At this week’s board of trustees meeting, an acting chair will lead the committee because of a mistake in calculating the former chair William Haines’ term, according to Nancy Pringle, vice president of legal affairs for Ithaca College.
In 2000, bylaws were enacted stating the chair of the board could serve a maximum of five years, Pringle said. Haines’ five-year term was completed in May 2006, but he was re-elected by the board
June 1. Currently, the acting chair is vice chair C. William Schwab.
Pringle, the board’s secretary, said the mistake was discovered in August 2006, and the college announced Haines was no longer chair.
“I totally lost track of the fact that he had already served for five years,” she said. “It was the first time the [bylaw] rule was going into play.”
Two months before Pringle discovered the mistake, the St. Petersburg Times reported in June that Haines, the founder and CEO of the Bromley Companies, faced a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit in April from former employee Josephine Vitale. Bromley Companies is a large national developer of real estate.
Haines and Vitale were scheduled to meet Jan. 26 in a settlement conference, according to the New York Post. According to the online court docket, there was no settlement agreed upon and the lawsuit is still pending.
Calls to reach Haines, Vitale and their respective attorneys were not returned by press time.
“The board is aware of [the lawsuit] and very strongly agreed that it was his personal business,” Pringle said.
Pringle said the committee considered amending the bylaws so Haines could continue as chair. Haines decided against this since he had helped establish the bylaws, Pringle said. Haines was elected chair emeritus in October.