President’s Message

With the governor’s initial budget proposal for 2017-2018 offering very little in increases to base funding or COLA’s, status quo seems to be the name of the game.  For FHDA, the challenge with this concept comes from our continuing enrollment decline, further reducing our base funding, rising administrative costs and the very real impending increases to PERS and STRS retirement obligation to employers.  The state chancellor’s office has stated there is a clear expectation from policy makers that funds have been provided – through increases to base funding and COLA’s – to ensure colleges are covered for new expenses related to pension cost increases.

The PERS/STRS challenge isn’t unique to FHDA.  Nearly every public agency in California is grappling with how to address this issue and, most likely, change needs occur at the legislative level.  What that looks like is anyone’s guess, but advocacy is key if a pension – an important component of your compensation package when you work for a public agency where salaries tend to be lower than the private sector – is important to you.  To start, the FHDA Board of Trustee as part of their proposed 2017 legislative principles, has included advocating for funding to cover increased employee pension costs but it would not be surprising if the district brought this issue to the negotiating table.

For FHDA, while enrollment remains a challenge the district has been very clear, with $45 million available in one-time stability funds, we are good for the next two years but if enrollment doesn’t start to increase changes may need to be made in year three.  The district has been non-specific on exactly what those necessary changes would be. The district has also been clear that they are looking at ways to increase enrollment and revenue growth, not make cuts, including a promising new partnership with UC Santa Cruz as one area for potential growth.  The district will be hosting three Districtwide Conversations on Enrollment and Revenue Growth to address this issue.  I will be attending all three sessions and encourage you to join me.

  • Wed., Feb. 22 – 12:30 – 2 p.m., Foothill College, Hearthside Lounge
  • Thurs., Feb. 23 – 12:30 – 2 p.m., Sunnyvale Center, Room 124
  • Tues., Mar. 7 – 12:30 – 2 p.m., De Anza College, Conference Room A/B

What does this mean for ACE?  As we head into negotiations, this gives us a better idea of how funding could affect our proposals to the district and where we might want to focus our efforts over the next 12-24 months.

Of Service,

Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office

New ACE Representatives

Joining the ACE board March 1, Cynthia Smith will be serving as the De Anza board member, seat 2 replacing Selda Sigala-Aguilar who is retiring from FHDA at the end of February.  Words cannot express how grateful we are to Selda for her years of service to ACE.  Please take a moment to thank her and wish her a happy and healthy retirement.

We also have two new members representing De Anza on negotiations, Dana Kennedy, division assistant in the business division and Andrea Santacruz, administrative assistant in A&R.  For the first time in 3 years, as we begin negotiations with the district, our negotiations team is full.

Classification Study Update

by Chris White, ACE President

First, a reminder:  Your position description questionnaire (PDQ) for the ACE classification study is due no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24.

To ensure your comments remain unchanged, email your completed PDQ to:
  1. The supervisor and/or administrator who signs your time sheet; AND
  2. Myisha Washington, Manager, Compensation, Classification and Employment,
  3. Keep a copy for your records.

Second, some frequently asked questions:

  1. How long will the study take to complete?  The consultants have stated it will probably take a year to complete.  The biggest delays?  Missing deadlines, like the PDQ submission, and negotiating the effects of the study’s final recommendations. The more accurate information we provide upfront, and on time, reduces the possibility of delays later. Let’s keep this moving forward and get those PDQ’s in by the Feb. 24 deadline.
  2. Do I really have to submit the PDQ to my supervisor?  Yes.  This study is about the position NOT the person.  If there are large discrepancies between what you define as your duties and what your supervisor does, the consultants – who are neutral in this process – will dig deeper to get a clearer picture of the position.  It is built into the process through the follow-up interviews.  If you are concerned there will be repercussions for things you have written, contact ACE immediately and we will work with you to address your concerns.
  3. My supervisor told me something different than what was presented at the kick-off meetings.  What do I do?  Contact me or Myisha Washington immediately and we will clarify the process for you and your supervisor.  To help ensure we are all on the same page, I will be attending a Classification Study Information Discussion for supervisors and administrators in mid-February hosted by HR.
  4. I’m working on the PDQ and have questions, can you help?  Yes.  You can email me or Myisha Washington at any time.  We will also be offering drop-in assistance on the following dates/times:
    1. Foothill, Altos Room
      1. Feb. 9 – 1:30 – 3 p.m.
      2. Feb. 15 – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    2. De Anza – Staff Development Office, MLC246
      1. Feb. 15 – Noon – 3 p.m.
      2. Feb. 21 – 1 – 4 p.m.
  5. How can I stay informed on this process?  I invite you to avoid misinformation that inevitably makes its way through the grapevine. Instead. be certain to read ACE emails, attend site meetings and bookmark,

Lastly, all classified employees are expected to take part in the study by completing the PDQ.  Although not every job description will require significant changes, every classification will be reviewed and modified as needed.  At the completion of the Study, all classified positions will have job descriptions that accurately reflect the roles and responsibilities of the position.

Professional Development Opportunities
This workshop reviews the ACE PGA (Professional Growth Award) application process, covers eligibility requirements and defines what constitutes professional growth activities for classified professionals. We will also review the ACE Educational Assistance Plan and Travel and Conference Funding. All participants will receive a PGA Organizer binder. Those who already have a binder or folder system from prior workshops should bring them.

  • Thurs., Feb. 9: 10-11 a.m., FH Toyon Room
  • Mon., Mar. 13: 12 – 1:30 p.m. DA Admin 109

PGA Workgroup
All classified professionals are welcome to attend these working sessions where we get together to organize our professional growth materials and work on our PGA application. Share your knowledge and experience with others! Get assistance with completing your application and identifying the support materials you need to include.

  • Thurs., Feb. 23: 12:30-1:30 p.m., FH Toyon Room

CalPERS Planning Your Retirement Workshop
This workshop is geared towards members who are nearing retirement.

  • Fri., Feb. 10: 9:30 a.m. – noon, DA Admin 109
  • Fri., Feb. 24: 9:30 a.m. – noon, FH Toyon Room

Please note the CalPERS workshop requires an additional registration by calling (888) 225-7377 or online through your My CalPERS account the instructions to set up an account if you do not have one.

Please pre-register for the above workshops by emailing Mary Kay,, at the De Anza College Office of Professional Development and letting her know which workshop(s) you want to enroll in.

The Value of Ownership and Independence
By Bradley Creamer, ACE member & Foothill webmaster

When I first came to work for Foothill-De Anza, I didn’t know much about unions. During new hire orientation, I received the basic union orientation but didn’t see the value in being part of it.  As time went by and I learned more about the union itself, I further justified my non-involvement due to the fact that the organization seemed to be a nebulous, distant entity that also didn’t seem to have any value by our local members. I met our local officers and knew that they were concerned for our members, but also saw that union was busy with issues outside of our members’ concerns.

When the time came that we, as classified professionals, decided to form our own union – one which was independent of a national organization and self-governed – I knew it was the time to participate. I served on the first board of the Association of Classified Employees (ACE). This was one of the best learning experiences I’ve had in my career. 

Obviously learning the ins and outs of being on a governing board had its trying times, but the most important thing I learned was the value in making decisions ourselves. Many times we had to prioritize items that left out other important issues, much like the current board has to do now. But through ACE, our voting membership has had the power to prioritize those important issues. Our voting membership then makes the decision on actions that impact those important issues.

Understanding the value of owning and having an independent union has never left me. To this day, I continue to help ACE with the website, online voting and email support. I hope that you also understand the value of ACE.  If you are not already a voting member, become one, and then get involved by serving on the board or becoming a steward.