Now that Central Oregon Community College President Shirley Metcalf has announced her plans to retire in July, the college has taken the first steps in finding her replacement.

COCC spokesman Ron Paradis shared with The Bulletin a note sent to campus staff Monday that stated the college’s board of directors met with Preston Pulliams, president of Gold Hill Associates, a firm that conducts searches for community college executives. Pulliams was president at Portland Community College for nine years, according to Gold Hill’s website.

Paradis said COCC sent requests to five search firms and considered two.

The firm that conducted the search to replace Jim Middleton in 2014, The Association of Community College Trustees, did not submit a proposal this time, Paradis said.

The search to replace Middleton featured lots of setbacks. The college’s initial choice, Chemeketa Community College President Patrick Lanning, was accused of sexual assault and subsequently placed on leave, something he did not tell COCC. The next choice, Tony Miksa, an administrator at McHenry County College in Illinois, withdrew his candidacy after his father-in-law unexpectedly died. Soon after, the college promoted Metcalf from interim president to the full-time chief.

Paradis said the upcoming selection process should be smoother.

“Working with Gold Hill, we are confident that they will bring us a strong group of candidates,” he said. “We know that what happened last time was a rarity and a set of very unusual circumstances. We’re confident that won’t happen again.”

At Wednesday night’s COCC board meeting in Madras, the board unanimously approved a resolution determining the makeup of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

The group will be composed of two board members, one member of Metcalf’s advisory team, three faculty members, two school administrators, one classified staff member, one COCC student and up to six community members from various regions of Central Oregon.

The salary for the new president will be negotiated when the candidate is hired, Paradis said.

Metcalf’s annual salary is $201,609.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854;