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Full-time administrator or consultant? He’s both at BCC

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

SPECIAL REPORT : To register for a next week’s symposium at Bergen Community College, you must buy a book written by Dennis Miller. No, not the comedian. This Miller is BCC’s vice-president of administrative services, with direct links to vendors who could pay the $60 registration fee and, at the very least get a copy of the book in return.

Dennis C. Miller of BCC

You may remember Miller for reasons other than next week’s “Engaging the Community to Make a Difference.”

Before landing the Bergen job, he was president and CEO of Somerset Medical Center in Somerville — the hospital that employed serial killer Charles Cullen, who admitted snuffing 13 patients and trying to kill two others.

Cullen, who worked for 16 years as a nurse in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, didn’t become a suspect until two suspicious patient deaths at Somerset were reported to outside investigators in October 2003. Critics say that’s because Miller kept the initial investigation internal. In the interim, Cullen killed five more patients.

Miller, a former Woodcliff Lake resident who had been at Somerset Medical Center for five years, quickly left after Cullen was arrested, citing personal reasons. He eventually surfaced at BCC, where he oversees the budget of one of the nation’s largest community colleges.

Cullen wasn’t the only black mark on Miller’s resume. A short time earlier, the state fined Somerset Medical $1 million for closing its psychiatric ward. The hospital also had to settle complaints out of court accusing Miller of sexual harassment, according to published reports.

BCC employees have to put the use of any materials used in a course that they profit from (textbooks they’ve authored, for example) through a panel of department heads and faculty before these can be used, staff members told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . However, neither they nor the website can find proof that Miller cleared the move with anyone.

Miller has ties to BCC President Jerry Ryan, who worked with him at the Alman Group. Even though he’s been a full-time employee at the college the past two years, Miller also has maintained a consulting business: Dennis C. Miller Associates in Morristown (He lives in Denville now).

Under U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, several of the recent federal prosecutions out of Bergen County have involved consulting firms established by those with political and governmental connections — including people in full-time county-related jobs who moonlighted elsewhere.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the federal scrutiny recently given the Bergen County Improvement Authority amid a mortgage fraud scandal could extend to the college: Of $50 million worth of bonds sold during the improvement authority’s biggest year, more than half went toward the purchase of a building for BCC in the Meadowlands.

The chairman and former commissioner of the BCIA at the time was Ronald J. O’Malley, who was recently name in a a 68-count federal mortgage fraud indictment returned against him and a partner of his Ridgewood firm.

It’s not clear whether Miller the full-time college administrator or Miller the consultant will be conducting the seminar titled “Does Your Board Need a Therapist?” during next week’s symposium. He is expected to draw heavily on the book that all of the attendees must end up carrying: His “Nonprofit Board Therapist: A Guide to Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential.”

College officials couldn’t immediately be reached to determine where the registration profits are targeted to go.

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