FKCC president Gueverra gets a three-year extension

skinney@keynoter.comApril 30, 2014 

After giving him positive annual evaluations, the Florida Keys Community College Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously voted to extend college President Jonathan Gueverra's contract until July 1, 2017.

Gueverra replaced Larry Tyree to become the college's sixth president under an initial three-year contract that took effect July 1, 2012. The five-member board granted the three-year extension during its meeting at the college's Stock Island campus.

Gueverra, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, earns $180,000 per year and gets 35 paid vacation days.

On a four-point scale, board Chairman Bobby Stoky said the trustees' average rating was 3.89.

The college has refused the Keynoter's request for copies of the five evaluations. Asked why they won't be made public, board member Anne O'Bannon said, "That's not how we do things."

After a month of back and forth, Gueverra in January released evaluations of his performance completed by faculty members, but only after being contacted by the Keynoter's attorney.

In making the case for a contract extension, Gueverra talked about how the college has grown its reserves, stabilized enrollment that has been on a five-year decline, boosted dorm occupancy to around 90 percent and built a new marine engineering building that will open next week.

Referencing findings reported by the Florida Auditor General's Office detailing an inappropriate six-figure fund transfer from the college to the nonprofit organization that oversees the 100-bed dorm, Gueverra said, "We're dealing with it."

"We have become a more credible institution. We really are in good shape. Now is not the time to not have me here," he said.

Gueverra didn't mention that under his watch, the college has been placed on accreditation warning status by the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools based primarily on audit findings.

Accreditation essentially verifies an institution's legitimacy and allows students access to federal financial aid and to transfer course credit hours to other schools.

He briefly mentioned that a SACS committee visited the college last month and would make a decision on the warning status -- whether to remove it or escalate it to probation -- on June 19.

"They're the ones with the final determination. I'm not going to speculate," Gueverra said.

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