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FSCJ board approves president stepping down

5:30 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With a vote of 8-1, the Florida State College at Jacksonville Board of Trustees signed off on President Steven Wallace's proposal that he serve as president to the end of this year, but be retained on staff through June 30, 2014.

Trustee Douglas Burnett cast the dissenting vote. Attorney Kevin Hyde, who represented the board, explained that Dr. Wallace would be paid nearly $1.2 million in salary and benefits through June of 2014.

"I propose to work full time," said Wallace during his opening remarks, outlining his proposal that trustees learned about shortly after midnight.

"I have a lot of gas left in the tank. I want to want to work and want to serve the institution," said Wallace. 

This past May, Wallace was offered a four-year contract extension. The Board was told that Wallace would have been entitled to $2.2 million for that entire contract.

Wallace has been at the helm of the college for the past 15 years. Wallace proposed during the special meeting of the Board of Trustees Tuesday that he would be willing to step down as president of FSCJ.

Wallace proposed serving until the end of this year, but be on staff for the following 18 months.

Burnett who voiced opposition to the plan said he would prefer that Wallace make a clean exit from the college instead of being retained for a consulting type role.

"I know of no case where the outgoing leader continues to occupy a position, undefined, while the incoming person comes aboard.  It is simply not done," said Burnett.

Other trustees took exception to that view, saying it is not uncommon. 

The college had drawn the attention of Gov. Rick Scott. Scott encouraged the board to do a review of leadership at the school.

A recent outside study identified numerous problems, including travel and leadership structure. In June, Wallace and District Board of Trustees Chairman Jim McCollum announced that an audit showed too many financial aid appeals were granted without proper documentation, costing the school $2.5 million.

Also among the school's recent issues were changes in financial aid also affecting how FSCJ vocational students received their aid, and the school had to grant short-term loans to several of those students.

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