Monday, May 21, 2018
Politics

FSU presidential search consultant Bill Funk abruptly resigns

TALLAHASSEE — Just days after Florida State University faculty said they lost confidence in the man hired to help the school find a new president, search consultant Bill Funk abruptly resigned.

Funk walked away from a job where he had increasingly taken heat, especially after recommending the presidential search be suspended so Republican state Sen. John Thrasher could receive sole consideration. News of his resignation Monday is the latest twist in an increasingly messy process that is bringing embarrassment to the university.

Funk turned down a Times/Herald request for comment, and his two-sentence letter gives no indication why he resigned. Search committee chairman Ed Burr released a statement saying Funk's withdrawal was "disappointing" but would not derail the process.

"Mr. Funk felt he could no longer make the kind of contribution to the search that the university deserves," Burr said. "… We remain committed to conducting a thorough, open and transparent search of the highest quality and integrity for the next president of Florida State University."

Funk, founder of a Dallas-based firm that bears his name, is one of the leading higher education headhunters in the nation. He led the 2002 search that resulted in FSU hiring T.K. Wetherell as president and more recently helped Florida Polytechnic University and Ohio State University find new leaders.

The FSU search committee hired Funk in March to help find a replacement for Eric Barron, who resigned to become president at Pennsylvania State University. Funk's contract was worth up to $75,000, plus expenses. He had been paid approximately $61,000 to date, which includes fees and reimbursable costs.

Funk had faced criticism from faculty and left-leaning student groups since May 21, when he told the search committee it should interview Thrasher before vetting additional applicants for the presidency. Funk said widespread rumors that Thrasher had the inside track on the job were keeping other highly qualified candidates from applying.

A divided search committee agreed to move forward with Funk's recommendation. Last week, Burr made his own surprise announcement and said he no longer thought Thrasher's presence deterred good candidates.

The catalyst was Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston saying he was interested in the job.

Burr canceled Thrasher's interview, planned for Wednesday, though the search committee still agreed to meet to discuss next steps. Now, that discussion will include selecting a new consultant.

Faculty Union president Jennifer Proffitt said Funk's resignation provides FSU the opportunity to "reset the search."

"We hope that this brings us another step closer to the fair and open process that we have been advocating for," she said.

Tia Mitchell can be reached at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Comments
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18
Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

To: The Honorable Gov. Rick ScottDear Governor,It has come to my attention that your administration has recently made some, dare I say, innovative hires for important government positions in the months before you leave office.At the risk of sounding ...
Published: 05/14/18