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Nassau trustees pass faculty contract, approve search for new president

A student walks through the campus of Nassau

A student walks through the campus of Nassau Community College on April 28, 2011. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Nassau Community College board of trustees unanimously approved a four-year faculty contract last night at a meeting on the Garden City campus.

The contract, on behalf of the 700-member Nassau County College Federation of Teachers Local 3150, was approved by an 8-0 vote at a meeting where the trustees also approved a search committee to resume the hunt for a new president.

The search committee, established in December 2012, disbanded in September after allegations of bias and failed efforts to advance finalists to the state for approval. The college has been without stable leadership since the January 2010 retirement of Sean Fanelli, who was president for 27 years.

The new contract was met with support by both union and college officials.

"It was time to turn the corner by reaching an agreement that was fair and equitable and maintains the academic excellence for the benefit of our students," said Debra DeSanto, president of the full-time faculty union.

"Both sides were willing to compromise to reach this settlement and move forwards."

More than 90 percent of union members voted for the contract Tuesday.

The new deal includes a combination of cash payments and percentage increases in salary amounting to an average of about 2 percent a year over the life of the contract, said Jorge Gardyn, chairman of the college's board of trustees.

"We were trying to come up with a balanced deal," Gardyn said after the trustee vote. "This contract was for the good of the college."

In lieu of raises in the first two years of the contract, employees will receive cash payments of $1,750 and $2,000 respectively.

One major provision of the contract requires new union members to pay a portion of their health insurance but not current employees. New employees will contribute between 10 and 15 percent of the costs for their health insurance over the life of the contract.

The agreement is still subject to approval by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and the County Legislature.

Negotiations proceeded for nearly a year as another faculty union, the one representing adjunct faculty, briefly went on strike for several days last September.

That group is still without a contract.

"Hopefully this will act as a bridge for reaching a contract that will be agreeable to" the adjunct faculty union, Gardyn said.

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