SCCC trustee Gavan resigns
Chairman is second of three members with ties to engineering firm to step down
NEWTON — Sussex Community College Trustee Glen Gavan has resigned amid scrutiny over the college's relationship with a Sparta-based engineering firm.
Gavan, the board's chairman, sent in his letter of resignation to the college, which made the announcement on Friday.
“After much thought and agonizing over this decision for some time, I have concluded that my ability to serve as chair and even a board member has been irreparably harmed. I am very proud and honored to have been a part of this group of volunteers. I am extremely proud of all the good work and positive accomplishments during my tenure. The college must always be the priority," Gavan said in the release.
Gavan held one of eight appointed position on the 11-member board. He joined the board in 2008 and served as chair since 2012, according to the college.
His resignation follows a report to the board this week by the Saiber law firm, which was hired by the college to investigate the bid process for a $2.88 million renovation of the student center as well a $451,200 contract with CP Engineers for drawing up the plans and overseeing the construction.
Gavan had voted to bring the firm on as engineers for the college last year. One month after the vote, he became the firm's attorney, according to the report by Saiber.
Gavan subsequently abstained from votes involving CP Engineers, though he chaired the meetings in which contracts were discussed. Two abstentions he made now require a re-vote for contracts with CP Engineers because a quorum did not exist for the votes, according to Saiber attorney William Maderer.
The president of the college, Dr. Paul Mazur said that he understood Gavan's decision, according to the release.
“Glenn Gavan truly cares about SCCC. With the ongoing distractions from our good work and mission, Glenn understands that his resignation will help the College move forward with this important project that was undertaken to better serve our students,” Mazur said.
Earlier this month, former trustee Glen Vetrano also stepped down due to his ties with CP Engineers. Vetrano said he had been paid working as a consultant for the firm.
Another board trustee, Edward Leppert, has disclosed that his payroll company was being paid $2,000 a year by CP Engineers for payroll processing. Leppert said he has also been approached by the firm to do accounting work a few months ago, though no contract has been signed.
Leppert has called the $2,000 a "minor" amount of money and said he was not directly involved in the procurement of the contract. He has voted to approve contracts with CP Engineers since last year.
CP Engineers has received more than $800,000 worth of contracts from the college since last year for planning and design work.
The investigation by Maderer showed that the college board's award of the $2.88 million contract to Echelon Services followed state law but also unearthed new conflicts of interest. The attorney for Echelon Services, John Ursin, is also the attorney for the college.
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