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Governor sacks college board trustees across the state

College and university boards feel impact of retractions.

A decision by Gov. Ron DeSantis to retract numerous appointments made by previous Gov. Rick Scott leaves many college boards suddenly undermanned.

Included in the list are numerous trustees to state universities and state and community colleges.

The withdrawn appointments include six trustees at state universities, including three from New College of Florida. It could mean a new chair of a Jacksonville community college just as the school embarks on a search for a new president.

Some appointments started just days ago. Others were reappointments for those with years of service. But all now will need an appointment from the new governor, regardless of their standing with the former one.

Karen Bowling, chair of the Florida State College at Jacksonville trustees board, served on her board for eight years. She’s the first graduate of the college to ever lead the trustees. She also was just appointed to a new term, but that’s now rescinded.

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She learned of DeSantis’ decision Friday and hasn’t decided whether to reapply with the new governor.

“I think he has every right to appoint who he wants to appoint,” she said. “It’s not unexpected, and until he decided what he wants to do, I’ll just keep working.”

Since she held her seat already, she likely will remain until DeSantis makes a new appointment. She would like to serve through the board’s next meeting on April 9, when a search firm comes back with names for a potential new college president.

The Jacksonville college has nine members on its board of trustees, five of whom just had their appointments retracted. So Bowling would like to see some of those individuals kept on for the sake of continuity.

There’s been tension over appointments ever since Scott issued a flurry of appointments in January, days before he was set to leave office.

But DeSantis ultimately called back a number of appointments made well before he was elected to the governor’s mansion.

New College of Florida trustee Garin Hoover saw his appointment retracted as well, but learned of it only after Florida Politics reported the news Saturday morning.

The un-appointment caught Hoover off guard, largely because he’d been appointed to his position in June, well before DeSantis was elected.

“I was aware of this issue, but I didn’t think it applied to me,” he said.

New College of Florida President Donal O’Shea said the appointments caught him off guard. Trustees meet this week, and O’Shea just hopes for a quick resolution to any issues.

“We look forward to working with Governor Desantis and his appointments office to fill the vacancies as soon as possible,” O’Shea said.

Other education-related appointments retraced by DeSantis include:

Florida Gulf Coast University, trustee Ashely Coone

New College of Florida, three trustees, Mark Aesch, Felipe Colon and Garin Hoover

University of West Florida, two trustees, Alonzie Scott and Jill Singer

Broward College, trustee Matthew Caldwell

College of Central Florida, trustee Randall Ewers

Daytona State College, two trustees, Garry Lubi, Anne Cogges Patterson

Eastern Florida State College, two trustees, Bruce Deardoff, Edgar Allan Figueroa

Florida Gateway College, three trustees, Lindsey Lander, James Surrency, Miguel Tepedino

Florida Keys Community College, trustee David Leben

Florida South Western State College, six trustees, Michael Boose, Christian Cunningham, Jonathan Martin, Danny Nix, Laura Perry, Julia Richmon du Plooy

Florida State College at Jacksonville, five trustees, Karen Bowling, J. Palmer Clarkson, Laura DiBella, Candace Holloway, Orrin Wayne Young

Indian River State College, trustee Anthony George

Lake-Sumter State College, two trustee, Jennifer Hooten, Emily Lee

State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, three trustees, Jaymie Carter, John Home, Rodney Thomson

Miami Dade College, four trustees, Susan Amat, Benjamin Leon, Rolando Montoya, Juan Zapata

North Florida Community College, three trustees, Sandra Haas, David Howell, Alton Williams

Northwest Florida State College, five trustees, Ann Flynt, Fox Reynold Henderson, Lori Kelley, Donald Paul Litke, Thomas Wright

Palm Beach State College, two trustees, Darcy Davis, Phillip Ward

Pasco-Hernando State College, six trustees, Raymond Gadd, David Garcia, Alvaro Hernandez, Lee Maggard, John Mitten, Robin Schneider

Pensacola State College, trustee Wendell Smith

Polk State College, five trustees, Ashley Bell Barnett, Daniel Dorrell, Gregory Littleton, Teresa Martinez, Mark Turner

Saint Johns River State College, five trustees Robert Crum, Wendell Davis, Leslie Dougher, Samuel Paul Garrison, James Reid

Santa Fe College, three trustees, Caridad Estevez Lee, Jeffrey Oody, Robert Lee Woody

Seminole State College, two trustees, Tina Calderone, Daniel O’Keefe

Tallahassee Community College, two trustees, Eugene Lamb, Eric Grant

Valencia State College, three trustees, Daisy Lopez-Cid, Raymer Maguire, Beth Smith

Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, three trustees, Christine Chapman, Ralph Hadley, Christopher Wagner

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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