I believe the election of college trustees by the General Assembly is as out of date and flawed as any function our Legislature performs. The recent election to various institutions of higher learning clearly points out a system where the victory goes to sitting members’ relatives or one willing to go to the Statehouse for a year of groveling.
The current process is demeaning to both citizens who offer their talent and legislators who would prefer spending their time addressing other issues confronting the state.
Sadly the institutions are sometimes the real losers.
I was part of this process for six years, and I regret not attempting to do anything about it. I am proud to say I took a position that I would not vote for any sitting legislator who ran for a judgeship.
I believe it is time to take some similar action for the boards of trustees and similar entities. It seems to me several changes can be made that would make the selection process more objective:
1) All stakeholders should be involved in providing a list of qualifications, similar to a job description. I do not know of any position in state government that allows for a hire unless minimum qualifications are met.
This could be an online application with a point system used to grade each applicant. To be clear, all the institutions presently subjected to the whims of the General Assembly election process deserve to have candidates meet the qualifications of those specific institutions.
This would reduce the amount of time one would need to spend in Columbia and eliminate the subjective methodology now used by the General Assembly. It would also help those in the General Assembly spend their time on issues more important to the state as a whole.
2) I believe term limits should be adopted.
Some say no family member should be allowed to run as it gives an unfair advantage. I do not share that opinion entirely, as good board members have come from within. However, those members had prior experience and dedication.
Family related or not, however, I do believe everyone should be judged by a set of rigorous criteria that are formulated with the assistance of each of the institutions.
I am calling on the local legislative delegation to lead in this change.