Especially in these tough economic times, when people rely heavily on community colleges for a less expensive education or for help in making needed career changes, finding a new Suffolk County Community College president should be a much smoother process than it has been.
The search committee identified three top candidates: two from out of town and one from inside, interim Executive Vice President Shaun McKay. Then, one after the other, the two external candidates took themselves out of the running.
But instead of giving the job to McKay, who has a deep knowledge of how the college works, the board of trustees is starting over. It gives no reason why it's not appointing him, or why it's opening the process to some 30 candidates it considered in the first search, plus others.
What did the board suddenly decide it did not like about McKay's resume? Is he too young? Too grounded in the details of the college to have a grand vision for its future? No one is saying. Whatever is going on, it doesn't seem fair to McKay. If his placement among the final three was genuine, why didn't he get the job? But if the search committee put him there to send a coy signal to internal constituencies that an insider rated a look, that was fair neither to McKay nor the constituencies.
The college deserves the best president - but the candidates also deserve fair and considerate treatment. hN