Statement Concerning the Alameda County Civil Grand Jury Report

The Peralta Community College District takes the findings of the Civil Grand Jury report seriously, and is pleased that the Civil Grand Jury recognized the progress made over the past year, at the direction of the Peralta Board of Trustees, in putting the District back on solid financial ground.

The Board of Trustees has taken aggressive action to improve fiscal oversight at the Peralta Community College District. The Board has made numerous changes in personnel, policies and procedures to improve transparency and accountability, a fact recognized in the report.

While detailing the history of the District’s retirement bond investments in its report, the Civil Grand Jury found much improvement in the District’s financial oversight and complimented the Board of Trustees on taking decisive action to address past concerns.

The report noted the following specific corrective steps that the Board of Trustees has taken:

  • The Board of Trustees hired an “eminently qualified” expert consultant who developed a Corrective Action Matrix and oversaw a financial recovery plan. The report notes, “the [Civil] Grand Jury believes implementation of this plan – still in early stages – has the potential for fully addressing the issues raised…” (Page 141)
  • The Board of Trustees hired a new vice chancellor of finance and administration, a budget director and other key finance staff; the Civil Grand Jury learned, according to their report, “that significant improvements have been made under the direction of the new vice chancellor,” as noted on page 143.
  • The Civil Grand Jury notes on pages 151-152, that “important signs” indicate progress has been made, including the development of sound fiscal management, the hiring by the Board of Trustees of a “highly qualified” and “credible” interim chancellor, a new vice chancellor, also “highly qualified” and “credible,” and new outside financial advisors.
  • The Civil Grand Jury also notes on page 152 that “the Board [of Trustees] is making progress in improving its fiscal decision-making and creating appropriate financial policies.”
  • The Civil Grand Jury concludes “the financial management of the district is now in competent hands.” It further states, “The appointment of the present interim chancellor … is a positive development…showing promise to guide the district through the recovery plan.”

In addition, the Board of Trustees has already implemented fully or partially all of the recommendations made by the Civil Grand Jury. For example, a Retirement Board was created on April 13, 2011, and has met three times.

The recommendations made in the report mirror the Corrective Action Matrix that the Board of Trustees has already implemented. Effective change, in step with the recommendations made by the Civil Grand Jury, is already underway at the Peralta Community College District.

The Board of Trustees has implemented a long-term solution to funding the District’s commitment to employee benefits by budgeting and setting aside funds on an annual basis. This will fully fund the actuarial liability facing the District over a 25-year period.

At the Board of Trustees’ direction, the District has begun the process of restructuring bond-related principal and interest payments. This restructure will allow the District to make consistent and moderate payments, while minimizing any financial impact to the classroom.

The Board of Trustees has taken action to put outdated investment strategies behind it, and the District is now able to concentrate fully on the Peralta Colleges’ educational mission. As noted throughout the Civil Grand Jury report, the Peralta Community College District is well on its way, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, to full financial recovery.

 

 Wise E. Allen

Chancellor

The Peralta Community College District

June 28, 2011