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Flake will assist new head of York as paid consultant

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"I'm there to serve her," said Flake, referring to the new president, longtime City University of New York administrator Marcia Keizs. "I want her in the best position to succeed."Keizs took over last month after her predecessor, Robert Hampton, was asked by CUNY to resign after 18 months in office, ostensibly because he did not move quickly enough with changes sought by those in the area with influence and did not develop a connection with the community, according to insiders. After Hampton's departure, former Borough President Claire Shulman and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) pushed for Flake to fill the post, but the minister ultimately did not seek the job because he already runs Jamaica's Greater Allen Cathedral and Ohio's Wilberforce University. During discussions with CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein , however, Flake said the administrator told him there was concern about a new leader securing community support and suggested the consulting post. Before Hampton, York had gone through a series of presidents."I don't want to see that happen again," Flake said in an interview Tuesday. The former U.S. representative will be charged with developing connections with area businesses and serving as a liaison to the community, the university said, citing his reputation for leadership and getting projects completed. Flake will be paid $25,000 from unspecified private funding.Responding to the move, Keizs said, "this will reinvigorate York College's outreach. I see it both fast-tracking and strengthening our relations." While some community leaders wanted an outsider to guide the school in order to shake things up, Keizs has said her knowledge of the CUNY system will help her move quickly. She has also said she wants to strengthen academics, increase enrollment and improve student retention at York.Flake said the community was particularly interested in fully utilizing links between the university and a U.S. Food and Drug Administration lab on campus as well as to nearby Kennedy Airport and a Federal Aviation Administration office. But he asked other leaders to be patient with Keizs as it appeared she also needed to restructure the university. "Fixing is a time-consuming process," he said.Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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