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Tafoya to Step Down From Community College Board

Government: He plans to launch a new career in Washington, D.C. Departure may leave three of the panel's five seats open in November election.


In a surprise move, community college district Trustee Pete E. Tafoya announced his resignation Tuesday night, potentially altering leadership on the five-member board.

The 11-year incumbent said he recently had received a fellowship to study at National Defense University in Washington, D.C. The Port Hueneme resident currently works as a civilian engineer at Port Hueneme Navy base.

Tafoya, who represents Oxnard and Port Hueneme on the Ventura County Community College District board, told his colleagues that he has been pursuing admission to the Department of Defense Selective Executive Service, a training program for military executives.

"It's sad, yet exciting," Tafoya said. "When you're a trustee, you just live as a trustee--people call you up all day and all weekend. But with the new opportunity, I can take on a major leadership position."

Tafoya, 51, said he was resigning from the board effective June 30 to avoid the need for a special election to fill out the remainder of his third term. He has served as board president twice during his tenure.

District Chancellor Philip Westin confirmed Tuesday that enough time still remained to place Tafoya's open seat on the November ballot.

The board of trustees unanimously agreed to vote at a special meeting next week on whether to add Tafoya's seat to the ballot or to hold a special election.

If added, Tafoya's position would become the third open seat this fall. Trustees Norman J. Nagel and Bob Gonzales, who is also the Santa Paula police chief, are up for reelection in November.

During his remarks, Tafoya proposed selecting Silvia Munoz-Schnopp as an interim replacement until the election.

The other board members were surprised by Tafoya's announcement and wished him well.

"I hate to see it happen, but I appreciate having you all these years," board President Allan W. Jacobs said. "You will be sorely missed."

Tafoya, a former community college student and community college instructor, was first elected to the board in 1989. He defeated Timothy B. Flynn, the son of county Supervisor John K. Flynn, by fewer than 300 votes.

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