governing Board placed Chancellor Bryan Reece on administrative leave with pay due to personnel matters. The Governing Board has appointed Mojdeh Mehdizadeh to serve as Acting Chancellor until further notice.
We ask for your support of Mojdeh during this time.
President, Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board”
Please check back later for any updates to this report.