The chairman of the Suffolk County Community College trustees said yesterday the board will meet again with presidential search finalist Shaun McKay, but he did not postpone the first meeting of the search committee to reopen the hunt for a new college boss.
Chairman Ernest Mattace said he planned to sit down with McKay, who is now Suffolk's interim executive vice president, after a half dozen critics assailed the selection process because McKay was passed over when the other two finalists dropped out. McKay was initially a finalist from among 30 contenders.
Lucius Ware, president of the Eastern Long Island NAACP, called it "an example of continuing blatant institutional racism."
The decision to meet with McKay, who is black, came after the board huddled in executive session for nearly an hour at its monthly meeting at the Brentwood campus. The search committee met later in the day.
Mattace declined to say whether the board will reconsider McKay as a presidential contender, explain to him why he was not chosen or whether the board wants him to remain a candidate in the new search. He declined to say when the board will meet with McKay.
Reached later, McKay said he is "absolutely" still interested in the top job and will "remain available" to meet with the trustees. He said he sees the meeting as a "positive reflection," and the "board is carefully carrying out their responsibility. I respect the board's position."
A record search shows that McKay declared personal bankruptcy in 2004 while he worked as director of planning for Community College of Baltimore County, Md.
Mattace declined to say whether the board was aware of the bankruptcy or whether it played any role in its deliberations.
Still, McKay said he filed for bankruptcy as a "strategic move" when his family faced heavy medical bills. He said the bankruptcy lasted a year and the court approved a plan for him to pay back $24,600 over 60 months. He said he paid back the debt and his finances are now in "pristine" condition.
Steve Epstein, a college professor, said no further search is needed, saying "we already have a superb candidate on staff. . . . Dr. McKay could step into the position immediately."
Presiding officer William Lindsay later described McKay as an "incredibly good candidate and I feel very badly that he has not been treated respectfully in this whole process."