“What did the president know and when did he know it?”

Sue Lempert (Aug. 17, 2020) paraphrased that exhortation about Richard Nixon. She asked it of the San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees about former chancellor, and now Chancellor Emeritus Ron Galatolo.

Galatolo is currently under investigation by the DA, but that does not make him guilty.

Ms. Lempert implied that the Board of Trustees may have known “what” and “when.” As elected officials, their job was to provide oversight and accountability. They could have fired Galatolo, as “employee serves in the position at the pleasure (at-will) of the district” per Galatolo’s 2017 contract.

What caused the final rift a year ago? Rather than use their prerogative to end the employment relationship, the settlement agreement they signed indicated the intent was to avoid litigation. About what?

The board gave Galatolo the kitchen sink: a newly created job of chancellor emeritus with no responsibility; a contract extension until March 2022 at $39,000 a month; benefits, including retirement; held harmless for past infractions as chancellor; and, for the crème de la crème, the board’s abdication its authority to fire the chancellor emeritus.

Why would the board give Galatolo, someone they wanted out, a new contract as chancellor emeritus with unheard of perks? Clearly, Galatolo had the stronger hand when negotiating his exit; why was the board so weak?

That begs the question, why did the board agree to a quid pro quo, at taxpayer’s expense, to silence Galatolo, yet keep him around as chancellor emeritus?

Michael Reiner

Boynton Beach, Florida

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