Yreka business owner Barry Ohlund and music director Clarence Barger are the two choices to represent the Yreka area on the College of the Siskiyous Board of Trustees.

Yreka business owner Barry Ohlund and music director Clarence Barger are the two choices to represent the Yreka area on the College of the Siskiyous Board of Trustees.

South county residents will cast their vote in the Area 4 election, as all those who live in the COS district vote for representatives in each area, not just their own.

Ohlund, who is an incumbent running for a second term on the board, said the faculty's two recent votes of no confidence in the school's president and vice president of student learning are "a message to the administration and the board," and that he's received it and takes it seriously.

Barger also said he takes the votes seriously.

"I personally hold teachers in high regard. When large numbers of faculty come together to protest actions made by administration, there is reason for concern. Further, I am very concerned about the dwindling enrollment and higher tuition," Barger said.

Following, in the order which the candidates filed paperwork with County Clerk Colleen Setzer, is information about each candidate and why they want to be elected to the COS board of trustees.

Barry Ohlund

Ohlund said he's been a long term business owner and member of many boards, including four that he currently sits on.

His academic experience and education in the business world are the strengths he can offer to the board, he said.

"I also have a profound sense of right and wrong and I am not afraid to express my feelings," Ohlund said. "As a businessman with 37 years of experience, fiscal responsibility is my strength... Above all else, I have to put hard work and diligence at the top of my list."

When asked how the college can move forward after the votes of no confidence and the conflicts between administration and faculty, Ohlund said, "As we go forward I believe that a perfect college would trust each union, staff or administration member to do what's best for the college... The faculty has suggestions and ideas that they believe are not being heard.

"In my years as a merchant I have had employees make suggestions that they thought would improve my operation, but I was the leader and owner of my operation and I made my own decisions based on my education and experience as well as their suggestion.

"The college president is the leader of his operation as well and makes his decisions the very same way. I urge these parties to begin to work together on equal ground to find compromises to end these conflicts so that we can solve more urgent problems."

To help solve financial issues the college is currently facing, Ohlund said he's asked the administration for a list of programs the board can consider cutting.

"We have asked that travel expenses be minimized and scrutinized," Ohlund said. "We are very excited about increasing our full time students so that it in turn will increase what we get paid from the state chancellor's office. We have pending contracts (may be completed now) that may bring in over a million dollars to the college general fund. The very person that received the vote of no confidence may be the responsible party for bringing COS those students and our positive future funding."

Ohlund said he believes the financial crisis is the most pressing issue facing COS today.

"I also see a time when the administration, the unions and the board must come together in an understanding that our students success must come first. To accomplish this it will require both sides developing a deep appreciation of each other's needs and considerations while leaving attitudes and egos aside," Ohlund said.

"I am who I am because of the life I have lived and my experience and skill set are what I bring to the table at each COS board meeting. Decisions that I make may not be popular and yet I make them because they are responsible choices. We are very fortunate to have such a gifted Board of Trustees and I appreciate each one more with every meeting. We have many hard decisions directly ahead of us and I am thankful that we all work so hard to find solutions for College of the Siskiyous and its students."

Clarence Barger

Barger said his most important strength his "unwavering focus on the student."

"I am confident in my ability to make sound decisions which I believe will contribute significantly to the board's collective decision making process," Barger said. "Having a PhD or many years of experience in business does not necessarily ensure sound decisions will be made on behalf of the students and the community as a whole. I believe my determination to maintain focus on the students until their goals are achieved will be an essential contribution to the strength of the board."

If elected, Barger said he would focus resources to ensure student success.

"Confidence can only be maintained if the student is the primary focus during the entire scholastic process," he said.

To take advantage of the funding available, Barger said a careful study of the existing budget is necessary to identify areas where funds can be reallocated for greater academic excellence.

"I would encourage better cooperation between faculty and administration as this will develop the cohesiveness needed to insure efficient use of available funding," Barger said. "Students must be empowered through improved online enrollment processes and by maintaining good guidance counseling. This, I believe, will attract a greater student enrollment and thus increase funding."

Barger said he believes COS's dwindling enrollment has been caused by dwindling financial support received from the state of California. Also, available funding is not being used efficiently to ensure sufficient enrollment. He hopes to keep students from looking out of state rather than looking at COS for their scholastic and financial needs.