Tuition, fees and redundant jobs will be among the targets of scrutiny as the newly appointed chancellor of Baltimore County's three community colleges sets out to boost the system's efficiency and financial strength.
Standing before politicians and the press in his first local public appearance, Daniel J. LaVista, the first chancellor of the colleges, said he plans to eliminate wasteful spending. "I suspect that will be the opening volley of our work."
Dr. LaVista, for the past eight years president of the College of Lake County's two campuses outside Chicago, is to assume leadership of the county's 70,000-student community college system in September.
He was in Towson Monday for a ceremony designed to introduce him to reporters -- and to show the Ruppersberger administration's support for the "tri-college system" uniting Essex, Dundalk and Catonsville community colleges. The event drew the presidents of the three colleges; hopeful, if wary, college administrators; and county and state elected officials.
Robert J. Kemmery Jr., chairman of the local colleges' board of trustees, noted Dr. LaVista's triumphs in obtaining money from the Illinois Legislature, and added, to laughter, "Please listen, delegates and senators."
He added, "This day signals a new era for the community colleges of Baltimore County. It will no longer be business as usual."
County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III said, "We're talking teamwork here. Instead of having each institution doing their own thing, they'll be working together."
Dr. LaVista, 51, was appointed last month to the $130,000-a-year position of chancellor of the Community Colleges of Baltimore County. He will oversee Maryland's largest community college system and its $76 million budget.
The search for a chancellor began late last year, after a consultant recommended consolidating the schools' administration to end duplication of academic programs and to save money on administrative costs at a time when budgets are not keeping pace with growing enrollment. The new order may make it easier for students at one county community college to earn credits at another county school, Mr. Kemmery said
He said officials are seeking office space in Towson for Dr. LaVista, a move designed to avoid feelings of favoritism that might arise if the chancellor were to be stationed at any of the three campuses. Among Dr. LaVista's first tasks will be hiring a new president for Dundalk Community College.