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History Made At Cerritos College After Four New Trustees Take Office

History Made At Cerritos College After Four New Trustees Take Office

Cerritos College Superintendent Dr. Linda Lacey administers the “Oath of Office” to newly elected Trustees Robert “Bob” Arthur, John Paul Drayer, Carmen Avalos, Marisa Perez, and Dr. Sandra Salazar, MD. Photo by Randy Economy

By Brian Hews

Is was a historical night for Cerritos College on Wednesday when four newly elected Trustees took the official “Oath of Office” and began to get down to business.

With more than 200 people gathered, four newly elected trustees were sworn into office by Superintendent Dr. Linda Lacey.

Newly elected trustees, Marisa Perez, Carmen Avalos, Dr. Sandra Salazar, and John Paul Drayer along with incumbent Bob Arthur were officially seated and immediately selected Perez to lead the “new” Cerritos College Board of Trustees.

“Talk about ‘Changing of the Guard,’ this is amazing,” Norwalk resident and Cerritos College student Abel Marquez remarked.

Cerritos College Trustee Bob Hughlett, Superintendent Dr. Linda Lacey, and Board President Marisa Perez seen just moments after Perez was elected as new President of the Board. Randy Economy Photo

All five were elected in the recent November General Election in which voters, for the first time in the history of the college, elected Trustees via smaller voting districts as opposed to being elected “at large.”

Perez was selected to be the new Board President with the support of Avalos, Salazar and Drayer over longtime Trustee Robert “Bob” Hughlett who had the support of Arthur and Trustee Shin Liu.

“The voters elected us (Avalos, Salazar and Drayer) because they want Cerritos College to go into a new direction,” Perez told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper before the beginning of the meeting.

Avalos was selected as Vice President of the Board over Liu, and Salazar was voted as the new Secretary of the Board.

“This is a new day for Cerritos College,” Drayer said.

Drayer also made “history” on Wednesday night as he becomes the first openly gay Trustee in the history of Cerritos College.  Drayer will serve out the remaining two years of the Unexpired term of former Trustee Robert “Bob” Epple who died in 2011 after a battle with cancer.

“Tonight, I am remembering my friend Bob Epple,” Drayer said.  “I had the utmost respect for Bob and the Epple family and all of the contributions they made to Cerritos College. It is an honor to have the trust of the voters,” Drayer said.

A formal reception was held after the meeting at the Student Activities Center in which outgoing Trustees Ted Edmiston, Jeanne McHatton, Tom Jackson and Tina Cho were all recognized for their service to the college.

Longtime Cerritos community leader Charlie Ara was beaming during and after the meeting. “This is a giant historical event. This swearing-in of four new members was made possible by the California Voting Rights Act which was signed into law by Governor Gray Davis in 2002,” Ara told LCCN.

Ara also said that the selection of Perez as Board President “sends a powerful and symbolic message to the Student Body and surrounding community which is more than 50% Hispanic.”

Another observer, Luis Melliz, who is a candidate for a Bellflower City Council seat in March of 2013 said he was “inspired” to see that the new “Cerritos College Board of Trustees now looks more like the community.”  Melliz, 31, hopes to be the first Latino to win election to the Bellflower City Council.   “This campaign was about change and bringing Cerritos College into a new era,” Melliz said.

Consulting Contracts Put on Hold

During the business portion of the meeting, the new Board of Trustees, by the urging of newly elected Trustee Sandra Salazar delayed a decision approving a contract renewal for legal services with the Cerritos based law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, and Rudd & Romo.

Cerritos College Woman’s Soccer Team present game winning ball to the Board of Trustees.

The motion also placed on hold, until January, a new consulting contract with Sid Lindmark, AICP; as well as contracts with Environmental Consulting Services, as well as Physical Plant & Construction Services.

Soccer Champs HailedThe 2012 Cerritos College Woman’s Soccer Team was honored during the meeting for winning the California Community College Athletic Association State Championships. The team also was hailed as being “Americas #1 Ranked Community College Soccer Team” by team coaches as college athletic department officials.

Members of the Board of Trustees and Dr. Lacey were presented with an autographed soccer ball, a team jersey and a special sweatshirt.

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