The Board of Trustees consists of ten members who are appointed in compliance with Section 6306 of the New York State Education Law. BOT has the responsibility of periodically reviewing and evaluating the policies and procedures of the College and amend where appropriate.
There are ten members of the Board of Trustees. One is elected by the students to serve as their representative for a one-year term. Five are appointed by the Rockland County Legislature to serve a five-year term. Four are appointed by the Governor to serve a seven-year term.
Mr. Martin C. Wortendyke was reappointed in July 2013 to the Rockland Community College Board of Trustees by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to serve a second seven-year term ending in June 2020. He was originally appointed in July 2006. Mr. Wortendyke served as Board Vice Chair from 2010-2014 and was elected as Board Chair in September 2014, September 2016 and again in September 2018.
A Rockland County native, Mr. Wortendyke is widely recognized for his strong commitment and benevolence to the Rockland community. He is a member of the Helen Hayes Hospital Board of Visitors and Vice Chairman of the Architectural Review Board for the Village of Upper Nyack. He has been honored by several local organizations including Nyack, Helen Hayes and Good Samaritan hospitals, Camp Venture, Boy Scouts of America, and the Center for Safety and Change.
In partnership with his brothers, Mr. Wortendyke founded Cal Mart Enterprises Inc. in 1972. The Congers-based company is one of the largest and most successful construction firms in Rockland, with extended business interests in the car wash, climate-controlled storage and real estate industries.
Mr. Wortendyke lives in Upper Nyack with Elizabeth, his wife of more than 30 years. They have a daughter, Krista.
Mr. Joseph Rand was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in September 2013 to serve on the RCC Board of Trustees for a seven-year term expiring in September 2020. He replaced Richard Kohlhausen, whose term expired June 30, 2013. Mr. Rand is currently Vice Chair and previously served as Board Vice Chair from 2014-2016.
Rand is a member of a well-known family in the Rockland business community. He is a managing partner and general counsel for New City-based Howard Hanna | Rand Realty, the largest real estate company in the Hudson Valley. As general counsel, Rand represents the company, its 100-plus employees and 800 independently contracted agents.
“I am deeply honored to be given this opportunity to work with Dr. Wood and my fellow trustees,” said Rand. “I believe that RCC is one of Rockland’s best assets, and I’m looking forward to doing what I can to help it fulfill its mission for its students, faculty, and the general community.”
Mrs. Ileana Eckert was appointed by the Rockland County Legislature to the RCC Board of Trustees on December 3, 2015. She was appointed to finish the uncompleted term of Dr. Penny Jennings, who resigned to focus on her professional responsibilities. In July 2018 she was reappointed to a second full term that expires in June 2023.
Eckert has served as superintendent of the North Rockland Central School District since 2009, following tenures in the district as a teacher, department coordinator, director of secondary education, assistant principal and assistant and deputy superintendent. She got a head start on her college education by taking 12 credits over two semesters at RCC while still a senior at North Rockland High School. She was able to earn an undergraduate degree in three years, from St. Thomas Aquinas. She also holds a master’s from Kean College and a professional diploma from SUNY New Paltz.
The RCC Board appointment is an extension of the work Eckert and her predecessors have done in fostering close ties with the College. North Rockland High School currently offers more than 10 college-level courses to its students through RCC and uses the College’s Haverstraw campus as a summer school location.
“I am excited to bring a K through 12 perspective to the College,” said Eckert, of Garnerville. “I have great respect for the RCC Board and administration, and a very good relationship with Dr. Cliff Wood. I expect the collaboration between North Rockland and the College to become even stronger.”
Eckert and her husband, Peter, have two grown children and two granddaughters and are deeply involved in community activities. Eckert is active with the North Rockland Rotary, Haverstraw Police Athletic League, and numerous professional associations in education.
The Rockland County Legislature appointed MariEllyn Dykstra-Donnellan in July 2013 to serve on the RCC Board of Trustees for a five-year term, expiring in June 2018. She was reappointed to a second full term, expiring in June 2023. Dykstra-Donnellan is a familiar figure in Rockland and has devoted almost 30 years to her family’s business, Schweizer & Dykstra Beautiful Flowers in Pearl River Ridge, including the past 20 as owner.
