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BOT Names Interim College President

Nassau Community College trustees Wednesday night agreed to appoint former Great Neck Superintendent Thomas P. Dolan to the post of interim president while they continue a more than three-year search for a permanent person to head the college.

“A superintendent is the equivalent of being a president, only on a different level,” NCC chairman Dr. Jorge Gardyn said after making the announcement at a special board meeting Wednesday night.

Trustees had considered three people, including Dolan, for the interim post.

Gardyn said he expected a permanent president would be in place at the college in four or five months. More than 70 people applied for that position through the search firm, including former acting president Kenneth Saunders, he said.

The resolution to appoint the interim president passed 7-1. Trustee Anthony Cornachio said he did not vote in favor of Dolan because other members of the board refused to make personnel changes within the administrative ranks of the college.

“He’s never been an administrator of any college,” Cornachio said Wednesday night.

Evelyn Deluty, chairwoman of the college’s Academic Senate, the largest group of faculty, students and staff at the school said she was hoping for someone with a background in leading a college.

“But we will do everything we can to work with him,” Deluty said.

Dolan, 58, became superintendent of the Great Neck public schools in July 2009. Teresa Prendergast became the new superintendent in Great Neck in July.

In announcing his retirement, Dolan was quoted in local news outlets as saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Attempts to reach Dolan Wednesday night were unsuccessful.

His appointment is pending approval by state university officials.

NCC, the largest single-campus community college in the State University of New York system, has been without a permanent president since the departure of Donald Astrab in July 2011. Former acting president Kenneth Saunders, a longtime administrator at the school, had been leading the college until recently. On Aug. 19, trustees named Maria Conzatti executive vice president the officer-in-charge after SUNY officials recommended setting a time limit on Saunders’ term as interim president.

The interim president is prohibited from applying for the permanent position.




Renee R. Chin                               Rachel Dioguardi                                Valerie Fasanello

Staci Ganson                                 Slavka Kleger                                     Jennifer Kohut

Dina Ledwith                                  Judith  Martin                                      Uzo Osuno

William Quattromani                      Carol Ann Schwally                             Kathleen Thelian


Sharon Abramson                       Richard Ashker                                    Cynthia Bayern

Kate Beckman                             Sammy Browne                                    Qiong-Ying Chen

Henry Ciapas                               Lemuel Coley                                       Kathleen Cramer

Lawrence Dell Aquila                   Susan Dooley                                       Donna Eilerman

Patricia Galvin                             Adam Haridopolos                                Barbara Horn

Alice Jones                                  James Kaspar                                       Allen Kupfer

Barbara Levy                               Edward Mack                                        Baruch May

George Miller                               Anne Marie Monaco                             Meta Plotnik

Catherine Ripley                          David Rosner                                       Mary Ann Ruane

Lawrence Salpeter                       Eric Schafler                                        John Spiegel

We wish you all a healthy and happy retirement

*George Bouchard – passed away August 12, 2015; we offer condolences to George’s family and friends.



Fall 2015

The NCCFT Executive Committee (NEC) wants to welcome the Classroom Faculty back to the Fall semester and thank the Non-Classroom/Professional Faculty for their support services all year.

There are many changes in the campus leadership as we enter the new academic year, including the NCCFT Executive Committee. We want to thank Dr. James Hoyt for his 15 years of dedicated service to the NEC and wish him the very best.  Replacing Jim as Vice-President, Non-Classroom/Professional Faculty is Dawn Smith. We are looking forward to her joining the team.  In addition, Prof. Donna Hope is returning from her sabbatical to her position as Secretary of the NEC which brings the Executive Committee to full strength and we welcome her back.

Some of the Administration’s changes to note include the hiring of Regina Cafarelli of Ingerman Smith LLP to replace Ann Muth as contract administrator.

Furthermore, the shift from:

“Dr. Kenneth Saunders, Acting President and Maria Conzatti, Executive VP” to “Maria Conzatti, Officer-in-Charge and Dr. Saunders, Executive VP”,  will  probably not produce many administrative decision changes, except stylistic. Meanwhile, the Board will continue the interviews for Interim President on the evening of September 2, 2015. We urge you to watch this process unfold as we work with the “new” administration while  the search continues for a permanent President.

Thus far, the search firm spent the Fall 2014 semester searching for candidates for Winter 2015 interviews. This process was designed to give the BOT time to choose and interview the finalists, and give any finalist the Spring 2015 semester to wrap up their previous employment and begin at Nassau prior to opening day on September 1, 2015.  This is also the ideal process for departments seeking new hires, rather than waiting until the last minute when many of the best candidates have found employment elsewhere. Now, the search firm is scrambling for new candidates to jump into the fray and submit their resumes by September 1, 2015. One has to wonder what candidates are looking to quit their jobs (if they are employed) immediately and become NCC President ASAP. Of course, they are still competing with Dr. Saunders, who remains a finalist. In addition, the Board thanked Trustee Mary Adams for serving on the board.  Trustee Adams was a County appointment and will be replaced by the County.

