College chancellor clarifies Pomeroy seat decision

Dec. 7—A day after Yuba Community College District Governing Board Chancellor James Houpis told the Appeal via an emailed statement that the college's board of trustees would be appointing a person to the seat won by the late Eric Pomeroy, Houpis clarified with the Appeal on Tuesday that no actual decision has been made, despite previously declaring matter of factly in that statement that an appointment would be made instead of a special election.

On Monday in an email to the Appeal that included a statement on behalf of Houpis, that statement said, "The YCCD Governing Board will be appointing an individual to the vacant position before January 31, 2023." That email with the statement was sent by Cheresse Salamanca, executive assistant to the chancellor and board of trustees for the Yuba Community College District.

Because decisions such as these often need to be approved by a board, the Appeal asked for clarification on Tuesday as to why Houpis stated that an appointment will be made, when no board decision has actually been voted on.

"To be correct, the Board has the authority to decide whether they move forward with an appointment or a special election, which they have yet to do," Houpis said in an email to the Appeal on Tuesday. "If the Board decides to use the appointment process, then the appointment will need to be made by January 31st. If they decide to have a special election, then we will have to work with the County."

In a follow-up email, Houpis said "the initiation statement came from my executive assistant." He then went into slightly more detail about how the process will work.

"California law requires the vacancy be filled within 60 days if it is by appointment. With such a tight timeline, many things have to be accomplished in short order," Houpis said. "... At the December 15th Board meeting, the Board will confirm how it wishes to fill the seat. Past practice has been by appointment, but the Board can ask for a special election."

Pomeroy, a former assistant superintendent for career and college readiness for the Sutter County Superintendent of Schools, died in October in a head-on crash while driving to Roseville for a swim meet with his daughter.

After the sudden and tragic death of Pomeroy on Oct. 8 and because he defeated Rita Andrews for the Trustee Area No. 3 seat with 58.78% of the vote, the board is now faced with two possibilities to fill the position.

Donna Johnston, the elected clerk-recorder/registrar of voters for Sutter County, previously said that if Pomeroy were to win in the Nov. 8 election, then a vacancy would be created when the term starts.

Johnston said if that were to happen, then the Yuba Community College District Board of Trustees would have the option to either appoint someone to the seat or call for a special election.