Dykstra-Donnellan has staunchly supported numerous community causes. She is past president and a current board member of the Spring Valley Rotary, and former assistant governor and currently membership chair for the Rotary district encompassing Rockland. As a member of the Rockland Business Association, she received an RBA Pinnacle Award in 2011 for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in Business. She was a member of the 2014 class of Leadership Rockland and used her experience and local knowledge to further promote positive change in the county. Dykstra-Donnellan, of Valley Cottage, earned a BS in education from Cortland State University, SUNY, and an MS in exercise physiology from Long Island University. Her son, James, took advantage of RCC’s transfer agreement with Purchase College, SUNY, to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Purchase in 2012.
Lynne S. Hilowitz, Esq., was appointed by the Rockland County Legislature to complete the term vacated by Richard Voigt, ending June 30, 2020. She has been practicing law in New York since 1981 and is a graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. She is also admitted to practice in New Jersey and Florida. Her focus is estate planning and estate taxation, probate, and litigation regarding trust and estate matters.
Ms. Hilowitz is a former President of the Rockland County Bar Association and continues to serve as chair of its Surrogate’s Court and Estate Planning Committee. She is past President of the Estate Planning Council of Rockland County, Inc. and currently serves on its Board of Directors.
She is the author of numerous articles in New York State, Rockland County, and American Bar Association publications, and has been featured in articles appearing in various media in the areas of trusts, wills, estates, and estate taxation. She also is a former Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s 4,000-member General Practice Section, its 9th Judicial District Representative, and is currently Co-Chair of its Trusts and Estates Law Committee.
Ms. Hilowitz has been a guest on webinars, teleconferences, and radio programs, and has lectured extensively for attorneys at bar association seminars, as well as for other disciplines and the public at various civic and professional functions.
Ms. Susan Oelkers-Ramos, a Stony Point businesswoman, was appointed by Governor George E. Pataki in January 2004 to serve as a member of the SUNY Rockland Community College Board of Trustees for a term to expire on June 30, 2010, as successor to Mr. Isidro Cancel. She was reappointed in July 2010 for a term to expire in June 2017. Ms. Oelkers-Ramos is the sole proprietor of Environmental Construction of Stony Point, a position she has held since 1988. Originally from Manhattan, Ms. Oelkers-Ramos earned her General Education Diploma and attended classes at SUNY Rockland.
Ms. Ramos has served the community in many capacities. She recently donated time and equipment towards the restoration of Nyack’s Memorial Park, and was responsible for the renovations to Emanuel Welder Park in Monsey. She was a 2003 recipient of Partner for Growth award from Orange & Rockland Utilities and belongs to the Lions Club of Stony Point.
Helping RCC students enroll in college, attain their degrees and find meaningful careers are the top priorities for Grant Valentine, the Community Outreach Liaison to the College’s Board of Trustees. The Rockland County Legislature appointed Valentine in February 2015 to serve the remainder of the five-year term of the late Dr. Sonya Shapiro, who died in May 2014. He was reappointed in July 2016. The term expires June 30, 2020.
Valentine brings a wealth of experience in government relations, criminal justice and education to his Board duties. During a 30-year career with the New York State Division of Parole, he rose to Assistant Director of Operations and Director of Strategic Planning, and has played an integral role in shaping public safety re-entry standards for the state.
At RCC, Valentine has assisted with various events for African American History Month. As Chairman of the Edmund and Susan Gordon Upper Charter School, President of the CEJJES Partnership and a member of the Rockland Youth Advisory Board, he has strongly advocated for expanding students’ opportunities for academic advancement.
“The retention rate for students is very important, to have the ability not just to enter college but to complete college,” Valentine said. “I believe we have an obligation to provide RCC students the financial and emotional support to help them be successful as they mature. I want to help the younger generation have the opportunities I was afforded.”
Valentine, a New York City native, earned BS degrees in Social Work and Biology from Queens College, CUNY, and an EJD from Concord Law School, which allows him to hold any law position not requiring bar admission. In the political arena, he twice ran unsuccessfully for the New York State Senate and is a Trustee for the Village of Chestnut Ridge. Valentine lives in Chestnut Ridge with his wife, Linda, and has four children and four grandchildren.
