ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT
: Faculty and students at Bergen Community College are preparing a “no-confidence” vote in school President G. Jeremiah Ryan and his administration for what they consider wasteful spending, including bonuses for his staff following cuts in wages and hours for those in work-study programs,
“The college community is losing confidence in the President and his VP for many reasons,” Yoel Weisshaus told the website.
A professor who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the account for CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM .
“The faculty union has held emergency meetings over the call for a vote of no-confidence, and has another planned soon,” the professor told the website. “This will likely be the actual vote.”
Weisshaus cited three appointments Ryan made “without a search committee, as required by Middle State Commission of Higher Education and the State of New Jersey”:
Angela Harrington , first hired to fill a new position of Director of Communication and then promoted to Public Relations Director and appointed to BCC’s Executive Council;
Former Vice President Susan Johnson , who resigned amid controversy;
Dennis Miller , a former president and CEO of Somerset Medical Center in Somerville who ended up at BCC following the arrest of serial killer Charles Cullen — who admitted snuffing 13 patients and trying to kill two others — and now holds a full-time job as vice president of administrative service while maintaining a Morristown consulting business (READ: Full-time administrator or consultant? He’s both at BCC ).
Until this past summer, students were allowed to work as college employees up to 20 hours a week. It was cut to 15 hours, as was the wage — from close to $12 to the minimum wage of $7.75, Weisshaus told the website. Several of those affected are single mothers, he added.
Ryan and Miller said they were forced into the moves by federal guidelines that limited how much a student could earn per semester and required that more be hired.
“That argument lasted until the students exposed there is no such limit,” Weisshaus told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . What’s more, he said, BCC employs fewer students this semester than last.
Members of the Bergen County Student Civic Engagement Association intervened, pressing Miller and Ryan to reverse some of the moves and reimburse students who complained, Weisshaus told the Pilot.
“However, they refuse to compensate the other students who did not complain,” he added.
The professor backed his account. “The student work-study pay cuts were devastating and unprecedented,” he said.
Weisshaus also accused Ryan of conducting new student elections after his preferences didn’t win, and of insisting that the school’s Child Development Center be closed for losing $300,000 “when technically there was a budget gap of only $80,000.”
“While these issues may seem as internal politics… it certainly will affect 18,000+ current students and all graduates of the past 40 years if a ‘No Confidence’ is announced as voted,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Weisshaus the past four years has been administrator of the Union of Rabbis, a charitable educational and scientific organization that looks to help Jewish people build a better life. He is pursuing an A.S. in Business Accounting, with a real estate law minor. He has served as a student representative with BCC’s Council Committee for the President, investigated textbook conflicts, and headed the school’s Technology Subcommittee, overseeing the BCC website, its online college and its web marketing.
Weisshaus has had a firsthand look at the turmoil shaking the community college.
It’ isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the federal scrutiny recently given the Bergen County Improvement Authority amid a mortgage fraud scandal could extend to BCC, given the circumstances: Of $50 million worth of bonds sold during the improvement authority’s biggest year, more than half went toward the purchase of a building for BCC in the Meadowlands, even though the Rutherford campus of Felician College had been offered.
The chairman and former commissioner of the BCIA at the time was Ronald J. O’Malley, who was named this summer in a a 68-count federal mortgage fraud indictment returned against him and a partner of his Ridgewood firm.
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