Though Daniels appointed nine of the 14 trustees on the Ivy Tech Community College board, he didn't get what he wanted when the board picked a new president earlier this week.
Five of his appointees joined Thursday with five holdovers to elect Anderson businessman Thomas J. Snyder as the new college president.
Daniels had preferred Carol D'Amico, the college's executive vice president, with whom he has long ties. In fact, Snyder had been told by aides to Daniels that he wasn't the governor's choice.
After D'Amico was snubbed by the selection committee in a process that outraged some trustees, aides and others close to the governor quietly but persistently campaigned behind the scenes for a do-over. They were snubbed, too.
In the aftermath, Daniels declined an interview and gave no hint that there'd been any controversy at all in the statement he released.
In a separate story, the Star's Kevin O'Neal raises a question about the legality of the vote to approve Snyder for the job. He reports the Board actually took a vote in executive session before it returned to a public meeting to ratify its earlier vote in closed session. The Board's vote in the closed meeting was 10-4, while it was 10-3 in favor of Snyder in the open meeting. O'Neal writes:
The board of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana may have violated the state's open meetings law by voting twice to approve a new president -- once in executive session.
Trustee Kaye H. Whitehead said Friday that the board voted to approve Thomas J. Snyder as the new president of the community college system in both executive session and in the open, public session.
Steve Key, the general counsel of the Hoosier State Press Association, said that process probably was a violation of the state's open meetings law, which requires public boards to make their decisions in public.
"I'm not sure how they can justify the votes taken in executive session, when the law says final actions must be taken in public," Key said.
But because the executive session and public votes were nearly identical, Key thinks a court would be unlikely to throw out the decision.
For an even edgier take on the Board's decision, check out what fellow blogger Ruth Holladay is saying. She suggests the entire process was corrupted from the very beginning because of the handywork of retiring president Gerald Lamkin. Holladay writes:
Insiders say the process was corrupt from the beginning, with Ivy Tech prez Gerald Lamkin doing everything in his power to keep the post from going to respected educator Carol D'Amico. So twisted, in fact, was the behind-the-scenes maneuvering, that references D'Amico listed were never even contacted. The fix was in.
Why? Because D'Amico, hired by Lamkin and supposedly groomed to take his place, rocked the good-old-boys' boat too much. She was insistent on cleaning house in an educational system that has become far too political and is a shelter for incompetence. When key legislators are on the payroll as public relations speakers, etc., education is hardly the first priority. D'Amico would have made major changes, and Lampkin and Co. did not want that.
D'Amico reportedly has been getting supportive calls and emails from around the state, including feelers regarding other top college positions. One of those posts included the top job at Hanover College, which a headhunter had approached D'Amico about. (The job went last week to Sue DeWine of Marietta College in Ohio). A community college in Florida also has expressed an interest in hiring D'Amico.
But don't expect her to fold her tents and retreat. Lawyers are pursuing her cause regarding the process and the outcome. D'Amico has friends in high places as well, including the governor's office and the four trustees who refused to vote for Snyder.
Word is spreading about Lamkin and the type of operation he ran -- an annual vacation to Italy on the dime of the Ivy Tech Foundation, which he heads, as well as family vacations on the same account. Lamkin and his cronies showed their true colors by how D'Amico was treated as a job applicant. The story is not over yet.
From what Holladay is writing, one can assume D'Amico planned to put an end to hiring state lawmakers and other politically-connected persons for jobs at the community college system, which would have been a welcome change. It currently employs House Speaker Pat Bauer, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Crawford and Rep. Craig Fry, along with former Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Garton. Holladay's allegations about Lamkin's alleged misuse of college funds are very serious charges, if true.