The upcoming retirement of Cayuga Community College president Daniel Larson has been postponed for a couple of weeks to allow the school's trustees secure an interim replacement.
Larson's retirement was originally set to be effective on Nov. 4, by which time the board planned to have an interim president in place. But board of trustees Chairman Jeff Edwards on Friday said Larson will now remain at his post through Nov. 18, by which time the board expects an interim president can be approved by both the CCC and SUNY boards.
The extended employment will not affect the retirement agreement between Larson and CCC, and Edwards said the board had already planned ahead in case the process took longer than expected.
"We left ourselves some wiggle room when we originally voted in case we didn't make the date," he said.
The CCC board met with former Jamestown Community College president Dr. Gregory DeCinque last month during a day-long visit to the college that included several forums and meetings with students and faculty. Edwards said after the interview that he felt DeCinque was well-received by the college community and labeled him as the front-runner in the search for the school's next leader.
Interviews with two candidates previously selected by a national search company called The Registry were postponed prior to DeCinque's visit after a third candidate accepted a position with another school and withdrew from the race. Edwards said Friday that there has been no contact with those two applicants since meeting with DeCinque and said the possibility is strong that he will be chosen as CCC's interim president.
"We're still in the negotiation process but he is the leading candidate," Edwards said. "You never want to get over-confident, but things seem to be working out."
The board at CCC is expected to vote on DeCinque's hiring at its monthly meeting on Nov. 13 and the SUNY Board of Trustees would then get the resolution at its Nov. 15 meeting. If DeCinque is approved as an interim president at that meeting, he would be available to start at CCC the following week, ending Larson's active employment.
"We just need SUNY approval and once we get that, we're on our way," said Edwards.
Larson's retirement comes amid months of financial struggles capped by the Board of Trustees declaring fiscal exigency in July. Layoffs of several employees have been approved thus far as college officials struggled through closing a budget gap of nearly $1.5 million.
The Cayuga Community College Foundation, which raises funds for scholarships and programs at CCC, has also been affected by the school's budget issues. Lloyd Hoskins, president of the foundation's board of directors, said this week that the foundation has been undergoing some personnel re-organization because of recent cuts at the college but said he could not elaborate on what changes would be made.
The foundation's executive director, Jeff Hoffman, declined to comment, and both Larson and Edwards also said there was not much that could be said about the foundation at this time.
"I think, with our financial exigency, it's forced the college and the foundation to look at how funding of related positions will proceed into next year," Edwards said.