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NCCC president may be suspended Thursday

Follows 7 Eyewitness News investigation of bids
Posted at 12:39 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 12:58:05-05

The Niagara County Community College Board of Trustees will decide Thursday whether to suspend its president in the wake of a bid-rigging scandal prompted by a 7 Eyewitness News investigation

Board members have called a special meeting for 6 p.m. Thursday where they are expected to vote on the future of President James P. Klyczek. Sources say they may put Klyczek, the longest-serving president in college history, on administrative leave. 

In emails obtained exclusively last week by 7 Eyewitness News, Klyczek in 2010 appeared to favor companies with ties to college officials to receive millions of dollars of public contracts for the construction of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.

Additional emails also suggested that Klyczek may have deceived state officials about the $30 million project, mocked elderly trustees and made a series of lewd remarks about college officials.

The meeting will mark the third special session in less than two weeks for the board, which hired a public relations firm and outside legal counsel to grapple with the fallout of the scandal while beginning an internal investigation. 

Federal investigators issued a subpoena to the college just before last Tuesday’s special meeting “for documents and information related [to] the awarding of those contracts."

Board Chairman Vincent Ginestre said in a prepared statement that the board would "discuss the identification and selection of new counsel for its ongoing investigation, and determine the status of the President of the College."

Klyczek joined NCCC in 2001 and was appointed to the presidency in 2002. 

We have a copy of one of Klyczek's contracts from a few years ago, which states that if he is suspended, he will still be paid his salary, which amounts to more than $200,000 dollars a year plus a take-home car.

If he is suspended, board members could attempt to fire him, but the contract states that they would first need to show cause and Klyczek would be entitled to a hearing.

Meanwhile, the NCCC Faculty Senate is weighing in, providing this statement to 7 Eyewitness News:

"NCCC Faculty is deeply concerned about recent allegations directed towards President James Klyczek and other members of the administration.  NCCC Faculty Senate supports a full, independent, and transparent investigation.
NCCC Faculty continues to be committed to our students and their academic success.  Students have always been and will continue to be the number one priority of the faculty."