Speaking of searches, if you peruse the College website, there is an announcement for a new Academic Vice-President. The ASEC, Chairs and NCCFT have been asking for this position to be filled; however, this posting comes as a surprise as no announcement or committee has been formed.  The ASEC are reviewing this for further action.

This summer was indeed an active period on campus. The NEC met with the ASEC and the Chairs Executive Committee (CEC) in an effort to coordinate our actions with respect to the actions of the BOT and Administration and their ill-advised, disastrous resolutions on class size, developmental education and curriculum.  In addition, the Board passed a resolution in the Spring semester directing the display of identification badges for faculty, staff and vendors, while students must only be in possession of such identification. Please note, this resolution came from a recommendation from the non-Senate Campus Security Advisory Committee. It is imperative that faculty be vigilant in identifying and reporting the actions of “shadow governance” groups on campus. Finally, the number of cases being referred to the Affirmative Action Office continues to be a concern, as many of these cases are found to have no merit.

As we begin this new academic year, there are changes in the composition of the BOT, Administration, ASEC, CEC, NEC as well as a reduction in full-time faculty. We urge you to remain active, step up and join the various committees of the Senate, Chairs and NCCFT in order to maintain the academic and professional standards we have worked so hard to obtain.

In closing, the NCCFT Executive Committee wants to thank the new full-time retirees for their countless years of service that have made this institution the gem of Nassau County and wish them the very best.

In solidarity

NCCFT Executive Committee

August 19, 2015 BOT Meeting – “Officer in Charge” Appointed

From left: Nassau Community College trustees Kathy Weiss,

From left: Nassau Community College trustees Kathy Weiss, Jorge L. Gardyn, Arnold W. Drucker, Wanda Jackson and Donna Tuman, called a public meeting to order before the board adjourned to interview temporary presidential candidates in executive session on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Nassau Community College’s newly appointed officer-in-charge and its former acting president pledged Thursday to work together to move the school forward after college trustees voted on the personnel change late Wednesday.

The board plans to meet Sept. 2 to select an interim president — a choice that must be approved by the State University of New York trustees.

Maria Conzatti, who has been NCC’s acting executive vice president, was elevated to officer-in-charge by a 9-0 vote. Kenneth Saunders, who has led the 23,000-student college in Garden City as acting president and former officer-in-charge over the last three years, will return to his former position as executive vice president.

The change was a step toward new leadership for the largest single-campus community college in the state, which has not a permanent president since the July 2012 departure of Donald Astrab. NCC has conducted two failed presidential searches since then, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher has been concerned about the lengthy process.

Board chairman Jorge Gardyn announced Conzatti’s selection at 11 p.m. Wednesday after a four-hour executive session that included interviewing two candidates for interim president.

Gardyn said the board, at its next meeting, will interview two more candidates who were unavailable for Wednesday’s meeting. Trustees then most likely will forward a recommendation to the SUNY board, he said.

Conzatti’s temporary appointment “can carry us over,” Gardyn said. “This is basically so we can have continuity in the administration until such time as the interim [president] is chosen.”

Once an interim is selected, Conzatti is expected to return to her former post: vice president for academic student services.

Neither Conzatti nor whomever is named interim president would be eligible for the permanent president position, in accordance with SUNY guidelines, Gardyn said.

However, Saunders said he remains a candidate for college president. Gardyn said separately that Saunders’ acting president title does not preclude him from being a candidate for the president’s post.

SUNY trustees in June imposed a 60-day deadline on Saunders’ tenure as acting president, which ended at the conclusion of the NCC board meeting.

Gardyn praised Saunders for an “exemplary job under difficult conditions. He is to be congratulated for his efforts.”

Saunders, 58, and Conzatti, 48, both longtime administrators at the college, said in a joint phone interview Thursday that they are committed to working together.

Asked about the role reversal, Saunders said, “It just means that I’m still part of an incredible team and we will work as we have in the past, like the yin and yang . . . We have worked with one another for many years and that will continue to unfold.”

Conzatti said, “It’s really been seamless because we’ve worked closely all along. The kind of management style we both have, I think, is complementary. We’re here to move the institution forward, along with our administrative team.”

SUNY, in a statement Thursday, said: “Nassau Community College’s board of trustees is working diligently to move forward with the selection process and securing interim leadership. We . . . believe that this process will assist the college in securing permanent leadership so that all its many stakeholders can enjoy the benefits of long-term leadership and stability.”


NYSUT Night at the Ducks

The Nassau Regional Office has arranged a special event for NYSUT members, their families and friends: an evening of baseball and fun at Bethpage Ballpark, the home of our own Long Island Ducks. The Ducks have set aside a special discounted block of seats for NYSUT members for the August 23rd game against the Camden Riversharks. This flyer contains all the details. This could be a fun solidarity building event.
LI Ducks
See you at the ballpark!

