Columbia College leader's dismissal confirmed

naustin@modbee.comApril 29, 2013 

The firing of Columbia College President Dennis Gervin was briefly put aside Monday while the Yosemite Community College District Board discussed the situation in closed session. But in the end, board members voted unanimously to end his contract.

Gervin, 52, was abruptly fired Feb. 28. Leslie Buckalew, the college's vice president of student learning, is filling his seat until a permanent replacement is found.

"Dr. Gervin through his attorney alleged that the YCCD had violated the Brown Act because he was not given 24-hour notice with respect to his termination," board President Abe Rojas said in a statement.

"The YCCD Board of Trustees do not agree that there was any Brown Act Violation, but out of an abundance of caution and in order to allow Dr. Gervin an opportunity to be heard in this important matter, we are open to reviewing it again," he said.

When the board reconvened, Rojas announced the result. "The district will terminate Dr. Gervin's employment agreement in 60 days. Dr. Gervin will have an opportunity during the 60 days to address the board again if he desires," he said.

After the meeting, Gervin's attorney called the board's ruling "disappointing."

Attorney Mina Ramirez said, "We don't think the termination is just and will explore our legal options in that regard."

Gervin took the presidency July 1, 2011, moving up from being Columbia's vice president of student learning. He spent 10 years at Modesto Junior College before switching to the district's foothill campus.

His base contract was worth about $190,000 a year.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339, on Twitter, @NanAustin, www.modbee.com/education.

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