One day after the Niagara County Community College voted to keep President James Klyczek in place despite a bid-rigging scandal and a federal investigation, faculty members said they were “stunned” by the move.
“Like everyone else, I was pretty stunned,” said Faculty Senate President Lori Townsend said. “We really expected them to put him on administrative leave and we agree with Trustee [Jason] Cafarella when he said that it's just good for the president and good for the investigation to have him basically out of the building. So we were pretty surprised when they didn't do that.”
Faculty members have disagreed with Klyczek before. Both the union and the faculty senate have given him votes of "no confidence" in the past.
While Townsend said the faculty does support the board, she added that there will always be a question as to whether Klyczek's presence will taint this internal investigation.
“There's always going to be that question, while he's in the building, was there any interference?” she said.
Onlookers seem to be putting their faith now in the federal investigation, and sources say agents from the FBI are still interviewing people about the bid-rigging scandal.
Niagara County lawmakers -- who send about $8 million per year to the college for funding and who control have the seats on the NCCC board -- are trying to distance themselves from the scandal.
"We don't get involved in those kinds of things," said Legislature Chairman W. Keith McNall. "We give $8 million a year or so to the college, and the Board of trustees, the board president do what they feel is best, and that's the way it is."
For many, the scandal is just another negative event in a county with a long history of corruption.
"Unfortunately, anything like this is not positive," McNall said. "It's going to have an image that isn't favorable until it's resolved."