In March 2023, the Board of Trustees refused to select one of the very qualified finalists chosen by the Presidential Search Committee. (See email communication on behalf of the Board of Trustees on Mar 20, 2023 to AllCampus.) The BOT’s April 19th email reviewed the search process and presented Maria Conzatti as the sole remaining “candidate” for the NCC presidency, but the facts were misstated or misleading. The Board states that after rejecting 5 qualified candidates, it “asked the search firm for the next two candidates in the search committee’s ranking.” This is not only misleading, but simply not true. There were no “next two candidates.” The Search committee, at the end of the process, selected five finalists to send to the Board of Trustees. Members were specifically told NOT to rank the remaining candidates. As you all know from the Board’s emails, Maria Conzatti was not one of the five. Again, there were NO rankings of those not making the cut of finalists. This means that what the Board is doing now violates the intent of the SUNY guidelines, which permit them to reject the finalists sent to them by a duly constituted search committee, but do not permit the Board to keep reaching into the pool of unchosen candidates until they reach their predetermined result. The trustees may have also violated open meeting law as their discussions do not appear on meetings’ agendas.
Once again, in lieu of an experienced and qualified candidate selected from a national search, an internal candidate has been selected by the trustees, and one with a bad track record at the college. Under Dr. Conzatti’s watch as Vice President of Student Services, which oversees Admissions, enrollment declined more at NCC than at other colleges. While Suffolk Community College has seen an increase for the fall of about 3% so far, NCC’s enrollment is fairly flat. Conzatti’s management of finances has been appalling. Probably most notable among her financial failures is that despite repeatedly warning faculty regarding a 20 M debt, Conzatti did not submit a budget request to the County for 2023 that asked for an operating increase, although both the college’s strategic plan and chairs’ requests showed the need to invest in faculty hiring, and although the County’s funding of NCC operations has been flat for going on 16 years. When invited to ask for more funds by Presiding Officer Nicollelo, she turned down the offer.
Many of you have noted that the April 19th email from the Board announcing Maria Conzatti as the sole remaining candidate has, inexplicably, disappeared off the NCC server. For those searching for it, it is included below.
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> on behalf of Presidential Search <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2023 2:24 PM
To: ALLCAMPUS@LISTS.NCC.EDU <ALLCAMPUS@LISTS.NCC.EDU>
Subject: Announcement of Finalist – April 28, 2023 – Open Forum Schedule
To the College Community,
As you were previously informed, none of the five candidates recommended by the search committee received six votes from the Board of Trustees. Subsequently, the Board of Trustees asked the search firm for the next two candidates in the search committee’s ranking.
The Board was informed by the search firm that only one of the two candidates contacted was willing to be considered. An additional candidate was contacted and he/she was no longer interested in the position. The search firm was asked about reopening the search, and the Board was advised that it did not make sense at this point in the search process. Instead, the senior search consultant recommended that the Board move ahead with the one candidate who expressed continued interest in the position, Dr. Maria Conzatti. You can find her Bio attached and her complete vitae will be posted on the NCC website in the Presidential Search section.
On April 28th, Open forums are scheduled on Tower 11 for Dr. Conzatti:
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
You can attend whichever session best matches your schedule. After you attend a forum, please submit your feedback to the Board of Trustees via the RH Perry Survey Link by Sunday, April 30th. RH Perry will tabulate the results and share that information with the Board of Trustees.
Please be assured that the Board of Trustees will review all of the comments prior to interviewing Dr. Conzatti.
Dr. Gardyn, Chair, NCC Board of Trustees
Trustee Weiss Vice Chair, NCC Board of Trustees, and Co-Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Trustee Jackson, Secretary, NCC Board of Trustees and Co-Chair, Presidential Search Committee
This is so disappointing since the college is in desparate need of a qualified President. One who not only has the students’ best interest in mind but also the faculty. I can retire but refuse to be forced to by President Conzatti.
How can the NCC Board of Trustees ever expect a functional relationship between the campus constituents and a president they appoint without adhering to the SUNY Presidential Search Guidelines that they agreed to follow?