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L.A. Community College District elects new board president

Steve Veres has been elected to serve a one-year term as president of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees.

Trustees voted unanimously to elect Veres at a board meeting Wednesday. He succeeds Miguel Santiago, who did not seek reelection.

The district recently has faced serious challenges over its handling of a 14-year, $6-billion rebuilding program, including criticism in an August 2011 audit by the state controller that the program has been rife with poor planning, questionable spending and lax oversight.

The construction project became mired in controversy after the Los Angeles Times last year published a six-part series detailing mismanagement, cost overruns, delays and shoddy workmanship during an ambitious campaign to modernize the district’s nine aging campuses using bond money approved by voters in 2001, 2003 and 2008. About half of the construction funds have been spent so far.

Under Santiago, the district has begun a series of reforms, including imposing a moratorium on new projects, centralizing management and setting new audit procedures.

“I thank Miguel Santiago for his leadership, diligence and tenacity through one of the toughest years the district has faced,” Chancellor Daniel LaVista said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Board President Veres, who has proved to be a conscientious trustee whose first priority has always been the students of LACCD.”

Veres, who was raised in Boyle Heights and Huntington Park, was elected to the board in 2011. He is the district director for state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and previously served on the San Fernando City Council and as mayor of that city.

“The Los Angeles Community College District has a tremendous impact on Los Angeles, and I look forward to helping the district continue to move forward,” Veres, 36, said in a statement.

Trustee Tina Park was elected first vice president, and trustee Nancy Pearlman second vice president of the board.

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-- Carla Rivera

 
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