Incoming Erie Community College President Dan Hocoy seems open to exploring the possibility of a merger between ECC and Niagara County Community College.
Hocoy was appointed 11th president of ECC on Wednesday by the State University of New York Board of Trustees. He has yet to delve deeply into the question, which has been raised occasionally over the years and most recently a couple weeks ago when Joel A. Giambra, the former Erie County executive, wrote to SUNY board chairman H. Carl McCall urging SUNY to push for a consolidation of the two colleges.
But in a public question-and-answer session at the ECC South Campus in Orchard Park earlier this month, county Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw asked Hocoy – then one of four finalists for the ECC presidency – for his thoughts on reducing from three ECC campuses to one or two.
Hocoy responded by saying he didn't have enough information "to really weigh in."
"I think if there are opportunities to create efficiencies, obviously, reduce redundancies and create cost savings, then it's certainly something to explore," he said.
Giambra said in his letter to McCall that it was the best time for SUNY to push a consolidation, because both colleges had presidential vacancies. Another finalist for the ECC job, Matthew Reed, said in his presentation that ECC ought to be rethinking its relationship with NCCC, including considering the potential for merger.
Hocoy said he had seen the story about the possibility of merging with NCCC. He didn't dismiss the consolidation idea. "From the outside looking in, it seems like something that should be investigated," he said. "I think it would be worth pursuing if it makes sense."
Hocoy wasn't the only president appointed on Wednesday. The SUNY trustees in the same meeting confirmed Havidan Rodriguez as president of the University at Albany and John "Jay" Quaintance as president of Sullivan County Community College.
Rodriguez is the first Hispanic president of a four-year SUNY college or university in the history of the state system. Quaintance was serving as acting president at Sullivan and previously was assistant secretary of education for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.