Yavapai College District Governing Board member Al Filardo has announced his resignation, effective Thursday, Dec. 1, ending his tenure on the board two years before the expiration of his term.
Filardo announced his resignation at the YCDGB meeting Oct. 11, referencing the board’s 3-2 vote in favor of suspending the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee as the reason for his departure. Filardo was a charter member of the committee, having been instrumental in its creation.
According to Filardo, the VVBAC had represented the post-secondary education concerns of the Verde Valley region ably for a year and a half, only to be effectively disbanded without a discussion of whether or not the committee had fulfilled its mission.
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Filardo addressed several comments directly to YCDGB member Steve Irwin, who called for the motion to vote on Sept. 12 to suspend the VVBAC.
“That was very disturbing to me, because what I heard was, ‘The mission is complete’ — but there was no discussion as to what the mission is,” Filardo said, questioning why Irwin was so “centered” on disbanding the VVBAC after its demonstrated efficacy in advocating for the communities of the Verde Valley.
“I’m trying to understand your logic on this, because there’s no logic,” Filardo added. “You talk about public relations. Every newspaper we have in the East Valley, including the one that has historically sided with the college, think it was a terrible move. I kept thinking, ‘Where the heck did we miss?’”
YCDGB President Patricia McCarver asked Filardo why he opposed the vote. According to McCarver, during the Sept. 12 meeting, Filardo had expressed a desire to hear from other voices.
“I said, ‘I support your idea of possibly getting new ideas,’” Filardo countered. “It was a rigorous process to put people into this, and we got rid of it without due process .... Think about those citizens that went to all the trouble to apply to this. We just got rid of them. It was a huge slap in the face.
“It just kills the credibility of the board. And I don’t know what the motivation is. I really don’t.”
McCarver said that the board had suspended the VVBAC not to quash voices within the Verde Valley but to seek another kind of input: “The rationale from my perspective is that we’re seeking a new focus .... I don’t think it’s an intention not to hear from the Verde Valley.”
According to McCarver, the VVBAC had completed its mission, in no small part due to Filardo’s influence.
Filardo repeated his claim that suspending the VVBAC had been done with no discussion to make sure the committee’s mission had been completed, calling the majority of the board’s actions “rude and unprofessional.”
“I just thought it was out of form. It was, for lack of a better term, unprofessional and it lacked due process .... I will be handing in my resignation, and Dec. 1 will be my last effective day,” Filardo said, adding that he would be requesting five minutes during his final board meeting to say goodbye to members of his constituency.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” McCarver said. “I think it’s unfortunate you would choose to resign over that.”
After business moved on to agenda items, YCDGB member Deb McCasland said, “I’m amazed with the lack of concern about a board member willing to resign over these allegations.”
Following the meeting, former VVBAC member Carolyn Fisher stated that, “Al worked very hard to put together the plan for the VVBAC and continued to help us grasp the issues. While I understand and share his frustration that the three members of the board from the west side of Yavapai County stopped our efforts, I am saddened that we will lose his voice on the board. I hope he will reconsider and withdraw his resignation.”
“I don’t think they gave him much of a choice, the way he was treated,” former VVBAC Vice President Bill Regner said, adding that though Filardo had treated his fellow board members with respect, that respect — including fair and equitable treatment for his constituents in the Verde Valley — was rarely returned.
“They didn’t honor his role,” Regner said.