1 Education Drive

Room F-3293 Garden City, New York 11530

Frank Talk From The President’s Desk: It Has Been My Honor To Serve

Dear Colleagues,

On August 3, 1981, I was fired by President Ronald Reagan for illegally striking as a member of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization. For the following three years, as I attempted to put my life back in order, I drove a Yellow Checker Taxi in New York City while also pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree at Nassau Community College. (I already had an Associate of Arts degree). During this time, I unsuccessfully represented myself at the Public Employees Relation Board, defending my actions as a striking PATCO member. I couldn’t have imagined how significant a role PERB and Nassau would continue to play in my current position.

I remember my first day of work at Nassau Community College, thirty-five years ago. Although I spent two years as a Nassau student, I finally parked in the coveted faculty lot for the first time. As I walked into Cluster D, I was full of wonder, terror and, needless to say, a sense of renewed spirit for having the opportunity at a second chance to pursue an interesting and hopefully rewarding career. Over the years, I have served as a Technical Assistant, Non-Classroom Instructional, and Classroom faculty member. The varied scope of these positions has given me the opportunity to engage with the college community on every level. 

I have met countless faculty, staff and students on and off the campus through the Faculty Student Association, Academic Senate, Academic Department Chairs, my classes and of course, the NCCFT. I have taken students on educational road trips, I’ve worked on political action campaigns in Washington DC, Albany, and Mineola; I have traveled the country and state working with the American Federation of Teachers, New York State United Teachers, AFL-CIO and the Long Island Federation of Labor.

The point I want to make is that I took the challenges and opportunities that a second chance provided for me, and then ran with it as hard as I could. Working at Nassau Community College, especially within the context of the NCCFT Collective Bargaining Agreement, gives each of us the opportunity to use our knowledge, talents and passion to pursue professional paths available to very few citizens of the world. I have had the opportunity to develop professional and personal relationships with members of the college community that have mentored me, supported me, and have challenged me throughout my career. You know who you are, and I want to say, “thank you”. Thank you for mentoring me, thank you for supporting me, and thank you for challenging me. Taken together, this has been a recipe for inspiration, hope, and reason. I thought that I would have had occasion to walk around campus and shake your hands, give an appropriate hug and encourage you to rise above the unprecedented challenges that you are faced with. The handshake and hug may never materialize (maybe an arm-bump); however, the encouragement to carry-on has never been more appropriate and critical. The talent, commitment and strength of character that exists corner-to-corner throughout this campus is evident. To paraphrase a maxim, “Never waste an opportunity that a good crisis presents.” I know that as I leave the campus, the leadership and membership on every level must be commended for their competence and skill to carry on. You are all intelligent and thoughtful, and I am confident that you will not be manipulated and you will use every opportunity to ensure the best Nassau Community College has to offer. It has indeed been an interesting and rewarding career. It has been my honor to have served you. Thank goodness for second chances. 

In solidarity,

Frank

32 Responses

  1. Frank, we walked onto campus at the same time. I have known you from the beginning. Although we worked in different departments I am happy to say that our paths crossed many times through the years. Because of the longevity of the faculty, we become in many ways a “family”. In much the same way that a literal family enjoys good times and suffers through difficult times we remain united through a common bond. Sure, we might disagree, argue and even shout, in the end we are united because we strive for the same goals. I wish for you a great retirement that is abundant in joy, happiness and health. All the best my friend.

    Rich

  2. It was a pleasure working with you and I can only hope that your retirement brings you as much satisfaction as you achieved at NCC!! As Diane said- welcome to the wonderful world of retirement!! Certainly well deserved!! Good luck!

  3. You are a special person. Your working career is quite remarkable and the students, faculty and administration were fortunate to have benefitted from your commitment and leadership. I remember working with you in the SFA and your core values and passion were quite evident. Since I retired in 2004 I never had the pleasure of experiencing you as a leader of the NCCFT. However, based on my experiences with you while I was a faculty member, the College Community has been blessed to have you as President of the NCCFT. I wish you well in the next phase of your unique life journey.

    1. Congratulations Frank. I remember when you and I were on the ballot contending for the position for NCCFT Treasurer many years ago.

      The best man won.

  4. Dear Frank:
    Thank you for all your hard work at NCC on behalf of the students and the faculty. It was an honor & a pleasure to have worked with you at the NCCFT. I wish you all the best in retirement.
    Regards,
    Fran Hilliard

  5. Frank: As you know well, my own 35 years at NCC were not always marked by good feeling either in NCCFT or with the admnistration. But, that said, I salute you as one of the strongest and most pro-faculty of any of the several presidents of the Federation. It was an honor to work with you, once a hardworking member of PATCO, the canary in the mine for all of us. Keep on speaking out! Organized labor must play a role in defeating this government of lies and saving the vulnerable in this combined pandemic and economic collapse! You have led the way.

