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Control of $130 Million at Stake in Peralta District Shuffle: By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday November 26, 2004

The Peralta Community College District has been making extensive changes in its operations department in recent months. 

Among the changes is a move which consolidates two departments involving the control of $130 million in public construction funds, removing the director heading one of those departments, and then hiring her one month later as a long-term consultant. 

In August of this year, the Peralta Trustee Board approved a recommendation by Chancellor Elihu Harris, upgrading the post of director of purchasing to director of general operations. 

A month later, according the board minutes, that title reappeared as director for general services. At the same time, the trustees approved the hiring of Purchasing Director Sadiq Ikharo in the post of interim director for general services, at an annual salary of $112,000. 

According to Oakland project management consultant Ineda Adesanya, who recently left her $105,000 a year post as interim director of physical plant for the district, the job title change actually involved a consolidation of two departments—the Department of Physical Plant and the Department of Purchasing—with the general services director assigned to oversee both departments. But no record of that consolidation appears in board minutes. 

In a report issued last September, Adesanya had listed the overall function of the Office of Physical Plant as “the administration and development of all physical facilities, grounds, equipment, and energy conservation programs for the district.” 

Those responsibilities included implementing construction, improvement, maintenance and ground programs for the district, as well as negotiating and managing all consultant and construction contracts. 

The report said that as of mid-September, Peralta’s Physical Plant Department was managing nearly $130 million in construction projects. 

The August minutes of the Peralta Trustee Board included the notation that “a copy of the proposed job description [for the Director of General Operations] is included in Board packets.” 

However, unlike governmental bodies such as the Berkeley City Council, the Berkeley Unified School District, or the University of California Board of Regents, the Peralta Community College District does not post reports or other meeting backup materials to its website along with minutes of meetings. 

Chancellor Harris did not return telephone calls related to this story, and newly-appointed Interim Director for General Services Ikharo referred queries to the office of Marketing and Communications Executive Director Jeff Heyman. Heyman said all queries on the matter would have to be submitted in writing, and any documents could be supplied following a written request under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Adesanya left her Peralta position at the end of September of this year. A month later, upon Chancellor Harris’ recommendation, the Peralta Board of Trustees approved entering negotiations with Adesanya’s Oakland-based IPA Planning Solutions company for a three-year, $90,000 contract to develop and coordinate a Facilities Master Plan and Strategic Master Plan for the current facilities and capital construction of the district. 

Adesanya said in a telephone interview that under the proposed contract, “I’ll be developing a Facilities Master Plan, which evaluates use of current facilities, the actual educational programs, and the conditions of the facilities, whether or not the boilers are working properly, the buildings are falling apart or need paint, that kind of stuff. So we are evaluating the existing facilities to see if they are adequate to service the educational programs at our four colleges. And then I will be making recommendations on what is needed in facilities to adequately service the educational programs.” 

Adesanya said her plan would definitely not involve a master land use plan for development of the district’s potentially developable properties, a subject that became an issue in the recent Board of Trustees election. 

That contradicted an earlier assertion by Ikharo, who had told the Daily Planet in an interview concerning a previous story that the IPA contract involved developing a plan for underutilized properties such as the athletic fields at Laney College.f