Eastern Gateway Community College Board Aims To Ease Concerns About School’s Future
With the start of the spring semester just a few days away, Eastern Gateway Community College’s Board of Trustees is trying to assuage the anxiety sparked by its surprise announcement that President Jimmie Bruce and Vice President Jim Miller had been put on administrative leave.
Chairman James Gasior released a statement late Wednesday, a followup to Tuesday’s email notifying faculty and staff of the change.
In his statement, Gasior said the board is “conducting an internal inquiry into “leadership and specific administration concerns” brought to it during the past five months, though he did not detail what those issues were.
“The board took these issues very seriously and launched a thorough internal inquiry,” Gasior said. “This inquiry remains ongoing.”
Efforts earlier in the day Wednesday to contact Jefferson County’s four board members — Kathy Maguschak, Angela Mastros, Katherine Mills and William Nurczyk — were unsuccessful.
Mills and Mastros were not in their offices, Maguschak said she couldn’t comment and Nurczyk was not available.
Current EGCC employees as well as a number who had left or been terminated during the past several years also declined to be interviewed.
Tuesday’s surprise announcement said only that Bruce and Miller were on administrative leave “with further discussion to be held at the next public board of trustees meeting on Wednesday.”
“Since that time, speculation about the situation has caused uncertainty for EGCC students and faculty,” Gasior said, pointing out that when dealing with personnel matters, the board must limit its comments to what is “appropriate for an ongoing personnel matter.”
In the absence of Bruce, Gasior said Chief Financial Officer Michael Geoghegan will be assuming additional responsibilities, “working very closely with (other cabinet members) to ensure continuity in the efficient operation of the college.”
He said that list includes Christina Wanat, vice president of EGCC online and student affairs; Bob Roeschenthaler, chief information officer; Karla Martin, executive director of work force and Aspire; Art Daly, vice president of the Youngstown campus; and Chris Bird, vice president of institutional effectiveness, research and planning, all of whom “will continue to provide strong leadership to Eastern Gateway Community College.”
“We serve as a gateway to the American dream for our students, throughout our region, the state and the country,” Gasior said. “We can all be proud that EGCC is one of the leading community colleges in the nation in student growth and attracting working adults to higher education. Stories of our students’ success inspire us every day. We are determined to build upon our successes and look for continued opportunities to grow and meet the educational needs of our students and to help meet the work force development objectives in our communities.
“We look forward to welcoming our students to the start of the next semester (on Monday).”