August 6, 2007

NCCC Profs are in the $$$$

How about the article in Sunday's paper about salaries at NCCC. I've always had a lot of respect for the college, but these salaries seem way out of whack. We all argue about high taxes, but until public employee salaries are brought into line, things will never get better.

NCCC SALARIES: The faculty earns top dollar

By Jill Terreri/
Niagara Gazette

Niagara County Community College pays its professors on average 14 percent more than their peers around the state and its administrators 15 percent less, a Niagara Gazette analysis has found. In addition, salaries for professors and program directors are greater than those earned by the top earners in county government.

The college president said the high wages are a result of union contracts which require a fixed number of promotions every year. The president of the union that represents teachers, librarians and counselors — 17 of whom earn salaries over $100,000 — said his members have worked at the college for a long time and the students benefit from that experience.

“I’d like to think we’re better than the other community colleges in the state,” said Faculty Association President Joseph Colosi, noting the college’s reputation and graduation rate. “I think it’s a product of a quality faculty.”

Go here for the full article:


Clemenza said...

Typical Niagara County. And now the rocket scientists that are Clyde Burmaster and Dennis Virtuoso think that putting the former head of the NCCC faculty on the Board of Trustees are the college is a good idea. Gee, I wonder if he'll be advocating for giving his friends more pay and benefits?

At least Dennis and Clyde prove stupidity can be bi-partisan.

cg466 said...

Yes sir this is the Harvard of Niagara County.Mensa all the way.
I am sure Beermister and Virtuosran have degrees from this prestige university. I hear the ROTC program is equal to West Point.

Vintage said...

Great minds should not have to trouble themselves about mundane things like paying bills. I'm sure the taxpayers of the county and the state won't mind being the footstool of the intelligensia.

Let's free up the scholars so they write great books, define new theorems, and cure diseases. All of that is happening at NCCC... right?

Fed Up said...

I think NCCC provides a valuable public service and is very well-regarded for the quality education students get. I don't think that is the issue.

I think it's comes down to the same question of whether you're plowing the streets, processing social service claims, working in economic development or teaching at the college...given the tax base in Niagara County what is a fair wage to be paid for these services?

In the private sector, if the company has a bad year, there simply aren't raises. Yet public sector employees believe they are ENTITLED to regular increases, they their super genours benefit package should remain unchanged until they day they die and they believe that you should pay for it all.

They give zero consideration to taxpayers.

Pirate's Code said...

Like so many things in the Greater Niagara Newspapers, there was little or no perspective in this story. While I was surprised at the level of some salaries, the story did not tell me how long those individuals may have been employed, or what level of advanced degree they may have attained, or if the salary included anything beyond pay for teaching (like being a dept. head). How do these salaries compare with other community colleges -- Erie and Genesee are two similar institutions within shouting distance-- with whom NCCC competes for students and faculty? How about a comparison with Niagara U. faculty, just miles down the road? How is the contract between the school and its faculty structured? Are people paid solely on longevity, or is some level of performance evaluation also included?

The cost of higher education has become an enormous problem locally and nationally, to the point that it has become a barrier for many in lower income brackets.

We want quality education from these institutions, but we also want it to be affordable. A delicate balance, to be sure, but without perspective, arguing that someone is paid too much or too little is meaningless.

Stories like this serve no real purpose beyond journalistic voyeurism. "Gee, look at how much THESE people make." I'm all for shedding light on the cost of education but, please, give it some context and meaning.

As always, the GNN story left me with more questions than answers.

Clemenza said...


While I could concede your point about context of the article and the need for quality education, do you agree that putting Tony Gullo on the board, the former faculty chief, would be giving the fox the keys to the henhouse?

Scott Leffler said...

PC - we should be happy with the information that GNN got. In order to get answers to the type of questions you're asking, it would take so long that by the time they had answers, those people wouldn't work there anymore.

I would like some comparison, too. If not Niagara, then ECC or something. Just averages would make me happy.

You are right in calling it journalistic voyeurism, but that is - after all - what people are intersted in.

If nothing else, GNN gave us more information than we had previously ... and we can go forward from there if we wish.

One thing that frustrates me is the constant praise lavished on ANY public institution. I'm sorry, but I don't look at an NCCC associates degree and swoon. And I don't think anyone else does either. A two-year stint at N Trip is comparitive to ground chuck: Might be filling but not flashy. Let's not pretend it's filet mignon.

Pirate's Code said...

Clemenza -- If it is the board of trustees that negotiates and/or signs off on contracts with instructional staff then, yes, I would have issues with Gullo being part of that group.

Leffler -- This was lazy reporting. Maybe it was intended to start a discussion about the relative value of NCCC educators and their pay, but without any context, what exactly is the community to discuss? I know some of those professors make more than I do. Probably more than most residents of the county. And almost certainly more than average GNN reporter. But is that the sole determinent of being over- or under-paid? Sure, a more in-depth story may have taken longer, but so what? Was there some compelling reason to run that list NOW, as opposed to next week or next month? Maybe I missed it in the original story, but it appeared to be a list of salaries for the sake of listing salaries.

You want to talk value? Why is it my subscription to one of the Greater Niagara Newspapers costs just about the same as the Buffalo News, but I get so much less for it? (No offense meant to the staff of any of the papers.)

I agree with you regarding the level of hype from many of our institutions (including, frankly, the media). Again, perspective and context would help. N-Trip provides a valuable service and does so at a relatively reasonable price. Simply throwing out a list of salaries -- or throwing verbal bouqets from the other side -- neither supports or disproves the premise.

Larry Castellani said...

The comparison of NCCC with Harvard is of course absurd. But not because the quality of teaching and research at N-Trip is not in any way comparable to Harvard but because those who derogate education at N-Trip would have no idea what would constitute a Harvard education. For all that most of the nay-sayers know, N-Trip actually is the "Harvard" of Niagara County. If you sit in on my introductory philosophy classes at T-Trip you will be getting a "Harvard" eduation I promise. That is, what you would experience at Harvard is in no way better than what I do at NCCC. After receiving my Ph.D. at UB and over 20 years of experience in teaching I am quite prepared to give you the best first-year college experience possible. If you have the courage, take my course and you will be eating your words for disparaging the education at NCCC. In short, I earn and deserve every penny of my salary.