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Former Newhall Land executive Steven D. Zimmer has been tapped stevezimmerto fill the COC board seat vacated by Scott Wilk.

The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees made the decision Monday after a series of interviews. There were 13 applicants for the seat.

Zimmer is a real estate attorney with the firm of Gilchrist & Rutter in Santa Monica.

Previously he was an employee of The Newhall Land and Farming Co., where he headed the Newhall Ranch project – the eventual 20,000-home “mini city” west of Interstate 5 in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Zimmer was responsible for getting the project’s specific plan approved by the county Board of Supervisors in 2003, and for securing the necessary state and federal permits.

Zimmer will join the COC board as the replacement for Scott Wilk, who was elected to the Assembly in November 2012.

Because state law precludes an appointee from serving more than 18 months without an election, Zimmer won’t serve out the remaining three years of Wilk’s term. Instead, Zimmer will serve until the November 2013 election, at which time he would have to run for office if he wants to keep the seat.

 

UPDATE by Perry Smith / AM-1220 KHTS

After four rounds of voting and more than three hours of discussion, attorney Steven D. Zimmer, a former vice president of Newhall Land & Farming, was named to fill Scott Wilk’s vacated seat on College of the Canyons’ governing board Monday evening.

The final two candidates were very close, said longtime board member Bruce Fortine.

“Either candidate would have been an excellent choice,” Fortine said, mentioning how close it was between Chris Fall, who made it to the last round with Zimmer. “And Steve is definitely a proven commodity in the community.”

For Fortine, it was Zimmer’s community ties and ability to help the school that pushed him over the edge as far as selecting Wilk’s replacement on the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees. Fundraising is becoming more and more of a vital need for colleges in light of state cuts to school budgets, he said.

“Having worked with Newhall Land, they built Valencia and that whole area,” Fortine said. “And (Zimmer) has a long history with our valley and certainly a wealth of contacts with business and industry and he will make an excellent choice.”

Zimmer also had a keen understanding of the college’s needs, Fortine said, noting that Zimmer has several years of experience as the president of the COC Foundation, a fundraising arm of the college that provides scholarship and program funding for the school.

“(The financial situation) is becoming increasingly more intense because of funding cuts from the state,” Fortine said. “Our foundation raised a lot of money for students, scholarships and faculty programs, and things that the college doesn’t have to take that money out of the general fund for, because there is no money in the general fund.”

The rest of Zimmer’s appointed term is also expected to be a lean time for the school’s Canyon Country and Valencia campuses, in light of the budget crunch, Fortine said.

“It’ll be a very difficult time,” Fortine said. “We’ve got to make some tough decisions in the years to come because (state legislators) will be making some tough decisions.”

Because state law precludes an appointee from serving more than 18 months without an election, Zimmer won’t serve out the remaining three years of Wilk’s term. Zimmer will serve until the November 2013 election, at which time he would have to run for office if he wants to keep the seat.

Zimmer, an attorney for an eponymous law firm, lives in Santa Clarita, according to information he provided the board. He received a bachelor’s degree in science from Cal, and attended law school at the University of California, Hastings, graduating in 1973, three years after he finished at Cal.

Previously, he was an employee of The Newhall Land and Farming Co., where he headed the Newhall Ranch project – the eventual 20,000-home “mini city” west of Interstate 5 in the Santa Clarita Valley.

He worked there from 1999-2011, before retiring to his own practice in July 2011. He was also on the College of the Canyons Foundation board of directors from 2001 to the present. He’s also been on the board of directors for the Child & Family Center for the last five years.

Zimmer will be sworn in by the end of the week, assuming the seat that was vacated by Assemblyman Scott Wilk, who was elected to represent the 38th District of California’s Legislature in November.

“It was a pretty large task,” Battle said, adding that several of the board members had mentioned spending hours poring over the background information provided by the 13 candidates who were vying for the position.

The candidates were scored in several rounds that took more than three hours.

“The scoring was based on the interviews of the candidates that were there, and some of the background information that they provided,” Battle said.

Fortine was an original member of the College of the Canyons’ governing board in 1967 and left the board in 1978, while still working with the school in several different capacities. He returned to the board in 1989, and has been a member ever since.

Steve Zimmer is married to Doris Marie Zimmer, who is currently president of the COC Foundation.

 

Previous Story

Steve Zimmer was appointed to the College of the Canyons governing board after a lengthy special session Monday, a COC official said.

“Everytbody was impressed with the information and the skill set he had,” said Bruce Battle, director of communications for College of the Canyons. “I think it was pretty obvious the passion that he brought.”

Zimmer, an attorney for an eponymous law firm, lives in Santa Clarita, according to information he provided the board. He received a bachelor’s degree in science from Cal, and graduated law school at the University of California, Hastings, in 1973, three years after he finished at Cal.

He was an attorney for Newhall Land & Farming from 1999-2011, before starting his own practice in July 2011. He was also on the College of the Canyons Foundation board of directors from 2001 to the present.

He’s also been on the board of directors for the Child & Family Center for the last five years.

Zimmer will be sworn in by the end of the week, assuming the seat that was vacated by Assemblyman Scott Wilk, who was elected to represent the 38th District of California’s Legislature in November.

“It was a pretty large task,” Battle said, adding that several of the board members had mentioned spending hours poring over the background information provided by the 13 candidates who were vying for the position.

The candidates were scored in several rounds that took more than three hours.

“The scoring was based on the interviews of the candidates that were there, and some of the background information that they provided,” Battle said.

Zimmer will join Michele R. Jenkins, Bruce Fortine, Joan W. MacGregor and Michael Berger on the governing board. Berger is currently board president.

The Santa Clarita Community College District (SCCCD) Board of Trustees is composed of five publicly elected members, a secretary/parliamentarian and a student trustee.

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