Last week, while Pima Community College’s Chancellor Roy Flores was trying to sell his plan to change the college’s admission policy, which would require incoming students to have a high school diploma or GED, and would shrink the college’s adult education department, the college was also interviewing four candidates for a new position that comes with a $148,188 salary: vice chancellor for government relations and public information.
The Range asked the college’s marketing and public relations manager, Paul Schwalbach, why the college decided to create such a position, wondering if the contentious reception to Flores’ plan has anything to do with the new job, as well as Pima County Superior Court Judge Stephen Villareal’s decision to force the college to release information as part of a public information lawsuit filed by the Arizona Republic on the college’s former student and Jan. 8 shooter Jared Lee Loughner.
Via e-mail, Schwalbach replied, “It is important for the college to communicate that it has a rigorous planning process. By combining public information and government advocacy, we can inform both officials and the public of the college’s goals and achievements as identified in its College Plan, which addresses fundamental issues facing the college and the community.
"As a result, the College created the position of Vice Chancellor for Government Relations and Public Information. The Vice Chancellor will serve as a key member of the College’s senior administrative team."
After the Tucson Weekly went to press yesterday, Schwalbach e-mailed additional requested information. Schwalbach wrote that the position opened June 10. Asked if the new position is specifically in charge of public information, he replied that the person "will be a key spokesperson for the College."
Last week, four candidates were interviewed, including C.J. Karamargin, communications director for U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived Loughner’s Jan. 8 shooting rampage.
Although Karamargin didn’t respond to a call or e-mail asking for comment on the position, the Range thinks the former Arizona Daily Star reporter would make a great king of information, and after what he and his co-workers have gone through this past year, no doubt Karamargin will have new experience responding to crisis, as well as those pesky requests for the full story and public information.