The Medical University of South Carolina Board of Trustees has wisely decided to vote a second time to choose the school's next president - this time in public.

The move was requested by Board Chairman Tom Stephenson in response to criticism of last month's vote by secret ballot over the phone.

He does not anticipate that the outcome - selecting MUSC Department of Surgery chairman David Cole - will change.

But the re-do will allow the public to see how public business is handled.

The Board of Trustees received legal advice prior to the telephone vote that it would be acceptable. And although he is requesting the public vote at Thursday's meeting, Mr. Stephenson maintains the board acted lawfully.

But S.C. Press Association attorney Jay Bender said the vote was contrary to the letter and spirit of the S.C. Freedom of Information Act. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how trustees chosen by the state Legislature to direct a state-owned university could elect a state-employed president without the full knowledge of taxpayers.

In the secret vote, 10 members chose Dr. Cole and seven voted for Dr. Joanne Conroy, chief health care officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges. If Dr. Cole is to assume the position, it is only fair to him that he begin his tenure without questions and doubts resulting from the phone ballot.

The board is to be commended for ultimately doing the right thing. And it would be prudent for members to assure the public that they intend to be transparent in all their business as trustees.