After 31 years, is Carl Kuttler ready to leave behind his job as president of St. Petersburg College? To be chancellor of the state Board of Governors?
"There's a very, very small chance that I would, and I wouldn't totally close the door," Kuttler said Thursday, "but I would say at this point that my decision would be not to submit any paperwork."
Kuttler, 69, says three or four people approached him in recent weeks about applying for the job as chief executive of Florida's university system. Former chancellor Mark Rosenberg left the Board of Governors last month to return to Florida International University. University of North Florida president John Delaney holds the interim job, but says he isn't interested in applying for the permanent position.
Board of Governors member J. Stanley Marshall says a mutual friend told him to expect a call from Kuttler to talk about the job opening. But he never got one.
Other board members reached by the Times/Herald said they had not heard Kuttler's name brought up for the position. Board chairwoman Sheila McDevitt, for one, wanted to know if Kuttler was interested.
"He's done a good job there," she said, adding, "this job requires a lot of skill sets, and I don't know him well enough to know whether he fits all those or not."
Board member Carolyn Roberts chairs the 14-person search committee and touts an "open, national" process with help from Dallas firm R. William Funk & Associates. Ads run in trade publications put March 31 as an application deadline, but board members say they'll take their time to find the right candidate to manage 11 universities, more than 360,000 faculty members, staffers and students, and a budget of more than $8.5 billion.
Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island, is a vice president at St. Petersburg College and has been friends with Kuttler and his wife for a long time. He was caught "flat-footed" by the news that Kuttler has considered the move.
"I would say that if that's something that he felt that he would like to pursue, then certainly no one knows postsecondary education any better than him in Florida," said Jones. "From a selfish standpoint, I would hate to see him leave."
Kuttler says he's "not really" thinking about leaving St. Petersburg College, but "when you've served as long as I have, there are many opportunities."
To this one, he says: "I haven't said I would never put it (an application) in, but 'probably not' is the way I answered."
Times political editor Adam C. Smith and researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Amy Hollyfield can be reached at (850) 224-7263 or email@example.com.