On Wednesday September 15th, this reporter sat down with Steven Spenser, candidate for the Yuba seat on our very own Board of Trustees.
David: Would you care to tell us about some of your previous occupations?
Steven: Whew. I was a fry cook – started out as a fry cook and worked up to manager of restaurants at Eppy’s (sic) Restaurants, and left them and went to on to Happy Steak for a couple of years. Then got out of that and went into painting houses. Got out of that and went into computers.
S: Computers. I took some electronics classes and then got into the program side of it. And went from there. And that’s how I got the position at Yuba College.
D: Oh! And what do you do at Yuba College?
S: Right now I am a Senior Computer and Network Specialist. I – basically, I run the administrative servers.
S: For the district.
D: Oh my, a very demanding job, it sounds like.
S: Yes. It can be very demanding. It’s kind of vast, but feast and famine at times. There’s times when you’re overloaded, and others where things are going pretty good.
D: What do you hope to bring to the seat on the Board should be elected?
S: I hope to bring a more common sense approach to things. I hope to improve communication. I’m very-an advocate of shared governance.
D: Shared governance?
S: Working with faculty; with staff; with students. What are the needs of the district? And, how do we get there?
D: How would you go about instituting these reforms?
S: I have offered to meet with classified staff on a monthly basis. I’ve offered that to faculty, and I would offer that to students as a trustee.
D: Would you offer that o administration as well? Or would that come part and parcel with being on the board?
S: That would come part and parcel, of course.
D: What else? Oh! Funding. Yes, it’s the wonderful f-word, isn’t it?
D: Funding. I can see you smiling.
S: My approach to the budget, and I’ve discussed this with other people, is to bring the budget under shared governance down to the department level.
D: As opposed to the current corporate model which is just top-down?
S: Top-down; it would be more bottom-up. What are the needs of the different departments? And, in doing that; in meeting in a department atmosphere, the employees of the department – faculty, staff, management can get a better buy-in. A better understanding of where the money is actually going into the department, and then expand out. So that now I know, as an employee, where the money is going in my department and I can discuss this with people in other departments, so that I have kind of a buy-in as where that money is going, where that money is being spent, if that money is being spent where its needed in the department.
D: If I can paraphrase, it sounds to me that you want the staff and faculty to be able to go to you and say, “We need X, it’d be nice to have Y, and though we don’t need it we could do with a little bit of Z.”
D: And then that would trickle up to you and the other members of the Board of Trustees, through the administration; with or without filters – I don’t know. And then you and the Board would say, “What sort of resources do we have to fulfill X, Y, and Z?”
D: And it also sounds like you want more accountability. Like say if X and Z were fulfilled but Y wasn’t, you’d want the Board to be able to tell the departments why Y wasn’t given.
S: More investigation, more communication.
D: How egalitarian, sir.