Paul Chevalier seeks District 3 seat on Yavapai College Board
• Age: Did not provide
• Years in Arizona: 20
• Years in the Verde Valley: 20
• Professional (and military) history: Three years as a lieutenant on active sea duty in U.S. Navy. Thirty years in retail business.
• Education: Harvard University, Graduate Business School advanced management program; Columbia University Graduate School of Business, MBA; Columbia University School of Law, juris doctorate; Columbia College, Columbia University, bachelor of arts (major) government
• Elective and Advisory Experience: California Employment Law Council, president; National Retail Federation, committee chair; Western Federal Credit Union, vice chair; Jonathan Art Foundation, founder and chair; Los Angeles Center for Non-Profit Management, director; Arizona Humanities Council; Sedona Arts & Culture Commission, chair; City of Sedona Personnel Board; Sedona Community Foundation, chair; Yavapai College Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee, chair.
• Civic Affiliations: Sedona Bola Club.
Question 1: How would you characterize the operations of Yavapai College in Sedona and the Verde Valley? What are the district’s strengths and what are its most noticeable weaknesses?
Chevalier: Despite the excellent college faculty and staff serving the Verde Valley and the progress being made in the culinary and enology programs, this side of Mingus Mountain continues to be viewed by the College leaders and west county District Governing Board members as its “cash cow,” taking our taxpayers’ money in the millions of dollars each year to provide education and community services for the residents of Prescott and west county communities. The Verde Valley is overlooked. The Verde Valley has been seriously hindered and continues to be hindered in program development in academic areas and in Career and Technical Education, CTE (for example, the need for workforce training is acute in the Verde Valley). The focus of the Board is “all things Prescott.” It is time to remove the thumb of Prescott control and free the Verde Valley to local control. It’s time to bring back our tax dollars sent to Prescott and put those dollars to work building more academic education and a CTE center in the Verde Valley.
Question 2: Yavapai College is in the process of hiring a new president. What do you consider the most important qualities and qualifications for the Yavapai College president to possess?
Chevalier: First, the current board, by everything that is fair, needs to defer the decision of hiring of the new president until the newly-elected board takes office, which is January, 2019. But the current board’s plan is to select a new president in December, and not allow any newly-elected members to be a part of that decision.
As for the most important qualities and qualifications, the new president must show a history of proven results, great leadership, and be excellent at building relationships. The new president must have an entrepreneurial mind and the creativity to find solutions meeting the needs of the whole county. But I want more. I want a president who is wise and prudent in using funds and managing assets. I want a president who has a high moral character and will be transparent in letting taxpayers know how and where their money is being spent. I want a president who believes that in each of our five county districts our residents must have equitable educational opportunities.
Question 3: What is your present/past involvement/participation with Yavapai College and how does that experience best qualify you to serve the Yavapai College Board?
Chevalier: I am the chair of the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee (VVBAC). The committee was suspended in late 2016 and I will work to reinstate it. The VVBAC is made up of people nominated by their respective councils from every municipality in the Valley and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. For two years, we met twice a month with all school superintendents, business leaders, VACTE, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, and town and city councils. We had extensive dialog with members of the College’s leadership team including the President. Key members from faculty, deans, and various staff presented to us.
Through this process, I gained a deep understanding of College operations and the Valley’s educational needs. In addition, I learned in detail the board’s policies and how the board operates. The Valley needs a strong skilled advocate and someone who can present their case to the board. I have won at the U. S. Supreme Court. I have succeeded in business as well as law. I have led many important citizen committees. I know how to represent effectively. I am the best qualified candidate to help us get educational services in the Valley commensurate with the high property taxes we pay to the college. We must have equity. And we must find a way to lower taxes.