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Job Status of Moorpark College Head Still Unclear : Education: Trustees meet for two hours to consider Stanley L. Bowers’ role in alleged financial irregularities.

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SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The future of Moorpark College President Stanley L. Bowers remained unclear late Tuesday after a two-hour closed session at which Ventura County Community College trustees considered his role in questionable financial transactions between the college and its private foundation.

The trustees declined comment on whether Bowers will keep his job or be disciplined in any way. They were expected to resume discussions in private late Tuesday evening after a public hearing on the district’s budget.

The board learned earlier this month that Bowers and Lawrence G. Lloyd, the college’s vice president for administrative services, had been involved in sidestepping pension and union regulations by paying two college employees with money funneled through the Moorpark College Foundation.

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A confidential report prepared last week by the district’s lawyer, Stuart Rudnick, alleges that Lloyd developed the scheme and that Bowers consented to it although they knew it violated state law.

The report contends that the conduct of the men goes beyond neglect and ignorance of the law, and “rises to the level of willful misconduct.” However, the report finds no evidence of criminal behavior.

The financial transactions involve about $25,000 paid to two college employees during 1989 and 1990 to coordinate a program that assists private businesses by offering college courses tailored to their needs.

One of the employees was retired from the college and the other was a part-time worker. The salaries for the two employees were funneled through the private foundation rather than the college to circumvent union contract provisions regarding part-time workers and state pension regulations, Rudnick said.

For Bowers, it is the second time in six months that he has come under fire. He was reprimanded by the trustees in December for improperly transferring $51,000 in campus bookstore profits to the private foundation, which bought new furniture for the president’s office and a country club membership in his name. Earlier this year the foundation returned $16,000.

Bowers also was criticized for funneling $3,152 in bookstore profits to Ingrid Ely, the college’s former alumni association president, to pay for travel.

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Both actions appear contrary to state civil law, which requires that bookstore profits be spent for the benefit of students, trustees said at the time. Civil violations can lead to fines but not imprisonment. Bowers, while accepting the trustees’ sanction, insisted that his actions were legal.

The transfers surfaced last year during an investigation into community college Trustee James T. (Tom) Ely, the husband of Ingrid Ely. Both are now being tried for alleged conspiracy and embezzlement. The charges stem from filing false travel claims with the college district.

Bowers’ role in the transfers is still the focus of an inquiry by the Ventura County district attorney’s office, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The latest alleged impropriety was uncovered this year when members of the nonprofit foundation, which raises money for the college, asked for an audit of it.

Bowers and Lloyd have insisted that there was nothing improper about paying the two employees through the foundation. They also have claimed the arrangement was approved by Tom Kimberling, the district’s vice chancellor of administrative services. Kimberling announced his own resignation last week after coming under attack for his supervision of district money and pleading guilty to physically abusing his wife.

Bowers, who earns $94,559 a year, was appointed president of the college in 1989.

Before that, he was vice president for administrative services for five years and had served in other administrative positions at the college.

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Before coming to Moorpark College in 1977, he was associate dean of instruction and administrative dean at Ventura College for two years. He has taught at Stanford University, Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Northridge.

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