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Long IslandNassau

Trustees looking for more applicants to be president of Nassau Community College

Nassau Community College trustees announced at a special meeting Wednesday night that they have decided to look for more applicants to be the new college president after failing to agree on any of the five finalists in the running for the post.

"No candidate garnered the necessary six votes to be selected as president of Nassau Community College," said board chairman Jorge Gardyn. "Therefore, the presidential search is ongoing and the search committee as well as the search firm will continue interviewing candidates."

About 50 members of the college's faculty and staff attended the meeting, some eager to find out whether trustees had agreed on the college's 12th president.

The 23,000-student institution -- the largest single-campus community college in the state -- has been without a permanent leader for nearly three years.

Acting president Kenneth Saunders, who was among the five finalists in this recent search, has been running the Garden City college. Four of the finalists, including Saunders, sat for daylong, in-person interviews with the campus community in March and April. Some faculty and staff had hoped the board would choose a new president before summer.

Evelyn Deluty, chairwoman of the college's Academic Senate, a large campus group made up of faculty, staff and students, said the school's future is being hampered by the prolonged process of finding a new president.

"We are in dire need of institutional vision and leadership," Deluty said.

This is the second search launched to hire a successor for Donald Astrab, who left in July 2012 after less than three years in the post and two no-confidence votes by faculty.

Saunders, 58, a longtime Nassau Community College administrator and Freeport resident, was named interim president and was later elevated to acting president. His current annual salary is $225,000.

The first search, which began in December 2012, was fraught with allegations of bias and procedural irregularities, prompting SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to deem the process "beyond the point of repair" and urge the college trustees to start over. The chancellor's approval is required to install a president at any of the 64 SUNY campuses.

The first search produced three finalists, including state Supreme Court Justice Anthony Marano of Valley Stream.

Several campus leaders had opposed Marano because he did not hold a degree in education or have any relevant experience. Others on campus alleged the search was tipped in his favor.

Saunders, who was not among three finalists selected by the first search committee, told Newsday in 2013 he was treated unfairly during his interview and alleged that the committee was biased.


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