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SANTA ANA : College Trustees’ VP Pick Draws Heat

The Rancho Santiago College Board of Trustees on Tuesday elected trustee Shirley Ralston as the president of the seven-member board.

While Ralston was the board’s unanimous choice, the selection of longtime trustee Rodolfo Montejano as vice president drew criticism from new trustee Charles (Pete) Maddox, who was sworn im for a four-year term Tuesday along with Ralston and longtime trustee Carol Enos.

Montejano is a lawyer and lobbyist who is reportedly under investigation by the Orange County Grand Jury, which is trying to determine whether Montejano improperly influenced city officials on behalf of his clients.

Montejano, 52, has announced plans to move to Indiana in the future but has not said exactly when the move will take place or when he plans to step down from the board. As vice president, he would most likely be elected president of the board the following year, if board tradition is followed.

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“He’s going to be resigning, so that puts us in limbo, waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Maddox said.

Concerning the inquiry, Maddox said: “It’s not an issue of if he is innocent or guilty. The issue is that he’s a trustee, and there’s a cloud around him.”

Montejano said the investigation is “irrelevant” to his role as a trustee. “I’m simply next in line, and we’re following the same (rotation) procedure that we’ve followed for the last 20 years,” he said. “Next year, if I’m still here, I would step up to the presidency.”

Ralston, 54, was first elected to the board in 1981 and had previously served as president in 1985. In November, she was unopposed for reelection to a new four-year term.

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“I am looking forward to working with our board members and encouraging a close working relationship, because our primary goal is to ensure the success of our students,” Ralston said.

Ralston, a 1980 graduate of Rancho Santiago College, was appointed earlier this year to the California Community College Board of Governors by Gov. George Deukmejian.


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