Elana L. Yeger, Esq., was appointed by the Rockland County Legislature to complete the term vacated by Mendel Taub, ending June 30, 2025. Ms. Yeger attended Binghamton University, a State of New York (“SUNY”) college, so she understands both the educational and fiscal value of a public college education. She then attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating in 1995. Unlike many of her colleagues there who pursued careers at large law firms and major corporations, Ms. Yeger has devoted her entire legal career to public service.
Ms. Yeger began her career in the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office. When she made the decision to move her family from New York City to Rockland County, she left for a job in the NYC Corporation Counsel. She later worked in the Ramapo Town Attorney’s Office and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office before accepting the invitation to serve as Senior Legislative Counsel to the Rockland County Legislature.
Ms. Yeger holds a keen interest in RCC, as her two older children have attended RCC and her youngest child plans to enroll there as early as this summer.
Ms. Yeger constantly fields phone calls for legal advice and/or representation from organizations that serve children at risk in Rockland County. Many of these young adults have ended up attending RCC to advance their personal goals and to become productive members of society. Ms. Yeger is proud of her children, those she has helped, and all RCC students. She is also proud that Rockland has RCC to help its residents achieve their goals. She looks forward to assisting RCC to accomplish just that.
Rafhilene Frias-Sanchez is a first-generation student at Rockland Community College. She came to RCC as an early admit student from Ramapo High School. Rafhilene is pursuing two degrees, Business and Administration and in Humanities and Social Science, through the Sam Draper Honors Program. She was elected to serve as the Student Trustee of Rockland Community College in 2021 and was reelected by the student body to serve a second term this year. Rafhilene also served as part of the ACCT Student Trustee Advisory Committee and attended the ACCT Conference on behalf of RCC in 2021. On campus, she is very involved as the Student Ambassador of Rockland Community College and as a board member for various clubs.
Meeting Calendar and By-Laws
Workshop Meetings – 5:00 pm
Board Meetings – 5:30 pm
Meetings are in the Student Union, Room 3214
Monday, September 19, 2022
Monday, October 24, 2022
Monday, November 14, 2022
Monday, December 12, 2022
Monday, January 23, 2023
Monday, February 27, 2023
Monday, March 27, 2023
Monday, April 24, 2023
Monday, May 22, 2023
Monday, June 26, 2023
First Adopted by Board of Trustees: April 21, 1960
Last Amended by Board of Trustees: September 27, 2018
- ARTICLE I NAME OF THE COLLEGE AND LOCATION
- ARTICLE II SPONSORSHIP OF THE COLLEGE AND AUTHORIZATION OF THE BOARD
- ARTICLE III COMPOSITION OF BOARD OF TRUSTEES
- ARTICLE IV RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
- ARTICLE V RESPONSIBILITIES AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE INDIVIDUAL TRUSTEE
- ARTICLE VI MEETINGS
- ARTICLE VII QUORUM AND VOTING
- ARTICLE VIII ELECTED OFFICERS
- ARTICLE IX STANDING COMMITTEES
- ARTICLE X CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- ARTICLE XI INDEMNIFICATION
- ARTICLE XII AMENDMENT AND SUSPENSION OF BY-LAWS
- ARTICLE XIII REPEAL OF PREVIOUS BY-LAWS
- ARTICLE XIV PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES
NAME OF THE COLLEGE AND LOCATION
The official name of the College shall be:
ROCKLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
145 College Road, Suffern, NY 10901
SPONSORSHIP OF THE COLLEGE AND AUTHORIZATION OF THE BOARD
The College is sponsored by the County of Rockland and operating and administered by the Rockland Community College Board of Trustees pursuant to New York State Education Law.
COMPOSITION OF BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees consists of ten members in compliance with Section 6306 of the New York State Education Law. (Appendix I)
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees of Rockland Community College as the policy-making body has the responsibility to review periodically and evaluate the policies and procedures of the college and amend where appropriate.
The duties and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees of Rockland Community College are set forth in New York State Education Law, section 6306, subdivisions 2 through 8-a (Appendix I) and 8NYCRR, section 604.2 (Appendix II).
