NMU Trustees Keep Interim President

At a special board meeting of the NMU Board of Trustees this afternoon, the board members decided that the interim president appointed last week is still the interim president.

Last Thursday, David Haynes was named interim president after Dr. Les Wong resigned.

But the days since that original appointment have been somewhat controversial.

The vote to keep Haynes as the interim president came after a long and heated discussion between the board members.

Some of them voiced displeasure about the speed with which Wong was replaced and about the lack of eligible candidates to succeed him.

The 35 people in attendance, including close to a dozen faculty members, left the meeting as the board went into a closed session.

After reopening the meeting, the board had the final vote on the new interim president.

The next scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees is in July.

The board will vote on Haynes’s contract at that time, including whether or not there will be a specific length of time for his appointment.

What follows is the May 15, 2012 NMU press release on Haynes’ appointment:

​MARQUETTE, Mich.—The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees voted 6-2 in favor of officially seating David Haynes as the university’s interim president at a special meeting this afternoon. Terms of the contract, including salary and duration, were not part of the motion. They will be made public and voted upon at the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, July 12.

​“David Haynes is the ideal person to step in as interim,” said Trustee Rick Popp before the roll-call vote. “He knows the business and operating challenges of the university. He also knows the Michigan legislature and the personnel moves we’re trying to make progress on. He’s up to speed and as interim will be able to step in and keep us moving forward—not just holding steady, but making progress.

“One concern I do want to raise is that we need to have a plan for the reporting relationship within the organization relative to Martha Haynes, [vice president of advancement]. She’s wonderful and will continue to do a great job, but there are ways organizationally you can ensure there’s no conflict of interest or that you don’t put others in an awkward position because a husband and wife hold leadership roles.”

​Trustees Stephen Adamini and Gilbert Ziegler cast the two dissenting votes. Both stressed the need for more deliberation.

“What’s the hurry?” said Ziegler. “We haven’t gone out and used the process of looking for an interim president. I think we really need to do more vetting and have more discussion. What we’re doing shouldn’t be taken lightly. Something’s not right. We don’t need to rush to judgment.”

Trustees Stephen Gulis Jr. and Garn Lewis countered that the board would be doing a disservice if it did not quickly name someone to provide leadership on key initiatives already in progress.

“We need to take care of the [athletic director] and provost hires, the university’s branding effort, enrollment and retention and the ongoing labor negotiations,” said Lewis. “We would be remiss in letting these wait.”

In one other action item, trustees unanimously approved the resignation of Les Wong, who has accepted the presidency of San Francisco State University.

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