The Palomar Community College District announced Wednesday that its Governing Board placed Superintendent and President Joi Lin Blake on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation.
The board voted Tuesday to place Blake on administrative leave and appointed Jack Kahn, who served as vice president of instruction and assistant superintendent under Blake, as the district’s acting superintendent and president. According to the district, the action is precautionary and is not indicative of disciplinary action against Blake.
“It is my request that we all respect the privacy of all parties at this time,” Kahn said in a campus-wide email. “Doing so will allow us to focus on the important work of the district. Together, we will remain focused on student success, our response to the (Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team) report and building toward a successful spring semester.”
Blake’s tenure leading the district hit turbulence as a large swath of the college’s faculty cast a “no confidence” vote in her leadership in October. According to the Palomar College Faculty Senate, 75% of faculty members participated in the vote and 92% of those voted “no confidence.” The faculty senate presented the vote’s results to the Governing Board last month.
Blake has faced partial criticism for the district’s dire financial straits, as revealed last month in the state’s FCMAT report, which found that the district is at a high risk of financial insolvency and cannot mitigate that risk through increased enrollment and similar revenue increases. The district could also be forced to borrow at least $6.5 million in the next two years to remain solvent, according to the report.
The district did not indicate whether its investigation will include its fiscal health, only that it is mulling how to address the report’s recommendations, which include more efficient budget development, comprehensive internal auditing and a review of the management structure.