Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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PCCD public safety director placed on leave pending resignation

Announcement comes hours after recent court hearing for battery case
(Photo: Citizen Staff)

Peralta Community College District (PCCD) Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson announced yesterday that she placed the district’s Executive Director of Public Safety Tim Thomas on leave pending resignation. The announcement came hours after Thomas’ recent court hearing, during which the presiding judge stated that an active warrant had been issued for Thomas’ arrest. 

Gilkerson, who stepped in as chancellor on Jan. 4, made the announcement during last night’s meeting of the PCCD Board of Trustees, at the close of her Chancellor’s Report. 

“Mr. Thomas is dealing with two legal matters: one involving his work for the district and one personal to him,” Gilkerson said. “While on leave, Mr. Thomas can focus on these matters.” She continued by expressing gratitude to the director. 

“I appreciate, truly, that Mr. Thomas joined the district at a time of great change in our public safety program,” Gilkerson said.

PCCD’s Associate Director of Public Safety, Amy Marshall, will be in charge of daily public safety operations during this transition period, Gilkerson stated. 

Thomas is facing misdemeanor charges of elder abuse, battery, and grand theft, stemming from a May 2022 altercation with a senior RV resident parked near district offices. 

Thomas was not present for yesterday’s scheduled disposition hearing for the case, but was represented by his attorney, Edwin Prather of Prather Law Offices. 

At the start of the hearing, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria F. Rhynes stated that she did not want to proceed with the hearing until his warrant was cleared. Rhynes requested that Thomas appear for his next court hearing, set for March 6 in Department 113 of the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland. 

The Citizen confirmed with district officials that PCCD has been paying for Thomas’ legal fees for his case related to the May 2022 incident

The warrant pertains to an unrelated case in which Thomas was convicted on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and carrying a concealed firearm in his vehicle. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office issued the warrant on Jan. 24 after Thomas failed to appear for the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP) as outlined in the terms of his conviction.

Thomas’ attorney for his DUI case, Colin Cooper of the Cooper Law Offices, told The Citizen via phone that the warrant is being handled.

“Tim Thomas is taking care of the warrant and he has added his case back to the calendar,” Cooper said. He added that Thomas will be re-referred to SWAP and will comply with his obligations.

The Citizen reached out to Thomas and PCCD’s Executive Director for Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations, Mark Johnson, for comment on Thomas’ leave, but did not receive a response in time.

Thomas was appointed as Director of Public Safety in Nov. 2021.

In May 2022, Thomas was cited by the Oakland Police Department following the incident with the elderly RV resident.

In Nov. 2022, the Laney College Faculty Senate and the Laney Career Technical Education Advisory Committee passed resolutions to censure Thomas. 

During a closed session meeting on July 11, 2023, the Board of Trustees reclassified Thomas’ position from director to executive director with a pay raise to $176,690 annually. This contract was set to expire on June 30, 2025.

Gilkerson closed out her comments regarding Thomas’ leave by stating that the district will continue to work on developing its safety and wellness program. 

“I look forward to working in partnership with our participatory governance groups and stakeholders as we develop a public safety program that reflects the values we hold as a district, and supports the safety of our students, staff, and community at the Peralta Colleges,” Gilkerson said.

Staff Writer Jonathan Swan contributed reporting.

About the Contributor
Lylah Schmedel-Permanna
Lylah Schmedel-Permanna, Managing Editor
Lylah Schmedel-Permanna is a Bay Area native and graduate from the University of California-Davis where she received her bachelor’s degree in Socio-Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis on political structures. She is returning back to the community college system after having attended Las Positas College, where she was student body president in 2019. Lylah also has a strong background working in employment law and police misconduct law. She is passionate about uplifting voices in the Bay Area which has sparked her interest in becoming a journalist.
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