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President of the Suffolk Community College faculty union Ellen Schuler Mauk, the county’s longest tenured labor leader, is retiring from her union post at the end of the school year after 34 years.

Schuler Mauk’s influence and clout far exceeds the size of her union, which represents about 485 full-time faculty and about 1,500 part-time adjuncts. Schuler Mauk was a key player in the creation of the county’s self-insurance aprogram affecting all 10,000 county employees and their families and has been an influential advocate on education issues, the college budget and the college building program both in Hauppauge and Albany.

“She’s a consummate professional and role model of what a union leaders should be,” said Paul Sabatino, former legislative counsel. “And when the college had weak presidents, she at times almost became the de facto president, delivering 18-0 votes on budgets for the school” by lobbying lawmakers.

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Schuler Mauk, 66, an English professor since 1970, will remain on the executive board of New York State United Teachers and on the higher education policy counsel for the American Federation of Teachers where her currnet terms have another year to run.

Her long-time executive vice president Kevin Peterman, 63, has declared his candidacy for a two year term as union president. The election will be held in May.