Tonawanda News

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September 29, 2011

New deal for NCCC's Klyczek

SANBORN —  It appears as though James Klyczek will remain president of Niagara County Community College for the foreseeable future.

Members of the college’s board of trustees on Wednesday voted unanimously to grant Klyczek a three-year extension to his existing contract.

The move extends Klyczek’s employment agreement, which was set to expire next summer, through Aug. 31, 2015.

The terms of the extension, including future salary and benefits, have not been determined. Instead, those matters will be reviewed and discussed by members of the board’s personnel and finance committees who will make a recommendation to the full board at a later date.

The board followed a similar course in 2008 when it authorized a prior three-year contract extension through Aug. 31, 2012. As part of that deal, the board agreed to increase Klyczek’s salary by $20,900, from  $145,000 to $165,900. Klyczek, whose performance is subject to annual reviews by members of the college’s board, currently earns $185,000 per year.

After Wednesday’s meeting, he indicated that, in light of current financial conditions, he would not be surprised if he didn’t receive additional compensation this time around.

“I doubt it will change very much the way things are,” Klyczek said. “It will probably just move forward.”

Board Chairperson Bonnie Gifford said the decision to extend Klyczek’s contract followed an evaluation of his work as president by each member of the board. Gifford said she has “100 percent confidence” in Klyczek’s ability to lead the college and gave him high marks for his handling of large-scale projects like student housing construction at the Sanborn campus and the development of a new culinary arts center in downtown Niagara Falls.

“He’s done an overall excellent job,” Gifford said. “I can tell you that the board, in general, is pleased with his performance.”

Klyczek has been leading the college since April 2002 when he succeeded former President Antoinette Cleveland as interim president. In November of that year, he was given the job on a full-time basis.

He said now that his future with the college is secure, he intends to continue work on completing the culinary arts project while turning his attention to what he considers NCCC’s “next big project,” the so-called Learning Commons, a proposed $25 million renovation project involving the library and humanities section of the E building at the Sanborn campus.

Meanwhile, Klyczek is continuing to come under fire from members of the college’s faculty who have been critical of his leadership of late amid concerns about their own labor contract and other issues. During the public speaking portion of Wednesday’s meeting, NCCC Faculty Association President Joseph Colosi noted that the instructional staff has been working without a new contract for the past five years and that negotiations began on a new deal on Aug. 7, 2006.

Colosi offered the board a list of what he called “good-faith, respectful efforts” the faculty has undertaken since the contract expired in 2006, including teaching more students in years when the number of full-time faculty have been decreased. Colosi characterized the administration’s actions and positions during the same timeframe as “uncollegial and disrespectful” and asked board members to help “change the institution’s culture” to one of “mutual respect and cooperation.”

“The faculty has had good faith,” Colosi said. “The administration has demonstrated something very different.”

Klyczek has previously said that other public unions across the state are making sacrifices in light of today’s economic conditions and has suggested that it may be time for members of the NCCC faculty to do the same. On Wednesday, he noted that the faculty’s existing contract still offers 2 percent annual raises and other benefits to members. He said the contract issue is now being presented to a third party “fact finder” who will examine relative information from both parties to determine the best course of action moving forward.

“Both sides have to go in there and present their cases and see what he or she recommends,” Klyczek said.

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