RESPONSIBILITIES AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE INDIVIDUAL TRUSTEE
It is the responsibility of individual Trustees:
- To act as a body through resolution and no trustee can act or bind the college;
- To refer immediately to the office of the President for consideration and possible action any important inquiries or complaints that are raised directly with an individual Trustee regarding the operation of the College;
- To attend all Board Meetings. If a board member is absent three (3) or more consecutive board meetings Public Officers Law, section 30, paragraph 3 will be invoked. (Appendix III) If a member is going to be absent, it is his/her responsibility to notify the Chair of his/her absence and will be noted as excused in the minutes.
The meeting schedule for the Board of Trustees will be as follows:
- The Annual meeting will be held at the September meeting
- All meeting agendas will be determined by the Board Chair in consultation with the President and will include trustee suggestions.
- Regular meetings shall be held at a place in the county to be decided upon by the Board.
- Adjourned meetings may be adjourned by majority vote held as the business of the Board requires. At the time of adjournment, the date, time, and place of the continuation of the meeting shall be determined and announced.
- Executive sessions of the Board may be called to discuss specific personnel matters, contract negotiations, litigation and other matters consistent with the Public Officers Law, Article 7, section 105 (Appendix IV). Public Bodies may vote during properly convened executive session; any vote to appropriate public monies must be taken in public.
- The Board may change the dates, times, and places of any regular meetings provided at least one week notice is given to all Trustees, the President of Rockland Community College, other agencies and media as required by the New York State Open Meetings Law.
- In accordance with the New York State Open Meetings Law, members of the Board of Trustees may consult by phone, but the Board of Trustees cannot validly conduct meetings, vote or make determination by telephone or e-mail.
- The Board of Trustees may request a representative from another agency or group to serve as a participant to the Board of Trustees. Such a participant may be invited by the Chairperson Per Se of the Board to attend public meetings and executive session meetings of the Board of Trustees and to participate in discussions and to present materials, upon request. Such a participant, however, does not have a vote on the Board of Trustees.
The Board shall hold regular Workshop Meetings as the Committee of the Whole. The Workshop agenda will be determined by the Board Chair and the President. The Workshops will give in-depth information on College programs, curriculum review, policy proposals, etc. The Workshops will be attended by all Trustees and chaired by the Board of Trustees Chairperson or his/her designee. The Board may change the dates, time, and places of any future Workshop meetings provided at least one week notice is given to all Trustees, the President of Rockland Community College, other agencies and media as required.
The Board shall hold special meetings upon the call of the Chairperson or upon the call of three voting members, provided, however, that written notice or telephone notice directed to each trustee’s home or business address of such meeting shall be given not less than 48 hours in advance of such meeting and shall state the matters to be considered. Only if an emergency meeting is called, is less than forty-eight hours notice allowed. No matters shall be considered at said meeting except those stated in the notice unless the members of the Board of Trustees present at such meeting, by majority vote, decide to consider other matters.
Notice of Time and Place of Meetings
A notice of the hour and place of all meetings shall be communicated in writing to every Board member at least seven (7) days prior to such meeting. Such notice shall identify the matter or matters to be presented to the Board for its consideration at the meeting.
QUORUM AND VOTING
A majority of the members of the Board of Trustees shall constitute a quorum, but in no event shall less than six trustees constitute a quorum. Six affirmative votes are necessary for approval of any formal Board action.
The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, and Community Outreach Liaison will be deemed the Elected Officers of the Board of Trustees.
Voting and Election
At the annual meeting, the Board of Trustees shall elect a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, a Secretary, and a Community Outreach Liaison by majority vote of the Trustees. The Elected Officers will perform such duties as listed in this Article and as may be delegated or required pursuant to law. All Elected Officers can vote at all times.
Term of Office
All officers shall be elected for a two (2) year term at the annual meeting. In the event of a vacancy in an officer’s position, a special vote will be held at the next scheduled meeting of the Board to fill the vacancy by majority vote (six out of 10 Board members).
Duties of the Chairperson
The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Trustees and serves ex-officio on all committees of the Board.
The Chairperson is the official public sole spokesperson for the Board.
The Chairperson shall have a vote at any time and be counted in Quorum.
The Board Chairperson shall appoint Trustees to all standing, special and Ad Hoc Committees of the Board and designate the Chairperson of such Committee unless otherwise determined by the Board of Trustees. The Chairperson shall appoint such Ad Hoc Committees as may be necessary. Such Committees shall be terminated at the completion of their appointed task and/or their work is accepted by the Board. The Chairperson shall coordinate all Board activities. The Chairperson shall represent the interests of the Board in working with the President and shall be the designated Board member to work in an official capacity with the President. It is the duty of the Chair with consultation with the Board to provide an evaluation of the President as per the President’s contract.
