A Quantitative Study of the Presidential Search Process and Position Longevity in Community Colleges Page: 5
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26% of the community college chief officers held tenure in their positions of 2.5 years or
less (AACC, 2007).
Even the more optimistic studies have not presented a picture of a truly stable
presidency. The average of length of tenure may have been inflated due to the difficulty
and expense of ridding an institution of a less than satisfactory executive. Multi-year
contracts as well as other contractual obligations along with costly severance clauses
and lengthy, as well as all too public, litigation may cause trustees, especially in less
affluent institutions, to wait until the end of senior administrators' contracts. The
consequences of not waiting can be seen in examples such was as the former president
of Wayne County Community College in Detroit, Dr. Reggie Wilson, who won a wrongful
dismissal lawsuit against the Wayne County Trustee Board. In speaking of his case,
Wilson added that community college presidents are even more apt to be subject to
disagreements with boards and local politicians than leaders of other public institutions.
Expensive lawsuits now have to be considered when governing boards want to remove
presidents (Angelo, 2010; Mission Viejo Dispatch.com, 2010).
Among the choices that have to be made is whether keeping the executive is
more detrimental to the welfare of the institution than spending money that could go to
more educationally related expenditures such as additional faculty, new programs, or
student services. A recent on-line article from the Lexington Harold - Leader was
headlined "UK trustees told presidential search could cost up to 200K" (Patton, 2010).
That amount does not seem like wild speculation considering that 10 years previously
the University of Kentucky had spent almost exactly that amount to hire their currently
outgoing president. Such factors have to be considered even though the administrators
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Howells, Constance L. A Quantitative Study of the Presidential Search Process and Position Longevity in Community Colleges, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103329/m1/13/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .