The longtime leader of Nassau Community College's union of part-time faculty was voted out of office this week, losing the position to a professor who pledged Wednesday to mend the fractured group.
Charles Loiacono, president of the college's Adjunct Faculty Association for 19 years, said he will "pack it up and retire."
"We have a great history," Loiacono said. "We've brought the adjuncts [at NCC] to a place where no adjuncts in the country are in terms of salary and benefits."
Stefan Krompier, 71, a professor of marketing and an alumnus of NCC, will become the union's new president on Jan. 1.
The 154-138 vote, which was conducted by mail during the month of November, was tallied Tuesday night, both Loiacono and Krompier said.
Loiacono, 80, of Hicksville, a former English professor at NCC and retired New York City high school principal, had become a divisive figure at the college in recent months.
He led the 3,000-member adjunct faculty union in a strike in September 2013, the first on the Garden City campus since 1982, after members rejected a proposed contract. They have been working without a contract for more than four years.
The five-day job action was illegal under the state's Taylor Law, which prohibits public employees from participating in strikes. It ended after acting President Kenneth Saunders ordered the faculty members back to work, saying they would lose their jobs otherwise.
A year later, Loiacono sent a letter to professors who did not support the job action, attempting to collect a $1,000 fine -- a move that prompted several complaints to the state Public Employment Relations Board.
The adjuncts teach more than half of the courses at NCC, which has about 23,000 students and is the largest single-campus community college in the state.
Krompier said the strike split the union membership and the $1,000 fine "was the last straw." He said he believes he will be able to unite the members and work to secure a favorable contract.
"I think the college's board of trustees is looking to do something positive, and I hope we can come to a reasonable agreement that both sides can live with," he said.
Krompier said he is "astonished by the collective brilliance of the adjuncts." The change in union leadership will have little effect on students, he said, because the part-time professors "come in, do their jobs and love what they do."
The union and administration have been at odds over salary increases and fringe benefits since the adjuncts' contract expired in August 2010. They teach 57 percent of the courses at NCC, though their personnel costs are about 13 percent, Loiacono has said.
The salary range for adjuncts, depending on experience, is $3,300 to $5,300 per course, college officials said. NCC allows professors to teach two courses each semester.
Saunders said he looks forward to working with the new AFA leadership to "enhance the educational opportunities available to NCC's students and to improve the working relationship between the faculty, administration and the board of trustees."
The college, part of the state university system, has a $216.5 million operating budget funded by the county, the state and student tuition and fees.