Frederick Community College has made a change at the top for the second time in less than a year, working to formalize a financial agreement for the departure of the school’s first black president who took office in July.
Doug Browning, the school’s vice president for administration, was named to immediately replace Frederico Talley as president on Jan. 3, according to statement from the college.
The reason for Talley’s departure was not addressed in the school’s statement, nor could he be reached for comment..
FCC spokesman Mike Pritchard said he couldn’t offer any specifics on why Talley left because it was “a personnel matter” between the outgoing president and the Frederick Community College Board of Trustees.
The terms of Talley’s departure were also still being decided, Pritchard said Tuesday.
Talley was introduced as FCC’s first black president in March, and his term officially began on July 1.
His $180,000-a-year position came with a three-year contract.
Under the terms of that contract, if Talley were dismissed for “just cause” — such as negligent performance, a violation of the contract, serious violations of any law, misuse of funds or prolonged unexcused absence — he would not be entitled to any compensation.
Board member Doris White also declined comment on the details of Talley’s departure but cited “extenuating circumstances” in the seven-member board’s decision to make a change during a special meeting on Jan. 3.
“Things change, you have to do what you think is right,” said White, offering no further elaboration.
White, who has been on the board for more than 13 years, said she couldn’t remember a similar instance to Talley’s early departure.
C. Paul Smith, vice president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners and the liaison to the FCC board, said he didn’t know the reason for the change, which came as a surprise to him.
He praised Talley’s replacement as being capable and personable.
Browning will serve as president through June 30, 2014.
His salary and contract were also still being determined Tuesday, Pritchard said.
Browning said Monday that he wanted to work with the community to make sure the school continues to meet the needs of both students who take courses for credit and those who don’t.
The search for a new president would likely begin within the next six to nine months, with the goal of having someone prepared to step in when he retires in 2014, Browning said.
Walt Smith, executive director of risk management and public services, will be taking over Browning’s position, Pritchard said.
Browning already served for about a year as interim president of FCC during the search for a replacement after former President Carol Eaton left the school in June of 2011.
He said he was happy to return to his job as vice president of administration after being interim president and had planned to stay there until he retired but the board asked him to take over for Talley.
Before coming to FCC, Browning was Frederick County’s county manager and director of finance, as well as having worked for Worcester and Montgomery county governments.
At FCC’s student center at the campus on Opossumtown Pike in Frederick on Monday, few students were even aware of Talley’s departure.
Nikki Lunn of Frederick said she didn’t think the change in leadership would have a significant effect on the student body.
The only thing that would affect them would be tuition increases, Lunn said.
Erika Ramos of Frederick said the lack of awareness about Talley’s departure was interesting because the school had just sought feedback from students at the end of the last semester about ways to improve the sharing of information.
Several students said they hadn’t gotten emails or other announcements from the school telling them of Talley’s departure, although it was posted on the school’s website.
The leader of the school’s Faculty Senate did not return several calls for comment.
Prior to joining FCC, Talley had been a faculty member at Ohio’s Northwest State Community College and a founding dean of the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity.
Most recently, he had been vice president and dean of the College of Southern Maryland’s Leonardtown campus before coming to FCC.
FCC has more than 6,100 students enrolled in courses for credit in the fall 2012 semester, according to its website.
The school also provides courses for those looking to further their educations.
The board of trustees voted in June to raise tuition 2.8 percent, to $109 per credit hour, for the fall semester.
Frederick County provided 29 percent of the school’s $47.7 million fiscal 2013 budget, while the state covered 21 percent. The remainder comes from tuition fees.