  6. Dear Frank,

    It’s been a long time, since I’ve been retired so long, but I’ve kept up with your NCCFT work and have admired all you’ve done for the department, the union and the college. I have very fond memories of you from when you first came to NCC, and of all the subsequent years when you added so much to the students and faculty. All my best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement.

  7. Hi Frank. It’s been a real pleasure knowing you. You did your very best and it was really good.
    My brother-in-law Sean was a PATCO shop steward – and was fired by Reagan. He told me how the strike was about a good deal more than salary. If I remember correctly, PATCO opted for binding arbitration and Reagan, in violation of the law, refused.

    I am not an expert in labor history, but it is rather clear that one of the two sides has to obey
    the law and the other doesn’t.

    Sean was eventually allowed back because of Clinton. He was sent for “training” to Oklahoma
    City – a real laugh since he was quite capable of doing the training himself, as they told him. He told me that the new trainees were getting paid $17K a year. It probably hasn’t gotten much better since then.

    When you consider the level of responsibility these folks have to bear, this is an insult to
    simple decency. The foul effects of this insult persist to this day.

    You did your best to battle this denigration back then and up to this moment. Have a happy retirement and I hope to still see you around NCC – assuming any of us is ever around
    NCC again.

  8. Frank, i am sorry to see you retire but am glad you get to finally relax. Thanks for all you taught me. Vondora.

  9. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with you in the NCCFT, to be mentored by you and to challenge you. Those years were some of the hardest and most fun I’ve had at the college and I thank you for that. I look forward to learning what new trouble you stir up in retirement!

  10. Your career at NCC has been marked by empathy and concern for constituents–the students in your classes, the students in the many clubs you advised, and we faculty. This has made you an outstanding teacher and club faculty advisor, an important member of the FSA, a simply amazing union leader, and a beloved leader in NYSUT. In all the years, and all the different roles in which I have known you, you have always been able to hone in on the important issues and address them directly, forcefully, and with clarity. The energy you brought to all these roles was amazing! You treat everyone with a basic respect and forthrightness that has allowed you to accomplish so much–it is really hard to imagine NCC without you. You have left your stamp on so many people and so much of the institution. Best wishes for a wonderful retirement, full of health, happiness, and reaching your goals.

  11. Hey Frank,
    I think you were named correctly! Thanks for the honesty, hard work on everyone’s behalf.

    A question I should have asked you 21 years ago when I started and met you…how does that concrete canoe float? 🙂 🙂

    Be healthy and attempt relaxation.

    My best to you,
    Dennis Stramiello

  12. Frank
    You and I talked a few times about retiring and shared stories about our families and careers, We worked together advocating for our union both in Nassau county and in Albany.
    You have had an incredible career at NCC and I wish you a fantastic retirement.
    By the way i remember the story you told me about your experience camping in the adirondacks. I was impressed by your ability to handle difficult situations.
    Although we have disagreed at times, I consider you to have been one of the few people that I could count on, a real friend.

  13. Dear Frank… you have been so involved and active on the NCC campus for so long!… You’re influence will be felt for a much longer time!… The best to you in the next phase of life…

  14. Hi Frank, I wish you all the best. Enjoy your retirement to the fullest. Micky Alterman

  15. Dear Frank, We had an interesting beginning, but we got past that to a point of mutual understanding and respect. I join you in retirement, because, if I stayed as Chair of English, who would talk me off the ledge when I was exploding? It has been an education for me, knowing you and unravelling the mysteries of the NCCFT and NCC. God bless, and I wish you all good things. C.

  16. I am so proud to be your daughter, Frank 😉 you have always been and will always be a role model to the boys and I. You are the true example of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. You are an extraordinary leader, teacher, colleague but you are an amazing, wonderful, great, marvelous, magnificent Dad and Grandpa.

    Cruz, Camden and I love you. We are so excited for this next chapter of yours.

  17. Best of luck and good health in the next chapters of your life. I will always remember you as a fellow operetta star as well as a great leader in solidarity in the NCCFT. You once told me to tell my son NOT to be an air traffic controller. Well, he became one but realized that it was not for him (I resisted saying, “I told you so”) and he ended up being a pilot for Delta. Thank you for all you have done over the years.

  18. Thank you Frank – for your energy, dedication, leadership, courage, and strength. Your heart has always been in the right place, and you can hold your head high as you transition into whatever comes next. I wish you nothing but health, happiness, and fulfillment. Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished, and thank you for all you’ve done, for all of us.

  19. We walked into the NCCFT office at the same time, approximately 13 years ago. Who knew that you would become not only my “boss”, teacher (a concrete canoe?), guide to contract deciphering (yuck), but my friend and confidante through thick and thin, good and bad. What would the scientist say if I say the stars lined up at the right time? Thank you for being you.

  20. Frank,
    Best wishes and congratulations on your retirement. Thank you for your valued advice during my years there.

  21. Congratulations on your retirement. Enjoy every minute of it, you earned it! Thanks for all of the work you put into making NCC a better place. Very much appreciated!

  22. Retirement is everything and more. Thank you for your service, leadership and dedication, but most of all the long conversations and short ones too.

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