ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : It’s only a matter of time before outgoing Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney is named to head Bergen Community College’s Meadowlands campus, as the exodus of officials from county government leads straight to the institution of higher learning’s door, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
McNerney, left, and Sheriff McGuire
Students and faculty questioned why BCC bought the property for the new campus when Felician offered facilities in Rutherford. Answers were considered vague and evasive, many said.
Of $50 million worth of bonds sold by the Bergen County Improvement Authority during its biggest year, more than half went toward the purchase of the Meadowlands building. 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.
Whether the feds consider further scrutiny of the college necessary remains to be seen.
Bergen Community College President G. Jeremiah Ryan avoided censure by the school’s faculty a few weeks ago. Instead, the instructors OK’d a memorandum of agreement aimed at resolving the differences on both sides. The official tally was 118-51 in favor of the MOA.
The faculty union cited several disagreements with Ryan and his administration, including three appointments he allegedly made “without a search committee, as required by Middle State Commission of Higher Education and the State of New Jersey.”
More hires are coming, including outgoing Bergen County Sheriff Leo McGuire, who is going to teach a criminal justice class. A source with direct knowledge of the inner workings told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that McNerney’s job is in the bag.
The swelling of staff comes scant months after BCC cut hours for students with work-study jobs, citing budgetary concerns.
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. Several of those affected are single mothers.
Ryan said BCC was forced into the moves by federal guidelines that limited how much a student could earn per semester. However, students reviewed the federal guidelines and couldn’t find such a requirement. This at first left all of those who‘d reached the threshhold out of work, according to letters sent to the students.
However, an undetermined number of those who immediately consulted the school’s Career and Transfer Center were able to keep their jobs.
“Demoting and firing student tutors and lab aids means less help is available during lab hours, and a student is more likely to go away and never come back if they have no help trying to solve a Flash or 3d animation problem,” one disgruntled faculty member told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Our computers and IT infrastructure have fallen into disrepair. Internet access has become all but unusable, and no one even knows whom to call about it.”
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