The Peralta Community College District board of trustees has decided to not renew the contract of embattled Chancellor Elihu Harris, the CoCo Times reports. As a result, the former Oakland mayor will leave the district when his current pact expires in June. The board gave no official reason for its actions, but Harris has been embroiled in controversy since the Times reported last year that he had steered a lucrative no-bid contract to his business partner.
Harris, who is also a former longtime assemblyman, then led an effort to try to fire a Peralta employee, Jennifer Lenahan, whom he believed was the Times’ source. The board ultimately refused to go along with the firing. But then earlier this week, it placed Lenahan’s boss, Chief Financial Officer Tom Smith, on administrative leave for unspecified reasons.
The board has launched searches to replace both Harris and Smith. It’s about time that Peralta, which includes Laney and Merritt colleges in Oakland, Berkeley City College, and the College of Alameda, found an experienced, competent educator to run the district, instead of a professional politician.