IMPERIAL — The Imperial Valley College Board of Trustees appointed Juanita Salas by a 4-2 vote to fill the Area 5 trustee seat Wednesday.
Salas beat out Heather White, Jack Staton, Luis Andrade and Vivian Arzaga for the seat, which was vacated by Norma Sierra Galindo on Dec. 7.
Galindo stepped down as the Area 5 trustee in order to take office as a board member at the Imperial Irrigation District.
“I am honored and I look forward to serving Area 5 and the entire IVC community,” Salas said. “I want to make a difference in the lives of students and make this campus a world-class institution.”
During the interview process, which was open to the public, Salas said she looks forward to creating policies that would reflect the needs of the administration, faculty, staff and students.
“IVC is the cornerstone of the community,” Salas said. “I hope to be the voice for the campus community and address their concerns.”
Despite the openness of the interview, Salas said she was able to put her nerves aside with preparation.
“We received the interview questions a few days ago, and I just took the time to really focus on why I wanted to be here,” she said.
Area 5 community members have 30 days to petition the board’s decision or call for a special election before the appointment becomes permanent, said Frank Oswalt, IVC legal counsel.
Because the appointment is provisional, Oswalt said Salas may have to wait for the 30-day petition period to pass before she can officially take her seat.
“We have to review the laws, but we’ll know within the next few days whether or not she’ll be able to begin her term immediately or have to wait,” Oswalt said.
Should the community accept the board’s decision, Salas will serve as the trustee for Area 5 until the next general election in November 2014.
By making a provisional appointment to the vacant seat, the board saved the college the $25,000 cost of a special election.
IVC President Victor Jaime said he was happy with the board’s appointment of Salas.
“I truly believe any one of the candidates would have done an extraordinary job,” Jaime said. “We were all very impressed with each and every one of them.”
Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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