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Suffolk Community College faculty pact's cost put at $2 million

A lawsuit suit filed in state Supreme Court

A lawsuit suit filed in state Supreme Court claims that Suffolk County Community College and its top officials have misspent hundreds of thousands of dollars from a mandatory student activity fee that produces a nearly $4 million a year. Credit: Heather Walsh

Suffolk County Community College officials said Tuesday their new four-year contract with faculty has a net cost of $2 million, although legislative budget analysts put the cost higher.

The education committee of the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved the new agreement for the 479 full-time faculty members and 1,600 adjuncts. The pact still needs to be voted on by the full legislature.

Gail Vizzini, SCCC's financial vice president, said the new contract will increase spending for full-time and part-time faculty by $7 million. She said $5 million of the cost will be offset by union concessions.

The givebacks include a permanent extension of an existing contract provision, due to expire Sept. 1, that permits the college to increase average class size from 35 to 37 students, for $750,000 in annual savings. The union also agreed to permit a paperless payroll system that will save the college $500,000 a year.

Legislative budget analyst Benny Pernice said the class size provision does not save money but merely protects the college from having to add money to next year's budget. Registering the $750,000 as a savings amounts to "double counting," Pernice said, an evaluation that Vizzini disputed.

The agreement, which takes effect Sept. 1, 2015, will provide a 1.5 percent raise in February 2016, 2 percent in February of 2017 and 2018 and 2.5 percent in February, 2019. It freezes starting pay for first-year faculty at $52,701 a year for the life of the contract.

Salaries of top-paid faculty will rise from $114,285 to $123,700 by the end of the contract, said Kevin Peterman, union president.

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