To SMJUHSDFA members,

After speaking to a number of people, I feel I have enough information to tell the department chair election story.

In our last contract from 2013-2015, the following line item appeared in article 2.5.2, “Department Chairs (or Co-Chairs) and Delta CCL are elected by the respective constituency.”. This one line is what allowed members of the Faculty Association to elect their Department Chairs and Curriculum Council Liaison. During the negotiations that led to our current contract for 2015-2018, the District decided that this line was a non-mandatory bargaining item. Consequently, the District Office removed this language from the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Our Negotiating team did not agree with this removal and did everything they could within the law to have it placed back into the contract. Unfortunately, after a lengthy negotiations process, the final Collective Bargaining Agreement did not include this language regarding department chair elections.

In the Spring of 2016, the FA did hold elections for department chairs. This was still within the scope of the contract as we were in the middle of the negotiations process and therefore still working under the old 2013-2015 contract. Once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified and signed, after the 2015-2016 school year, we were no longer working under the old contract that allowed us to elect our department chairs. Under the new contract, department chair jobs were posted by the district office and some interviews were held. This was within the District Office’s legal rights and did not violate the current contract.

Some of you might be thinking what I have been thinking; there is nothing in the contract that says we can’t hold elections for department chairs. Therefore, I continued with the plan of holding department chair elections in the hope that the district would honor these election results. However, after months of long conversations and emails with the District Office, they have told me that they will not acknowledge any election we run regarding department chairs. The district office cannot legally keep the Faculty Association from running a department chair election; however, they have no legal obligation to acknowledge our election results. The District Office now considers the department chair positions as At-Will Stipend positions, and they will treat them as they do other Stipend positions.

Some of you have asked me if you should apply for the department chair positions while others have told me they are going to apply no matter the situation. One department explained to me how they already met informally to decide who will apply for the open position. Within our Faculty Association, there is a wide range of beliefs on this topic. Some of you have very strong convictions about the election of department chairs while others have told me they have no concern. With this in mind, the decision of who should apply for the department chair positions is up to you.