The search committee to find a new Vice President for Finance and Administration finished the last of its three candidates’ campus visits on Friday March 1. The chosen candidate is planned to start on July 1.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration position originally became vacant after its occupant, James Milroy ‘81, officially announced his retirement in October 2017. President Denise Battles formed a search committee, chaired by former Vice President for Enrollment Management Meaghan Arena.
After the committee completed its search, Battles offered the position to former Executive Director of Campus Auxiliary Services Mark Scott. Scott accepted, but within a month he decided to depart Geneseo entirely for a position at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas.
The college started a new search committee for the 2018-2019 academic year, chaired by Assistant Provost for Finance and Facilities Enrico Johnson. The committee received a pool of 37 applicants, which they narrowed down to seven, according to Johnson. The seven candidates were granted an off-campus interview and the committee further decided on three finalists.
Since Geneseo has lacked a permanent Vice President for Finance and Administration since November 2017, Johnson said the committee has tried to expedite the process when possible.
Johnson highlighted the committee’s consideration of each of the candidates’ financial abilities.
“When we were deciding who we wanted for this position, we wanted someone with a proven financial record and exceptional financial skills,” Johnson said. “The college is at a point in its history where the president is focused on the financial health and sustainability of the college, so we added more weight to that … more than some of the other skills.”
The three finalists for the position came to campus to meet with various stakeholders as well as to attend open forums. On Feb. 22, Chief Financial Officer and Operations Director at Rochester’s Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School Todd Garnier spoke in the first open forum. Garnier underscored his ability to find solutions to problems over the course of his time as an administrator at different types of organizations.
Interim Chief Financial Officer at St. John’s Military School in Salina, Kan. Karen Tumlinson spoke at an open forum on Feb. 26 after a campus visit. Tumlinson emphasized her abilities to find unique ways for the college to increase its earnings through revenue opportunities like hosting conferences.
The final candidate, Executive Consultant at the Mitrano and Associates consulting firm Julie Buehler ‘89, came to campus for a Friday March 1 open forum. Buehler spoke about her own extensive connections to both the college at Geneseo and to Western New York in general.
Each of the candidates had experience with financial management at colleges. Johnson felt that their experience was a factor that elevated them above other candidates.
“We tried to open up the pool to more than just people who had higher [education] experience,” Johnson said. “I think that contributed to a lot of different types of folks who applied, but ultimately the people that we picked had higher [education] experience because a lot of people felt it was crucial … We felt at this point in time in the history of Geneseo, we need somebody who has had some higher [education] experience.”
The search committee is currently collecting the feedback from campus stakeholders who met with the candidates during their visits or who attended the open forum. They plan to provide that information, as well as the committee’s assessments of the candidates to Battles over the next two weeks. Battles will then choose to appoint whichever candidate she believes would fit best given the committee’s recommendation and her personal opinion.
Johnson felt that the candidates’ campus visits and performances at the open forum was able to assess campus opinion well.
“They meet an array of people when they’re here on campus from the President’s Cabinet to the College Council, students, community leaders … direct-reports,” Johnson said. “In that day-and-a-half, we have them meet as many people as we can, and everybody has their input.”
Since Aug. 21 Stephen Storck has served as the Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration. Storck replaced Richard Hurley, who held the interim position between Milroy and Scott’s departure.
Johnson emphasized that each of the candidates meshed well with Geneseo’s values as he understood them.
“I’m happy with the finalists we brought to campus and I hope the campus community is happy with those folks also,” Johnson said. “There is a fit for Geneseo among those three and hopefully we’ll make the right choice.”