Many people on the very board which approved the retirement plan for Florida State College at Jacksonville President Steven Wallace are pending approval themselves.
“The Senate is responsible for making sure they are the right people, and we’re going to take a close look at that,” says State Senator John Thrasher.
The Governor appoints members of the District Board of Trustees, and the Senate then approves those appointments. Thrasher says he has already spoken with the Senate President to make sure a good review of each of the pending confirmations comes up this session.
“For whatever reason, they went too far in this particular thing given the circumstances in which they were acting upon. To me, the amount of money is excessive,” he says.
The tipping point for Thrasher, as well as Florida Governor Rick Scott, was the Board’s approval of a $1.2 million plan for College President Steven Wallace to step down as President at the end of this year and fully retire by June 2014. Thrasher told me he thinks the contract should be rescinded outright.
“I don’t think he’s obligated to stay on as a consultant, and there may be some other things that we need to look at,” he says.
Governor Scott has order an Inspector General’s investigation in to the finances of FSCJ, as well as the contracts and severance deals at all of the state’s colleges. While Scott did not say how long he expects the investigation to take, Thrasher believes he will have some results by the legislative session, and he plans on using that in this review of the trustees.
He says the bottom line is to make sure students know as much money as possible is being placed in the classroom, and that tax payers believe all the money the state is allocating to education is going to the right place. He looks forward to the opportunity to not just see that that happens, but prevent these problems from happening again.