NCCC president Klyczek under investigation, but still reaps generous taxpayer benefits

Makes more than $200,000
Posted at 11:55 PM, Mar 23, 2017

Every five years, he makes a million dollars in public money.

“It’s a surprising amount of money,” said Rob Galbraith of the Public Accountability Initiative.

Niagara County Community College President James Klyczek may be at the center of a bid-rigging scandal we first uncovered last month.

But that hasn’t stopped him from collecting generous benefits from the wallets of taxpayers.

Antonette Cleveland, who ran NCCC before Klyczek, was making $105,000 per year adjusted for inflation – the equivalent of $140,000 in today’s dollars.

But Klyczek now makes more than $200,000 – and that’s only counting his base salary.

“It makes you ask, are the students receiving twice as good of an education there?,” Galbraith said. “Are they educating twice as many people?”

Klyczek’s salary is in the same ballpark as other community college presidents, but he makes more than Erie Community College President Jack Quinn -- and ECC has three-thousand more students than NCCC. 

Faculty have criticized Klyczek for what they call “his persistent drive to concentrate power and control.”

They point to the College Association – a nonprofit group involved with the school’s culinary institute that is now under review by the board of trustees. 

Internal documents obtained by 7 Eyewitness News show that in 2012 – the year the culinary institute opened – association bylaws were changed to cut the number of directors from 13 to 3, and to remove faculty and students from the board.

The documents also show that the association paid Klyczek $30,000 a year in addition to his $200,000 base salary.

“As one person’s compensation is rising so drastically at the same time that power is consolidating within that person’s circle, I think that’s a huge red flag for public ethics,” Galbraith said.

Klyczek also gets a Ford Expedition free of charge. It’s in pretty good shape, too, because Klyczek’s contract states that taxpayers must purchase him a new one every two years or 50,000 miles – whichever comes first. 

It’s also not limited to public business. Klyczek is afforded “24-hour unlimited usage.

There’s no official license plates on this vehicle, so state taxpayers who passed Klyczek when 7 Eyewitness News followed him to a Japanese restaurant last week had no indication that they were the ones paying for the ride.

The federal education department, SUNY and the FBI are now are now asking questions of the leadership at NCCC.

But Klyczek, who declined or requests for an interview, can leave it all behind while driving to his 3,500-square-foot home in Clarence.

That’s because the highest paid public official working in Niagara county doesn’t even live there.

Klyczek is not required by law to live in Niagara County because his salary is paid for by SUNY. 

But taxpayers say the value of that benefit package comes as quite a surprise.