Two Niagara County agencies are disputing ownership of equipment in the Trott Access Center, a fight that could interfere with Niagara County Community College's plans to move some vocational training courses to Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield.
Paul J. Parise, director of the county's Employment and Training Department, asserted at a County Legislature committee meeting last week that the college does not own the equipment used in the licensed practical nursing and dental assistant programs, and thus it cannot move those items out of Trott.
NCCC President James P. Klyczek said that Parise is flat wrong and that he can prove it. He said he will submit purchase orders and receipts to Assistant County Attorney J. Michael Fitzgerald, who finds himself refereeing the dispute.
"We asked (Parise) to present the purchase orders and receipts, and he refused," Klyczek said.
Parise countered with a federal regulation that, he told the committee, demonstrates that the roughly $30,000 worth of equipment, purchased with a government grant, must stay in the Access Center.
"It doesn't tell me anything unless I see some documentation," Fitzgerald said. "The issue I'm looking at is whether it was purchased for the center or the county."
"We've got it inventoried and tagged, and we're moving it out of there," Klyczek declared. Three classrooms' worth of furniture and some office equipment also will be moved, he said.
In March, the NCCC board of trustees decided to move some of its Trott operations out of the 11th Street building into space that it will lease in Summit Park Mall.
Klyczek said the licensed practical nursing program will leave at the end of the current school year, while the nursing assistant program will remain at Trott for one more year before its future is decided.
The move out of Trott is not the complete abandonment of the building that some legislators feared, but it is still unpopular with many of them.
Parise said that if the county's ownership of the equipment is upheld, he could offer his own dental and nursing programs at Trott.
He said he has already talked with Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services about providing instructors.
Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls, liked the sound of that. "We would have a program in the City of Niagara Falls to compete with (Klyczek's) program, and he would look even more foolish," she said.
NCCC would then have to buy new equipment to operate at Summit Park Mall, and the Legislature might hold the purse strings for the unanticipated spending, according to Legislator William M. Davignon, D-Niagara Falls.