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Board of Governors makes trustee decisions

TAMPA BAY, Florida - A day after interviewing 10 finalists for the new Board of Trustees at Florida Polytechnic University (FPU) in Lakeland, a Board of Governors (BOG) committee made its appointments Thursday.

Committee chair Mori Hosseini suggested making just four of the board's five appointments right now, while leaving one seat open so the board can first see what Governor Scott does with his six appointments.  Once assembled, the Board of Trustees - even if not at full strength - can begin the process of hiring a university president.

Hosseini recommended former New England College president Sandra Featherman, Polk St. College attorney Don Wilson, Air Force veteran & aerospace analyst Richard Hallion, and former BOG member Frank Martin.

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: 10 News' Coverage of USF/Florida Poly

Board of Governors member John Temple asked Hosseini if he had any concern over perceived ties between Hallion and incoming Senate President Don Gaetz.  Gaetz, R-Niceville, was a close ally to State Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, during the USF/Polytechnic controversy.

But none of the other BOG members had indicated they had heard of such a potential conflict.

"I have received many phone calls," Hosseini said of the trustee search.  "I have lost friendships because of it.  And I can honestly tell you, I have never received a call from Senator Gaetz.

"We did not detect any political calls...we truly paid attention to the quality of the people (to) make sure they were qualified, make sure they were willing to give the time, and make sure they were willing to do the work."

Featherman receives a five-year term on the FPU board, Martin receives a three-year term, and both Hallion and Wilson receive two-year terms.

Other trustee candidates on the BOG's finalist list - some of whom may still be considered by Gov. Scott - include Tampa business consultant Daphne Ullman, engineer Robert Scaringe, Polk City Councilor Trudy Block, FPL executive Richard Shaheen, engineer John Hendricks, and Polk Co. Commissioner Bob English.

Though the trustees' positions can't be officially confirmed until the Legislature returns for session in 2013, they have immediate decision-making power for the new university.

As first reported by 10 News, Governor Scott has already started interviewing candidates for his six nominations, including at least one with a possible conflict of interest.  In addition to the BOG's one remaining appointment, the final members of the 13-person board of trustees will come from one student representative and one faculty representative.

Connect with 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook at www.facebook.com/noahpransky or Twitter at www.twitter.com/noahpransky.  Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.


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