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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Johnnie Byrd on Institute future



Former House Speaker Johnnie Byrd of Plant City didn't say much for most of Monday night's Senate workshop on the future of the Alzheimer Institute he shepherded into being. He sat quietly as several USF leaders made their case for absorbing the institute into USF's medical school and associated health programs.

But speaking in the hallway outside the Hillsborough County school board room where Sens. Durell Peaden and Arthenia Joyner hosted the two-hour workshop, he made clear he doesn't want USF to "gobble up" the institute created in his father's memory.

He said he'd like the dean of USF medical school, Stephen Klasko, also act as head of the Institute so that the two entities can work together more effectively on research.

"But I don't know that the board of trustees for USF should be the board for the institute," Byrd said. "The internal dialogue is, do we want a contract with USF, a closer collaboration? But I don't think anybody wants to see the Institute just absorbed into USF."

Well, anyone except USF administrators, who would likely see their research dollar bragging rights rise with the Byrd Institute under their wing.

Peaden and Joyner just filed a shell bill last week that will revise the institute's governance and possibly its funding before the session is over. Let the lobbying begin.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:15pm]


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