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Oneida County Executive proposes merger between MVCC and HCCC

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) --  Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente put a bold proposal on the table at his State of the County speech Tuesday.

He's suggesting a merger between two local community colleges, Mohawk Valley Community College and Herkimer College.

"A merger of MVCC and HCCC would show not only our boldness of thought, but our disregard to the notion of the impossible. At the very least we owe it to our tax payers, our constituents and our students to see if it can work," said Picente.

Herkimer and Oneida Counties are already partners in many ways- they share a water authority, a solid waste authority and participate in two-county planning. When it comes to further consolidation, Picente says no area should be considered off limits.

The colleges are only about 15 miles apart, and offer similar courses, and Picente believes intersecting interests should be met with an intersecting approach.

At this time, Herkimer College is also searching for a new president. Picente is suggesting to use this time to search for a new model as well.

Chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature Vincent Bono commended Picente's proposal.

"We may be able to start with sharing a president- something as simple as that is the start and then from there we can build on that. And again we need a catalyst and Anthony's been very good we talked about it a few months ago and I told him our doors are open and we're willing to do that," said Bono.

Bono did say there would be many obstacles and questions to consider- such as merging curricula, unions and examining the debt that would be incurred. But, he said this is the right discussion to be having and says they should also consider consolidating other facets of county government such as public safety and department of public works.

Still no word on how the respective colleges feel about the idea.

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