Niagara Falls Reporter
Home | Archive / Search
MAR 24 - MAR 31, 2015

Big Salaries Contrast With

Budget Crisis at ECC

By Tony Farina

March 24, 2015

Erie Community College President Jack Quinn

Erie Community College (ECC) is packed with high-priced administrators and legal staff even though it has been forced to tap reserve funds and increase tuition tobalance its budget.

ECC President Jack Quinn was recently pegged as number one on the Western New York public payroll list by the Buffalo News with a salary of $192,000 and a hefty traveland expense account to go with it. But Quinn needed help running the college and last year he brought in a former aide from his days in the House of Representatives,Michael Pietkliewicz, as senior vice president for a cool $140,000.

Now Quinn, who also has his own in-house legal counsel office even though the college still hires plenty of outside counsel, is sounding the alarm in the face of what he calls "budget uncertainties" in a year ECC has joined with the county and the state in agreeing to spend $30 million for a controversial STEM building at ECC Norththat legislator Paul Burke called a Hail Mary pass for a college in crisis with questions still surrounding the local pot of money for that building.

Citing enrollment declines that affect state aid and recent dire financial projections, Quinn has sent out a confidential letter to his colleagues at ECC advising thecollege will be implementing "major emergency policy measures" to deal with the looming budget crisis.

We have obtained a copy of that message from Quinn warning of the belt-tightening measures that states "ECC is faced with closing an estimated deficit of $1.2 millionfor the current year and we anticipate using another $4 million (minimum) of fund balance next year to start to address an anticipated $7.8 million deficit."

Quinn's warning comes as state auditors are conducting the first full review of the college's finances in 20 years, an aud it that sources say was sparked by concerns raised about lax controls in managing taxpayer and student dollars at ECC.

Brian Butry, a spokesman for State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, said the audit began last October is expected to continue for several more weeks before it is completed. He would not say whether the audit was triggered by complaints from local watchdogs, saying "it is a standard audit," adding it should be completed by May or June.

But Andy Sako, president of the 1,100-member Faculty Federation at ECC, said he thinks the audit is good for the college "to make sure everyone is doing the right thing with taxpayer and student dollars."

"I think that the college has not spent money judiciously over the last few years for student -centered services," said Sako. "I think the money could have been spent better on student services as opposed to the high-priced administrators. They are running the place mostly on part-time help, and that goes for faculty as well. Yet they keep hiring high salaried, full time staff." Three of the four unions at ECC including the Faculty Federation are currently without a contract and are inmediation.

Other insiders at the school who wish to remain anonymous at this are critical of what they call the disengagement of the Quinn administration and the fact the college has not put together a picture of what the university will look like and what it will be doing in the near future.

We are currently examining an extensive list of expenses over the last several years incurred by the administration starting with Quinn, and we will be reporting on those costs, including legal and travel expenditures, in the coming weeks, as well as taking a closer look at the funding for the STEM project.

We sought comment from Quinn on his warning letter and the state audit but his office reported he was out of town on Monday.

Among the emergency measures Quinn outlined in his warning letter are reduced travel, including inter-campus travel between the three campuses, vacancy controlincluding creative hiring resolutions to get around a hiring prohibition, and the ending of waivers of fees for facility usage.





New York State Law Trumps Stricter Local Laws in Residency Requirements for Sex Offenders
Dyster's Disastrous Plan Costs More, Leaves Falls Buried in Winter's Garbage
Reporter Offers Solution For Controversy Over County Casino Cash
SPCA Director on Anello Show Raises Curious Topic: Why Dyster Wants to Spend, Spend, Spend on Animal Shelter When SPCA Offers Better, Less Expensive Alternative
Sex Offender Population Booms; Dyster Policies Deserve Credit
Ortt Explains His Efforts to Our Readers, His Constituents
Memorial Names Jacqueline DeCarlo Director of Quality Management
County Building Purchase Likely to Generate Long-Term Savings
County Attorney Should Look Into the Possibility of Phantom Online Bidder Jacking Up Price for County-Purchased Properties
Niagara Falls Child - Hit with Rare Brain Cancer - Needs Local Support
Szwedo: It Really Is Just That Simple
Big Salaries Contrast With Budget Crisis at ECC
Three for Two City Court Judge Race Offers Voters Opportunity to Weigh Evidence and Rule on Candidates
The Sorrowful Life of Niagara Falls and Its City Court
Dangerous City
A Candidate to the Left of Lefty Cuomo
This Week in Stupid Crime
So You Think You Want Hillary "Rotten" Clinton To Be President? Allow Me To Refresh Your Memory
NT Forgot to Plan for Parking and Overnight Accommodations
Free Seminar for Parents of Children With Behavioral Diagnosis NT Workshop Offers Hope for Getting Children Off Psychiatric Drugs
City Hall Jokes

Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina