District Rehires Annette Loria as HR Director (and more)

Posted: March 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

We’re What’s Left has just learned that William Benjamin, Executive Director of Human Resources, left Cuesta last week.   When the BOT in December 2013 terminated him, they did so stating that he would remain in his position until his contract expired at the end of this term.  Benjamin had enough accrued time and sick leave which allowed him to leave early.  And, he did.

The district did the unthinkable once again.  It hired Annette Loria as interim HR Director.  Most of you remember Annette Loria–and not fondly.  She was virtually run out of Cuesta on a rail after the huge arbitration that we, the prior union, won as we saved a faculty member’s job.  Loria, as HR Director, was largely responsible for the district’s taking this ridiculous matter to arbitration.  In many conversations with Loria, we told her that the district would lose (and lose BIG it did), and that if it was to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars, the district would settle the matter with the union before the time and expense of arbitration.  Loria refused, saying, “Do what you have to do.”  We said “but, some of your district colleagues will be implicated and may go down” (Roanna Bennie, former Dean of Humanities, implicated in the unlawful behavior of the district, was one of those deserved casualties).  And, Loria said, “Do what you have to do.”  And, we did.  (All of this, of course, is documented in the transcript of the arbitration.)

Loria’s mishandling of Cuesta matters was well-known and widespread.  Both faculty and staff have their own stories to tell.  Further, she was named in the harassment/discrimination lawsuit currently facing Cuesta.  She was and is ill-equipped to handle this position.

If you had any doubt about whether you would support a Cuesta bond or not, this might clinch it for you.  It would seem impossible for any reasonable person to support a bond when the district chooses to flagrantly hand the administrative responsibilities of the very important Executive Director of Human Resources position to someone who has so little regard for taxpayers’ money.

And, then–the Board appointment of Richard “Dick” Hitchman to the Board of Trustees.  He states that he has “over 50 years in education.”  So, out of the five Board members, two are rehashed administrators (Alexander and George), and one has half a century of teaching.  Nothing like a fresh new voice for Cuesta.  Even though Hitchman’s Cuesta teaching experience is not necessarily a negative, stay tuned for more on why this may have been a very bad decision for the Board to make.  If you happened to read Hitchman’s comments in the Trib, he gave a glowing tribute to the college president.  Splat!!  What’s that?  Oh, nothing but a rubber stamp hitting the table.

  1. Kent Brudney says:


    Loria played the major role in trying to deny me full retirement benefits. She was not only uninformed, she was intransigent and uneducable. Once she left, I was able to undo the damage, without the help of the union. (STRS did offer considerable help.) What’s even worse is that Gil knows all about it and her role in it. I cannot believe they are considering having her back.

  2. mimmsy123 says:

    I didn’t know that, Kent. Glad you were able to get it fixed.

    Hiring Loria back shows the district’s utter disregard for its role as steward of the public’s trust.

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