Pete Campos, the outgoing superintendent of the Las Vegas City Schools, will get a five-year contract to serve as president of Luna Community College, its Board of Trustees decided Tuesday.
After an hour and a half closed session, the trustees voted 5-2 in favor of the contract.
Luna’s attorney, Tony Ortiz, said this morning that Campos will make $150,000 a year, which he said was consistent with other college presidents in New Mexico. The contract doesn’t include a provision for severance pay, he said.
The board selected Campos in January but didn’t haven’t a contract drafted at the time. The trustees delayed their regular meeting twice this month, in part, because the contract hadn’t been completed.
Voting against the contract were trustees Levi Alcon and Don Shaw.
Shaw said his vote in no way was meant to disparage Campos, a longtime Democratic state senator from Las Vegas.
“The only problem I have is with the five-year contract. Normally, it’s three,” he said.
Board Chairman Ambrose Castellano, however, defended the length of the contract.
“This shows continuity for the institution and faith in this man,” he said. “We want to make this a model institution for two-year colleges in the state and maybe the nation.”
Trustee Abelino Montoya said he voted for the contract, but he, like Shaw, had reservations about the five-year clause. But he said he knew Campos and believed that he has done much to improve the Las Vegas City Schools.
While he said five years was a long time, he contended that employees needed steady leadership.
“I had to balance things,” Montoya said.
Ortiz, Luna’s attorney, told the board that both sides would sign the contract and then it would be available for public inspection.
Sigfredo Maestas, Luna’s interim president, said the board spent the entire closed session discussing the Campos contract.
In January, Campos beat four other finalists for the top job; he was the only one without higher education experience.
In a statement recently posted on Luna’s Web site, Campos states, “I believe public schools and higher education are two sides of the same coin. Each is unique with its own set of challenges, but they have much in common.”
Throughout the long search process, Campos, who is considered powerful in the state Legislature, was widely expected to eventually get the job, even though he submitted his name after a search committee had whittled the list of applicants to six semifinalists. Campos was later added to the list of finalists after another one dropped out.
Campos has said he will be able to start serving as president after his contract with the City Schools ends June 30. He will be gone in Santa Fe for one or two months each year because of his duties as a state senator. But he has contended that he can multi-task and take his work with him.
Campos, who is from Santa Rosa, has worked for the last 15 years as an administrator at the City Schools.