Special BOT Meeting – July 23, 2015

The links to the Special BOT meeting are below, Part I is approximately 31 minutes and Part II is approximately 10 minutes





Nassau Community College trustees vote to appoint interim president

Letter to Newsday: NCC Interim President

Call to NCC BOT for Visionary Leadership

The following letter was sent to the NCC Board of Trustees on June 26.  We have a confirmation that the letter was distributed to the BOT members.

Please make every effort to attend the Special Meeting on Thursday, July 23 called by the BOT.


Board of Trustees of NCC

The Executive Committees of the Academic Senate, the Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers, and the Academic Department Chairs are writing to call for the appointment of an Interim President at Nassau Community College, from outside the college, who is ineligible to apply for the permanent position. On June 16th SUNY directed our Trustees to do this within 60 days. The unresolved presidential search, which is entering its third year, demonstrates the validity of SUNY’s own guidelines that an internal candidate can “cloud” the search due to the appearance of favoritism. The appointment of an external candidate will encourage a greater pool of highly qualified applicants.  It is time to end the five-year contentious climate at the college, ushered in by the retirement of President Sean Fanelli in 2010, and revive the collaborative spirit that has made Nassau Community College a jewel of Nassau County.

During the three years that Dr. Kenneth Saunders has attempted to steer Nassau Community College he has been unable to unify the college community behind his leadership.  Acting President Saunders is a personable, congenial individual. However, in his professional role at the helm of the largest single campus community college in New York State, he has perpetuated the more controversial approach of his direct predecessor, Dr. Donald Astrab.  The short-lived administration of Dr. Astrab witnessed two faculty no-confidence votes and thwarted the collaborative model of shared governance that has served the college well for decades.

We are here to advocate for our students and facilitate their academic success and lifelong goals.  For many, Nassau Community College serves as an affordable transfer institution to secure a Bachelor’s degree. For others, we provide job training towards immediate employment.  We welcome recent high school graduates, those returning to college after years in the workforce, veterans, and so many others juggling life’s challenges. However, the last few years of the Saunders administration have witnessed a progressive decline in the services provided to students due to a decrease of the full-time faculty who provide these services. This is matched by an increase in both tuition and class size, further impeding student success.  Fiscal exigencies need to be addressed through innovative fundraising, not cuts in services to our students.

We call upon the Board of Trustees of Nassau Community College to appoint an Interim President from outside the college who is not eligible to apply for the permanent position of President.  Restore the climate of collaboration in which our students thrive, and proceed with a presidential search that follows the rules stipulated by SUNY’s guidelines.  In the end it is our students who continue to suffer from the failure to secure permanent visionary leadership for our college.


Evelyn Wortsman Deluty, Ph.D., Chair, Academic Senate

M. Debra DeSanto, President, NCCFT*

Lynn Mazzola, Chair, Chairs’ Committee

*NCCFT is the full-time faculty union that represents approximately 700 members


Important Update

Judy Sandler, NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist, met with the NCCFT Executive Committee, Academic Senate Executive Committee and Chairpersons Executive Committee on Monday, June 22nd.

The meeting was productive in many respects, including the introduction of new members of these committees to each other. The membership should understand each of these groups is responsible to a different constituency on campus and yet we are connected together whereby our authority is defined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  This meeting gave the campus faculty leadership the opportunity to discuss a variety of issues of mutual concern including the disastrous Presidential Search, the role of the Deans, replacement of full-time faculty and the role of the Board of Trustees.  The three campus leadership groups recognize the Board’s inability to select a President.  However, the SUNY Board’s resolution to limit Dr. Saunders’ tenure as Acting President to 60 days appears to be a move in the right direction.  It is our hope that an impartial individual who will not be eligible to apply for the Presidency is appointed in the very near future.   Although the Board of Trustees announced replacements to the Search Committee, the Search Committee has received no notification as to the next steps.  The leadership groups agreed to draft a joint letter describing our concerns and questions.   This joint letter will be published upon completion and details will follow.

Furthermore, the NCCFT is also discussing these issues with NYSUT in an effort to bring our message to SUNY.

During the Monday meeting, we also discussed our difficulties working with the Deans, retirements, replacements, budgets and a variety of strategies to improve our relationships or not.  In addition, the three leadership groups agreed to direct NYSUT to review legal action against the BOT with respect to their June 9th resolutions supporting Acting President Saunders’ veto of Senate resolutions on Class Size and Curriculum.

The NCCFT Executive Committee also met with the Chair of the Academic Senate and members of the Academic Senate Affirmative Action Committee to discuss the language and implications of the College’s sexual harassment policy.  In addition, we are in receipt of the draft copy of the Academic Senate Bullying policy, and this is also under review.

We ask our members to review the video of the last BOT meeting.  If you already viewed it, then view it again.   Study it carefully.  Then make a promise to get involved with the NCCFT when we send out a Call for Action.  We will fight to maintain for our students the gem of Nassau County.

One last thought– what role is Nassau County politics playing in the Presidential Search process?  If you don’t know the answer, then start to ask questions.

In solidarity