Sunday, November 3, 2013

Three new appointees to bond oversight committee

Two volunteers with previous citizens’ bond oversight committee experience and a longtime electrical contractor are the newest members of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District CBOC.

Gwen Miller, an administrative assistant for an electrical contractor; Edward Oremen, an architect; and George Bonner, an electrical contractor, were appointed by the Governing Board at its Oct. 15 meeting.

The 11-member committee is charged with ensuring that revenues from construction bond measures Propositions R and V are spent on campus construction as promised to voters. The committee’s role is to review and report on district spending of taxpayers’ money for construction and to provide a public accounting of the district’s compliance with legal requirements.

Proposition R, a $207 million bond measure, was approved by the East County electorate in 2001 as the most realistic remedy to overcrowded campuses and widespread repair needs at a time of decreasing state support. Voters passed the $398 million bond measure Proposition V last November to continue the work started by Prop. R to address longstanding facility, infrastructure and technology needs.

Money from Proposition R, along with state funds, financed the construction or renovation of 13 major facilities, transforming the Grossmont and Cuyamaca College campuses into modern, high-tech centers of learning.

With primarily lighting and landscaping projects remaining to close out Prop. R, the first $80 million Prop. V bond series was recently issued. The district is now selecting architects and finalizing plans for the first Prop. V projects to be constructed – a teaching and performance theater at Grossmont College, and a student services building at Cuyamaca College.

Among the provisions of the construction bond measures was the appointment of an independent citizens’ oversight committee. As specified by the Governing Board, the committee includes community members with expertise in construction, procurement and finance, as well as representatives of business and taxpayer organizations.

The three new appointees fill vacancies left by two former members whose terms  expired and one seat that had remained open until this month’s appointment. CBOC bylaws stipulate that the committee consists of at least 10 members.

La Mesa resident Oremen, an award-winning architect with more than 50 years in the business, was a past member of the citizens’ oversight committee for San Diego Unified School District’s Proposition MM. He currently serves as vice chair of the oversight committee for Proposition S and N at the San Diego Community College District.

Miller, an El Cajon resident, has been involved in the construction industry for more than 35 years and served on the Salinas Union High School District bond oversight committee for two terms before moving seven years ago to San Diego County.

Bonner, a La Mesa resident, has nearly 40 years’ experience as an electrical contractor, designer, and a consultant in the utility industry. In 2005, he began his own business, Phazer Electric Inc., an electrical contracting and design firm in Spring Valley.

“We are most fortunate to have such an accomplished and talented panel of volunteers,” Governing Board President Bill Garrett said. ”The knowledge and expertise these individuals bring to the CBOC will serve the committee and public at large exceedingly well. The committee serves a critical role as taxpayer watchdogs, so the willingness of people like our three newest members to volunteer their time is of enormous benefit.”