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SUNY Fredonia president search updated

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford SUNY Fredonia College Council chairman Frank Pagano, center, speaks during the group’s meeting Wednesday. At left is SUNY Fredonia’s interim president, Dennis Hefner.

SUNY Fredonia is close to hiring a search firm that will find its new president, College Council Chairman Frank Pagano said Wednesday.

“I can tell you it’s going well. …. We’re kind of working undercover,” Pagano told the council at its meeting Wednesday. He said he traveled to Albany a few weeks ago to consult with SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson and three of her vice chancellors about the search, and at his suggestion, he appointed a committee to oversee the search. Pagano is chair of that committee.

Interim President Dennis Hefner said SUNY Fredonia received responses from 13 firms that specialize in recruiting job candidates, “and we scaled it down to a group of finalists.” SUNY officials asked him not to reveal the number of finalists in that group, he added.

Pagano said SUNY Fredonia officials will pick the search firm after meeting by teleconference Friday with the finalists. After that, “the search committee will be meeting on a regular schedule to work with the search firm to get candidates and start screening them out,” he said.

There is no timetable set for the process — but Hefner said, ideally, a permanent president will be in place by next summer. Hefner’s employment contract runs until July 2020, Pagano said.

“This is what Albany calls a confidential search,” Pagano added, meaning the candidates’ names will not be publicly available. He explained that he asked state officials to allow it, and somewhat to his surprise, they did. His reasoning is that employment candidates who enter an open search and lose out on the job can get in trouble with their current employers.

“There will be some closed meetings with the candidates involving different (campus) groups,” Hefner said.

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