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Settlement of $555G for former SCCC President Shaun McKay

Shaun L. McKay, president of Suffolk County Community

Shaun L. McKay, president of Suffolk County Community College, in 2017. Credit: Marisol Diaz

A settlement by Suffolk County Community College trustees will pay former president Shaun McKay $555,539 — about twice the salary that was due him when his contract was to end in 15 months.

The settlement will pay McKay $233,583 within 30 days of the May 24 agreement, and another $239,500 on Jan. 8, 2020. In addition, McKay will be paid for 80 unused vacation days at the per diem rate of $988.18 for a total of $79,054. The college also will reimburse McKay so he can keep his health insurance coverage through the school for six months.

Details of the agreement became public Tuesday after Newsday filed a request under the state Freedom of Information Law. The college board of trustees, in a 7-0 vote, approved the settlement May 24, the day after the college’s  commencement, but initially delayed disclosure citing federal age discrimination rules. McKay and his attorney Saul Zabell did not return calls for comment.

The resignation agreement comes after the trustees put McKay, president for a decade at the state’s largest community college, on paid administrative leave Jan. 8 from his $257,914-a-year job over undisclosed allegations.

Trustees had already decided not to extend McKay’s contract, although he had requested a 10-year extension after being on a 77-day sick leave earlier in 2018. A trustees committee made no firing recommendation, but instead began settlement talks with the help of outside attorney Thomas Volz. During his sick leave, McKay collected $114,000 in salary, car and housing allowance.

In the pact, both sides agreed “not to disparage, denigrate or defame” the other. If called for references, the college agreed ito disclose the dates and titles in which McKay served and say he resigned voluntarily. It also states that McKay, “may elect to record a farewell message” to be posted on the college website for two months, to wish students well, list his accomplishments and plans.

In an email to the college community issued Tuesday afternoon, board chair Theresa Sanders stated: “There were no findings of wrongdoing, incapacity or misconduct on the part of Dr. McKay during his tenure as president” and she wished him well “as he begins his pursuit of new opportunities.”

Under the agreement, McKay also acknowledges “no other compensation … or other payments of any kind are due and owing to him” and he “shall not perform any further duties.” It relieves the college trustees of a provision in McKay’s contract that they inherited, which would have required the school to give the former president, 53, a senior administrative post after stepping down.

Sanders said the college would seek proposals in the next few weeks from recruiting firms to “design, plan and manage a national presidential search effort” and the search committee would include “a cross-section of members from the college, SUNY, and external community organizations.”

The agreement comes as students will face a $250 tuition increase this fall, even though County Executive Steve Bellone last week backed a 3 percent hike in county aid that had been requested by trustees for the college’s budget. “It’s a slap in the face of every Suffolk student, facing a tuition increase next year,” said Legis. Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga).

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