Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
April 10, 2012 Issue
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Democrat File Photo

Nick Speranza, left, has succeeded Phyllis Coombe, right, as chairman of the Sullivan County Community College Board.

Coombe passes SCCC torch to Speranza

By Dan Hust
LOCH SHELDRAKE — After five years helming the Sullivan County Community College Board, Grahamsville resident Phyllis Coombe has ended her tenure as board chair.
Last Thursday, at Coombe’s insistence, the board voted for a new chairman, selecting Nick Speranza of Glen Spey, who works at Granite Associates in Ferndale.
“During the past five years, the needs of this volunteer position have often dominated my life,” she told her board colleagues Thursday, “and now seems to be the right time to let someone else lead the board, especially as my term as trustee will end in 2013.”
“Someone else needs to get up to speed,” Coombe elaborated in an interview yesterday.
Each board member serves a seven-year term after being appointed by the governor, and Coombe said she wanted to ensure continuity after her term ends. (Board members Bob Ernst and Joan Farrow, for example, saw their terms end in June, though they continue to serve until Governor Andrew Cuomo appoints replacements.)
Speranza and Coombe have become very visible figures at Sullivan County Legislature meetings, battling with county officials over the college’s budget and cuts thereto.
She’s proudest of expanding the nursing program, instituting the green tech offerings and partnerships with other colleges, and seeing the NJCAA Division III basketball championship be hosted by SCCC.
“I think under my leadership we continue to implement programs that lead to employment which will pay a living wage,” Coombe explained. “... And we have continued to keep the doors open and the lights on.”
She added that she remains on the board – elected vice chair on Thursday, in fact.
“My support for this college remains unconditional,” she remarked, grateful for those who support her as well, “and I will continue to do whatever I can to ensure that it survives to serve the educational needs of our community far into the future.”

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