Does it really take 22 people to pare 45 applicants to six to present to Daytona State College's trustees in choosing a new president?

Photo for Headline Surfer® / Former Florida House Speaker T.K. Wetherell leads a search committee of 22 people that is charged with paring 42 applicants to six for presentment to the Daytona State College Board of Trustees, which will choose the next president.
 
Sally Gillies / Headline Surfer®By SALLY GILLIES
Always Right
Headline Surfer®

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Excessive is the way to describe the number of people on the search committee to choose a new president for Daytona State College: 22. And of those members, 15 are directly tied to the college either as an employee or board member.

Come Friday, they are expected to squeeze into a room to begin the arduous task of choosing a new president, akin to the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation. The product is education. And like a corporation, Daytona State College is an institution that rises and falls on the quality of instruction as students decide where to spend their education dollars.

The committee is chaired by consultant T. K. Wetherell, better known as the Democratic speaker of the Florida House during the latter two years of his 12 years as a state representative. He had a six-year run as president of Florida State University before his 2009 retirement. From 1995 to 2001, he was president of Tallahassee Community College.

One might think the search committee led by Wetherell would be comprised of people with similar qualifications or top level executives from large companies and perhaps a professor or staff member and a member of the community.

But that is not the case here, which begs the question: How were the search members chosen and who chose them?

It's an understatement in reiterating the number of search committee members appears to be excessive. The names are listed at the bottom of this column.

An examination of colleges in Florida that recently engaged in a search for a new president turned up three of interest: The College of Central Florida chose 13 people for their 2010 search committee. Northwest Florida State College had 14 members in their 2011 search, and Hillsboro College had 15 members for its search committee.

Hillsboro College's annual budget is $215 million. That's more than twice as larger as DSC's, but its committee was half as large.

Given that 15 of the 22 members of the DSC search committee are with the college, the Board of Trustees should rethink who serves on the committee in light of the problems surrounding the former president.

As you may recall, Kent Sharples' forced retirement came with a $1 million-plus golden parachute last November in the wake of the American Music Festival Fiasco that cost the taxpayers nearly $1.8 million, in which the college acted as a bank. Without the knowledge of his own board, Sharples authorized nearly $1.8 million to the Community Cultural Foundation for the failed fiasco produced by promoter Manuel Bornia. The college is still owed nearly $1.5 million.

Kent Sharples / Headline Surfer®As you may recall, Kent Sharples' forced retirement came with a $1 million-plus golden parachute last November in the wake of the American Music Festival Fiasco that cost the taxpayers nearly $1.8 million, in which the college acted as a bank. Without the knowledge of his own board, Sharples, shown here in this Headline Surfer photo, authorized nearly $1.8 million to the Community Cultural Foundation for the failed fiasco produced by promoter Manuel Bornia. The college is still owed nearly $1.5 million.

The recent report from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission recommended that the College enact procedures to protect the Board from outside influences. But the makeup of the search committee is so heavily weighted with faculty and staff that it raises questions about influence from the inside as well. It is quite possible that at least some of these members are friends of Sharples.

The best solution is for the college trustees to go back to square one and rebuild the search committee with people who have no dog in the hunt in order to rid the school of the influence of the former administration.

Historically, one member of the selection committee should be the college's faculty senate president and he alone should act as the faculty representative. One member should be a former trustee, which the committee already has in the person of Sallie Gillespie.

As in most committees, the chair should remain neutral as the entire board reviews the candidates for president and narrows the list of 42 prospects to a half dozen to present to the Daytona State College Board of Trustees.

Florida has unique policies regarding education financing. Each year K-12 schools and all public colleges request funds from the same state account. Yet, this search committee has no member who understands the legislative process of applying for this money or how to fund the facilities.

Paul Gianini, former president of Valencia Community College serving Orange and Osceola Counties, applied to be a member of Daytona State College’s Board of Trustees. He might have also been interested in serving on this committee had he been asked.

In the best interests of Daytona State College and the community, the trustees should remove all the staff and faculty and introduce search committee members with the attributes and experience to find the very best candidate available.

Daytona State College’s Board of Trustees meets 2 p.m. today. It might be a good time to ask some questions about the selection process used by the college.

Here is the list:
T.K. Wetherell, Consultant for presidential search, chair, 
Richard Grego, AA Philosophy, Faculty Senate President, Co Vice Chair, DSC Faculty
Noah McKinnon, Attorney-Flagler County, Co Vice Chair, Community 
Assoc. Professor Gabriele Booth, Math, New Smyrna Beach Campus, Member DSC Faculty
Nicole Brown, Student Government Association President, Member DSC Staff
Pamela Carbiener, Physician, Member Community
Job Clement, Equal Opportunity & Provost/New Smyrna Beach Campus, Member DSC Staff
Shana Gartlan Deyo, BAS, Member DSC Faculty
Sally Gillespie, Businesswoman/former DSC Trustee-South Volusia/DSC Foundation Board Member, Community member
Dr. Mary Goetteman, Nursing, Member DSC Faculty
Professor Yvonne Green, Adult Education, Member DSC Faculty
Lori Lemoine, Career Employee Association President, Member DSC Staff
Marc Bernier, Special Assistant to the President for Community and Government Relation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 
Vickie Melton, DeLand Campus, Member DSC Staff
Reginald Moore, Attorney/Community Activist, Member Community
Richard Pastor, Registrar, Member DSC Staff
Assoc. Professor Anindya Paul, AS Computer Science, Member DSC Faculty
Susan Schandel VP Finance, NASCAR, Member Community
Janet Sledge, Administrators Council President, Member DSC Staff
Harun Thomas, AA English, Member DSC Faculty
Hector Valle, Professional, Council President, Member DSC Staff
Cory Walker, CFO, Brown & Brown, Member Community
 
Editor's Note: Noah McKinnon is the lead plaintiff for the Bert Fish Foundation in its successful suit invalidating the hospital merger between Adventist Health System and Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach. The case remains before the court. Marc Bernier is host of the "Marc Bernier Show" on AM radio station WNDB 1150 in Daytona Beach. 
 
© 2011 Sally Gillies / NSBNews LLC 
 
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Always Right by Sally Gillies Sally Gillies of Ormond Beach, an accomplished book author, is a community blogger, who also has her own political website, SallyGillies.net. The blog, "Always Right" (and its contents), is the sole copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, and cannot be reproduced, copied or published in whole or in part elsewhere without the prior expressed written permission of the publisher. NSBNews.net, VolusiaNews.net and HeadlineSurfer.com are owned by NSB News LLC. All three domains fall under the umbrella of Headline Surfer, a registered trademark.