The search for a new MCCC president will get a little help from an outside consultant.
The college Board of Trustees Monday night decided to spend $30,000 to hire the consulting firm Association of Community College Trustees to help with the presidential search process.
The board also decided on the shape of the search committee, which will include four college employees, three board members, a student, an alumnus, a MCCC Foundation member and four or five community members, for a total of 14-15.
The college employees will include one representative each from the Faculty, Staff and Administrator councils, and a second faculty member representing the faculty union.
The board decided to hire a consultant after a teleconference with Narcisa Polonio of ACCT. Polonio and two colleagues discussed the firm’s potential role in the search process.
ACCT also was hired 10 years ago to handle the search that resulted in hiring current president David Nixon, who is retiring after this school year.
Polonio is the Vice President of Education, Research & Board Leadership Services for ACCT.
“We would love to be of service,” Polonio said . “The target is to identify the right president now and in the future.”
Polonio added that in today’s world, one must look beyond the surface of a candidate.
The board held its regularly scheduled meeting after the two-hour teleconference.
“I make a motion we hire ACCT,” said board member Joe Bellino, who had opposed hiring a consultant at the board’s Feb. 18 meeting.
The firm and the board settled on the $30,000 charge for the search. There was a $5,000 discount for using ACCT’s services 10 years ago.
“I think this is the real investment,” said board Chairman Bill Bacarella, affirming the board’s decision.
The board decided to select search committee members without waiting for help from ACCT.
“I don’t want them to pick our committee,” Bacarella said.
Polonio emphasized that the board, not the search committee, would have the final word when selecting the new president.
“Ultimately, the board makes the decision,” she said.
Unity and open communication must become the building blocks in the process, she said.
“The board has to be together. The board has to trust each other to make the best choice for the institution,” Polonio said.
Polonio encouraged board members to identify characteristics of a leader, desirable skill sets, and their concerns in the search.
“I would like to see him as an exceptional communicator,” board Treasurer Linda Lauer said.
“I would like to see someone having taught in classes,” board member Mary Kay Thayer said.
Mounting budget constraints, including finding money for the new Career Technology Center, the new shared governance leadership model, and declining enrollment were concerns mentioned by board members.
“You need a unifier and a vision,” Polonio said about calming internal struggles within the college. “The board needs to speak with one voice. You have a good college and good faculty.”
Getting support for the college’s current capital campaign, which is designed to replace reserve funds that were spent to build the CTC, is critical, Polonio said.
“You need the community,” she said.
Finding the right president won’t be easy, Polonio noted, because of the complex skills that are needed and the challenges that face college presidents.
Board members said they knew others with talent and leadership skills who chose to not apply for the position.
“It’s the best job in the world, but it’s not for everybody,” Polonio said.