Tedesco recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Irish Easter Rising, on Monday march 28//Brendan Daly

Tedesco recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Irish Easter Rising, on Monday march 28//Brendan Daly

By Gabe Wanissian, Editor in Chief

Two new BCC Board of Trustees positions will be chosen within the next 30 days, according to Bergen County Executive James Tedesco.

“I am hoping by the May BOT meeting, those names will be up to the college board,” said Tedesco.

The terms of Trustee members James Demetrakis and James Napolitano expired on October 31 of last year, but they still served on the board due to a six-month holdover. An interview committee was put together by the County Executive, and resumes have been solicited from candidates throughout Bergen County.

Tedesco wasted no time in choosing his first appointee, as he placed Gerard Carroll, a professor at Bergen County Technical School, onto the board during the April 5 BOT meeting. The appointment would effectively replace Napolitano from the board.

“I just hope that my experience in education and working with students can bring something good to the table here, as well as understanding the curriculum and things of that nature,” said Carroll after being sworn in.

According to Tedesco, the number of potential choices for Demetrakis’ position has been narrowed down to roughly eight candidates by the Trustee Search Committee.

The Board consists of 11 total members, eight of which are appointed by the County Executive, two that are appointed by Governor Chris Christie and an Alumni Trustee that is voted on by the students. The trustees have monthly public meetings to oversee activities in the college. They have the duties to veto or ratify proposals that directly affect the college’s policies, budget, and the educational curriculum.

The search for trustees is done in accordance with The New Jersey Council of County College’s “Community College trustee Appointment Guideline,” which aim to provide depth, balance and diversity within the board.

During the term of former County Executive Kathleen Donovan, there was criticism over the college board not accurately representing the demographic of the college. Since Tedesco was sworn into office in 2015, returning trustee Germaine Ortiz (who previously served in 2005) was added to the board. The addition of a Hispanic female onto the board was well received, as 25 percent of students at BCC are Hispanic, according to the college 2015 fact book.

With the replacement of Demetrakis and Napolitano (who were appointed by Republican Donovan), it remains to be seen if the new trustee members fall more in line with Tedesco’s Democratic views which have, at times, been at odds with some of the college administration’s actions.
“We will always have disagreements,” said Tedesco. “But it doesn’t mean that you should stop supporting the college. My support of the college has never wavered. I want to make sure that everyone who wants a good education gets an education.”

When Tedesco was elected in office, he restored the college’s county budget to levels that had not been seen since 2010, after Donovan lowered the amount of money given to the college. However, due to a stagnation in state funding, the college still ended up having to cut 64 lecturers and 150 part-time positions last summer.

“I would say that it is unfortunate that in the economy that we are in. That happened in the county also. We had to lay off people also,” said Tedesco. “I would leave it up to the educators as to where those cuts need to be made. I want to make sure that the educators are making decisions and not the bureaucrats and administration.”