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Views vary on seeking ECC head

Just how far Erie Community College should go to find its next president has become a topic for discussion.

The State University of New York is encouraging ECC to conduct a national search to find a successor to William J. Mariani, who stepped down at the end of December, said Raymond F. Gallagher, chairman of the ECC board.

Gallagher, however, prefers targeting qualified candidates from the many higher-education institutes of Western New York, someone who is familiar with ECC and can hit the ground running. If SUNY isn't happy with the area candidates that surface, the search can be expanded, Gallagher said.

Cost is a concern.

"If you're doing a national search you're looking at anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000," Gallagher said.

At least one board member, however, sides with SUNY on the issue.

Trustee Adam W. Perry raised the matter of a national search at a meeting of the ECC board Wednesday morning, although the topic apparently was discussed later in executive session with no resolution.

He plans to press the issue more.

"I know there are board members, including me, who want a national search," Perry said when reached after the meeting. "I don't think we should restrict ourselves. I think we need to go right ahead and search for the best possible candidate."

The search process formally began Wednesday, when the ECC board of trustees allocated a conservative $15,000 to help begin paying for the expense of marketing and advertising the president's job and appointed trustee Patricia A. Krzesinski to head a search committee.

The committee has yet to be named. More than two dozen people, most of whom are involved in local education, will be invited to serve on the search committee in hopes of getting at least 15 interested in being on the panel, Gallagher said.

"The ideal situation would be to have [a new president] for next fall, but we're not going to set a timetable," Gallagher said.


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