Board president Timothy J. Farley abruptly resigned from the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board last week, citing an undisclosed urgent family matter as the reason he was stepping aside several months before his first term was due to expire.
A former Martinez City Council member and the current community relations director for Saint Mary's College, Farley had served on the board since being elected in late 2014 to represent Ward III, which encompasses parts of communities like Concord, Pleasant Hill and his hometown as well as Diablo Valley College.
The other four board members are set to meet in Martinez on March 12 to discuss options for filling the vacant seat.
"It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter officially resigning as a member of the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board. This resignation will take effect today due to a pressing personal family matter that requires my immediate attention," Farley wrote in a three-paragraph resignation letter last Monday.
"It has been an honor to serve the students and families of Contra Costa County as well as the residents of Ward III. I am proud of the work this board had done to protect the interests of undocumented students, as well as our focus on student success," Farley added in the letter to his board colleagues, Chancellor Fred Wood and Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata
"I wish you and the board well as you continue to fight for the students of Contra Costa County," he said in conclusion.
In announcing the board vacancy publicly Thursday, Wood praised Farley for his efforts during his three-plus years on the governing board.
"His personal experience as a Diablo Valley College graduate helped the district transform the lives of our students," the chancellor said. "I want to thank Mr. Farley for his service to the district."
The board has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. March 12 to discuss the sudden vacancy. The board meets in the second floor boardroom at the district headquarters at 500 Court St. in Martinez.
Options to fill Farley's seat include holding a special election or making an appointment to complete the final nine months left on Farley's term. The Ward III seat will be up for regular election this November.
Ward III includes Pacheco, and parts of Clayton, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, as well as Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and the district headquarters in downtown Martinez.
Farley was no stranger to public service or college management when he was elected by Ward III voters as their representative in November 2014.
He was elected to the Martinez City Council as a 30-year-old in 1990, serving two terms until declining to seek re-election in 1998. He was also appointed to the U.S. Electoral College in 1996.
Farley previously worked as a financial advisor, specializing in socially responsible investing. He is currently employed as the director of community and government relations for Saint Mary's College in Moraga, and last December, he won the 2017 Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for his work at Saint Mary's.
He is married with two adult sons. Farley did not elaborate on the nature of the urgent family matter in his resignation letter.