While under investigation by the District Attorney’s Office, Ron Galatolo was stripped of his chancellor emeritus title by community college officials who cut ties with the disgraced former administrator.
The San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Saturday, Jan. 6, to immediately end its unique arrangement with Galatolo.
Board Vice President Richard Holober announced after a closed session weekend meeting that the board would rescind and terminate its contract with Galatolo.
The decision arrived in advance of a forthcoming determination from county District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe regarding the results of a 2019 investigation launched into Galatolo’s financial management and other executive decisions while working for 18 years as the district's chancellor.
Trustee John Pimentel said the district initiated an independent investigation and discovered behavior persuading officials to end the relationship with Galatolo.
“Through this internal review, numerous material facts were found that were not provided to the Board of Trustees by the former chancellor emeritus when he entered into the contract,” he said in an email. “In light of these facts, and at a time when our hard-working students are struggling to pay SMCCCD tuition and fees to invest in their futures, the board found continued payments to the former chancellor emeritus to be unacceptable.”
Trustee Lisa Petrides shared a similar perspective, regarding the board’s interest in best serving the public.
“The board voted unanimously to rescind the district's employment contract with the former chancellor after careful consideration of material facts that have been brought to our attention, and as such we are acting in the best interests of the district and the public we serve,” she said in an email.
When the criminal investigation was announced, trustees placed Galatolo on administrative leave from the chancellor emeritus position created when plans were announced for him to depart from the chief administration post in 2019. In the chancellor emeritus position, Galatolo earned roughly $39,000 monthly in a baseline annual contract worth $467,700, slated to expire in 2022.
In the emeritus position, Galatolo was initially expected to work on plans for establishing a California State University branch through the community college district. Officials had previously pushed the proposal vigorously, but momentum has leveled off in recent years.
Looking ahead, Pimentel expressed certainty that the district’s decision will be backed in any forthcoming legal proceedings.
“I am proud of the courage demonstrated by my fellow trustees who voted unanimously to exercise the board's fiduciary responsibility on this matter,” he said. “We are confident the courts will agree with our action to rescind the contract, terminate all payments and seek recovery of all funds previously disbursed to the former chancellor emeritus.”