Wor-Wic president Ray Hoy declines Delaware post

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Less than two weeks after being offered the job, Wor-Wic Community College President Dr. Ray Hoy announced Thursday that he has turned down the presidency of the four-campus Delaware Technical & Community College.

“I have informed the boards of Delaware Technical Community College and Wor-Wic Community College, that after much personal deliberation, I have decided to decline the offer to become the next president of Delaware Tech,” Hoy said in a statement Thursday.

Hoy did not say exactly where final negotiations devolved, but it is known that his leaving was lamented within the Wor-Wic campus community and another internal candidate had been a favorite for the Delaware post.

“The Delaware public meetings law led to a process where the board had to make a public selection and announcement before candid conversations, expectations, and agreements could be developed with the selected candidate,” Hoy said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we were unable to reach consensus on the terms of employment.

“I regret the disruption that this has caused both institutions,” he said.

The Delaware school’s leadership has been subject to public critiquing in recent years. Dr. Orlando J. George Jr., a former Wilmington city councilman and Delaware General Assembly leader, had served as president until his retirement in June.

George made headlines last year when it was revealed that he was the state’s highest-paid employee, making nearly $470,000 a year.

Hoy’s 2010 bases salary was $217,400, ranking him fifth among Maryland’s 16 community college presidents.

Hoy was the surprise choice of the Del-Tech board, which backed his hiring in a 5-2 vote. When the decision was announced, board chairman Mark Stellini lauded Hoy’s “inherent understanding of and commitment to the mission of these institutions” and predicted Hoy’s “breadth and depth of leadership experiences will serve him and the college well as he leads the institution in the future.”

Speculation within Delaware’s political circles was that the school’s interim president, Dr. Mark Brainard, was being groomed to succeed George. Brainard was the No. 2 figure at the institution, having been named last year to an executive vice president position was pundits said was created for him.

Brainard is well-connected in Delaware political circles. For six years he served as chief of staff to then-Gov. Ruth Ann Minner. Brainard was a player in 2006 episode that drew public attention when he helped craft a lease of state property land to Christopher Tigani, a Minner friend and supporter.

A liquor business executive, Tigani later pleaded guilty to federal felonies involving campaign-finance fraud and tax evasion.

George had essentially backed Brainard’s elevation, saying in a 2013 letter to the trustees: “If the board believes that the college is on the right track, that it is well-positioned and well-respected, and that the goal is to continue the direction in which it is currently headed, then I would argue in favor of a successor who is well-known in the Delaware community, who knows and understands the Delaware Tech culture, and who can make a smooth transition in

leadership.”

Given that Hoy’s academic and legislative experience was in Maryland, the Wor-Wic president’s hiring would have been a departure from George’s advice to Del-Tech leaders.

In a special meeting July 9, Del-Tech’s board chose Hoy from among 20 candidates, including Brainard.

Hoy would have been only the fifth president in Del-Tech’s history, He is just the second president of Wor-Wic, having been elevated to that position in July 2000.

Hoy previously spent 24 years at Chesapeake College in Maryland, where he held numerous positions including; executive vice president /chief academic and chief administrative officer, administrative vice president, dean of student development and director of admissions and registration.

When initially announcing his move to Delaware, Hoy said a daughter and grandchildren living in the Dover area played an important personal role in the decision.

“I reached this decision with the total support of my family,” Hoy said in his statement. “Through this process and the introspection that takes place when one contemplates such an important change, I have come to realize that I belong here.  As I emphasized when I wrote to you about my decision to participate in this search, I continue to be committed to the success of Wor-Wic.”

Hoy said his decision ensures that he will remain at Wor-Wic and continue his role with energy and enthusiasm

“I am sure this raises questions with you regarding my status at Wor-Wic,” he said. “I have spoken individually with each Wor-Wic Board member and they have all welcomed me in my continuing role at the college.”

Hoy also said a meeting scheduled Friday regarding his status has been canceled.

“One of the reasons that the Wor-Wic Board did not meet last Thursday in the Special Session was because I had not yet submitted a letter of resignation. Without that to act upon, there was no reason for them to meet,” he said.

Hoy lives in Salisbury with his wife, Donna. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

Hoy concluded: “This has already been enough of a distraction. I’d like to put this behind us, and with your help and support, focus on moving Wor-Wic forward. I promise that you, our students and the college, have my complete attention and dedication.”

Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at gbassett@newszap.com

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