Duties of the Vice-Chairperson
The Vice-Chairperson shall perform the duties of the Chairperson in the absence of the Chairperson and other duties delegated by the Board Chairperson.
Duties of the Secretary
The Secretary shall be responsible for assuring the proper and accurate recording of all minutes of all meetings of the Board of Trustees. The Secretary shall review the minutes for accuracy and content. The Secretary shall also see to the security of all minutes, records, files and documents of the Board. The Secretary with the aid of the President will enlist a member of the administrative staff to aid in the performance of these duties.
The Secretary shall review meeting notices, meeting agenda and the previous Board meeting’s minutes prior to transmitting to each Board of Trustees member, as per Public Officers Law (Appendix III), seven (7) days in advance of the next meeting. The Secretary shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the Board Chairperson.
Duties of the Community Outreach Liaison
The Community Outreach Liaison shall be responsible for ensuring that the College is appropriately represented within the community, as well as in College lobbying efforts, and will recommend from time to time ways in which the College can better be integrated with community interests.
The standing committee of the Board of Trustees shall be
The Audit Committee shall consist of three (3) to four (4) Trustees with the Chief Financial Officer as an advisor. The Audit Committee shall receive and examine the audit of the College finances and make such recommendations as it may deem appropriate. The committee shall meet as necessary and furnish to the Board of Trustees minutes of their committee meetings.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
A trustee shall be considered to have a conflict of interest if (a) such Trustee has or appears to have existing or potential financial or other interests which impair or might reasonably appear to impair such member’s independent, unbiased judgment in the discharge of his or her responsibilities to the College, or (b) such Trustee is aware that a member of his or her family (which for purposes of this paragraph shall be a spouse, parent, siblings, children, partner and any other relative if the latter resides in the same household as the Trustee), or any organization in which such Trustee (or member of his or her family) is an officer, director, employee, member, partner, trustee, or controlling stockholder, has such existing or potential financial or other interest. All Trustees shall disclose to the Board any possible conflict of interest at the earliest practicable time. No Trustee shall vote on any matter, under consideration at a Board or committee meeting, in which such Trustee has a conflict of interest. The minutes of such meeting shall reflect that a disclosure was made and that the Trustee having a conflict of interest abstained from voting. Any Trustee, who is uncertain whether a conflict of interest may exist in any matter, may request the Board of Trustees to resolve the questions by majority vote.
The Board of Trustees shall comply with all applicable state or local laws dealing with conflicts of interest, including Sections 800-808 of the General Municipal Law and the County Code of Ethics.
The Board of Trustees will adopt procedures to identify as early as possible all interests of individual Trustees which may conflict with their obligations as Trustees and require Trustees to announce potential conflicts of interest with respect to any matter being considered by the Board of Trustees as soon as possible so that appropriate action may be taken to avoid problems.
Indemnification is provided to Board members pursuant to Section 6308 of the Education Law. (Appendix I)
AMENDMENT AND SUSPENSION OF BY-LAWS
The By-Laws may be suspended at any meeting of the Board, for specific purpose by an eight-member vote of the Board.
An amendment to the By-Laws may be adopted by a majority of the members of the Board (six out of 10 members) at any regular or special meeting of the Board succeeding the meeting at which it was proposed. Thereafter copies of the proposed amendment must be mailed to each member of the Board of Trustees at least ten (10) calendar days before it is voted upon, together with a statement of the name of the introducer and with a notice of the date, time and place of the meeting at which it is to be acted upon. Such prior notice may be waived if all members of the Board of Trustees consent thereto at or prior to such meeting and said written waiver shall be appended to the minutes of said meeting.
REPEAL OF PREVIOUS BY-LAWS
The By-Laws of the Board of Trustees in effect at the time of the adoption of these By-Laws are repealed and these By-Laws shall be effective on and from the date the same are adopted.
The Board shall be governed in its procedure by parliamentary rules and usage as set forth in Roberts’ Rules of Order newly revised, except as otherwise provided by New York State Law.