Quintin Bullock has done a good enough job as president of Schenectady County Community College to warrant a contract extension — his initial three-year term is up this year. But county officials who act like he intends to stick around for another full term, after being passed over for jobs at two separate institutions in under six months, are either in denial or being dishonest with the public.
Maybe Bullock didn’t go looking for the jobs — at Frederick Community College in Maryland or Stark State College in Ohio. But does it matter whether he was recruited by the American Community College Trustees, as SCCC Board Chairwoman Denise Murphy McGraw insists, or applied for those jobs? Not really. He was a finalist in both searches and presumably was prepared to jump had either job been offered.
If that’s not enough evidence of an interest in moving on, there was his impolitic remark at the Frederick interview, where he compared SCCC to a Chevrolet and Frederick to a Cadillac. No amount of equivocating or apologizing can mask the sentiment behind a statement like that: As proud as he may be of SCCC, he’d clearly be prouder elsewhere.
That’s his prerogative, of course. And one can’t really blame him for looking, or responding to recruiters, since his contract is about to expire.
But maybe he should skip the platitudinous statements about “looking forward to continue working for SCCC,” etc. And maybe McGraw should stop acting like she thinks Bullock’s job searches are over and that news of them wasn’t a distraction. As embarrassing as these episodes have been for the college, her attempt to paper over them have looked silly.
The college should renew Bullock’s contract, assuming it wants him around for a few more years. (One can’t help but wonder why it didn’t move to do so earlier.) And if the college does want him, the board should make clear that it expects him to fulfill his commitment to the college — and not engage in any job searches until the contract’s last year — just as the college would be expected to fulfill its commitment to him. Buyouts for early departures should go in both directions.