Home / Opinion / Snap poll: 82% say politics is influencing search for MCC president

Snap poll: 82% say politics is influencing search for MCC president

70% favor candidates named by search committees

Search committees Monday recommended two finalists-both community college presidents-to succeed Thomas Flynn as president of Monroe Community College. However, a sharply divided MCC board of trustees approved adding the names of Republicans William Smith, the former county Legislature majority leader, and Rochester entrepreneur Dennis Kessler to the list of finalists.
More than 80 percent of readers participating in the RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll this week say politics is influencing the selection process. More than two-thirds favor the candidates recommended by the search committees. Those finalists are Laurence Spraggs, president of Broome Community College in Binghamton, and Kenneth Ender, president of Cumberland County College in New Jersey.
Before the board vote, MCC faculty urged the trustees not to add names beyond the search committees’ recommendations. Trustees with closest ties to the Monroe County Republican Committee voted to add Smith and Kessler to the list.
Roughly 660 readers took part in the poll, conducted March 24 and 25.

Which list of finalists for the MCC president’s job do you favor?
The two candidates, Laurence Spraggs and Kenneth Ender, selected by the search committees: 70%
The search committees’ selections, plus William Smith and Dennis Kessler: 30%

Do you think politics is unduly influencing the selection process for MCC’s next president?

Yes: 82%

No: 18%


We endanger the entire higher education process by making it another source of political patronage. First the politics, then we ban the books and then we politicize the faculty. The search committee did a good job, and now the trustees must act responsibly. But then, they may be loyal Republicans, like the county Legislature, and look at what they have achieved.
-John Larish, principal, Jonrel Imaging Consultants

I believe having a successful businessperson, like Dennis Kessler, at the helm of MCC would be an inspiration to the students. He represents “book knowledge” in action … and isn’t that the ultimate goal of higher education?
-Michael Schwabl, Dixon Schwabl Inc.

This should be about our children’s future, not a political favor.
-David Young

I believe that in today’s society you need to think outside of the box. Considering all options is in the best interest of the college. To leave out two qualified candidates because they do not have community college experience is shortsighted.
-Nicole Mahoney, A2Z Marketing

You’ve got to be kidding. This is another blatant example of political cronyism resemblant of the recent process for the selection of the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office. I certainly have a great deal of respect for Mr. Smith and Mr. Kessler, however, I would have even more respect for them if they withdrew themselves from this process.
-Greg Reynolds, project manager, Hillside Family of Agencies

The perception of what is going on with the search for the new MCC leader that the current board has created is just wrong-disrespectful to President Flynn, the faculty and to the citizens of our community.
-Howie Jacobson

The Republicans will have done irreparable damage to the academic credibility of Monroe Community College if either Smith or Kessler are appointed president since neither of them has any educational experience, successes or credentials to do well in the position.
-Bill Mathews

Both incremental candidates have made strong contributions in our community, and have the fundamental intelligent thinking and leadership skills needed to run MCC. While Bill Smith recently comes from a political position, this does not have to be seen as a political move.
-Kevin Kenny

03/28/08 (C) Rochester Business Journal


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