SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher recommended to the SUNY Board of Trustees on Dec. 5 that they end the shared presidency between the SUNY Institute of Technology and Morrisville State College and appoint an interim president for MSC starting in January.
The board was without a quorum (majority membership) at its meeting and therefore could take no action, but Chairman H. Carl McCall said members will vote on the resolution along with others on its agenda in the next few days.
If the board approves the resolution as expected, SUNYIT President Dr. Bjong Wolf Yeigh will no longer be officer in charge at Morrisville. Zimpher recmmended that the board appoint Dr. William Murabito as the interim president until the college can complete a search for a permanent president. That search may start as early as Fall 2013.
This proposed change would end a 13-month arrangement between the colleges. Yeigh stepped in as joint president on Oct. 20, 2011, five months after former MSC President Raymond Cross took a job as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin Extension.
Zimpher’s recommendation, and the pending vote by the Board of Trustees follows Yeigh’s July 2012 memo on shared services in which he recommended that Morrisville be allowed to search for its own president if it meets several standards for improvement of its procedures and policies.
In making her recommendation to the board on Dec. 5, Zimpher noted that Murabito has experience in and understands SUNY’s colleges of technology. She said she is “confident that he is the right leader, at the right time, for SUNY Morrisville.”
SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall echoed Zimpher’s sentiments. He said the board members had met with Murabito on Dec. 4, and that Murabito has “an impressive background and reputation both within the SUNY system and externally....”
Murabito comes from a long history of working in SUNY, including most recently an interim presidency at Sullivan Community College. That job ended on Dec. 4 when Sullivan named a new president.
Before his interim presidency at Sullivan, Murabito retired from SUNYIT in 2009 as vice president for student affairs.
Murabito was previously the associate vice chancellor for the SUNY system administration from 2004 to 2006. From 2003 to 2004, he was the officer in charge at Rockland Community College. Before that he was interim president at SUNY of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill from 2002 to 2003.
From 1999 to 2002, Murabito was executive director for SUNY’s University Technology Colleges, a group comprising the colleges at Canton, Alfred, Delhi, Cobleskill and Morrisville.
Dr. David Rogers has been provost and vice-president of academic affairs since 2010, when he left his post as dean of the school of business. He has also served as chief operating officer, working with Yeigh on matters of campus leadership.
In a Sept. 2, 2011 interview with The CHIMES, Yeigh admitted that it would be impossible for him to spend 50 percent of his time on one campus and the other 50 percent on the other.
“I need to respect the feeling and environment of both campuses,” Yeigh said. “I don’t want to send the wrong message to SUNYIT.”
In his memorandum to the board of trustees, Yeigh made several recommendations, including the following:
-“MSC should be allowed to move ahead with a search for its own president, but only after it realizes a minimum shift of $1.4 million from administrative to instructional spending.” [This number was erroneous; it represents 5 percent of MSC’s entire operating budget, not 5 percent of its administrative budget, which is far less than $1.4 million.]
-“MSC should be moved toward a shared services alignment with Cobleskill-Delhi because of their similarities and common missions.”
-“SUNYIT should be paired with SUNY campuses (e.g. UAlbany, other University Centers) with which it shares an emphasis….”
-SUNY should audit MSC’s administrative operations “to improve functions and customary operating procedures that are at variance with standard and best practices elsewhere in SUNY.”
Yeigh also claimed that shared services laid out in his report would result in “$376,000 in administrative savings for SUNYIT and $297,000 in savings for MSC in the realigned administration.” [Yeigh wrote that this number was based on the organizational chart that was part of his memorandum, but the report contained no itemized evidence of these savings on either campus.]