1. Opinion

A new, steady hand at the Poly tiller

In office barely a month, USF Polytechnic interim chancellor David Touchton has proved to be a good choice to bring some supervision and fiscal responsibility to the Lakeland campus. Touchton has reversed the cavalier, free-spending ways of his predecessor, Marshall Goodman, saving USF Poly about $1 million by eliminating pie-in-the-sky programs while pursuing other campus efficiencies. Touchton's leadership is paving the way for a more stable academic environment as the campus moves forward to meet benchmarks to become an independent state university.

University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft removed Goodman, who frittered away $10,000 in public money on life-sized Star Wars statues and acted as if USF Poly had gained its independence. Her choice of Touchton without seeking input from the Board of Governors irritated some of the members of that board, but her selection has so far proved to be sound.

Since December, Touchton has quickly moved to suspend Goodman's dubious efforts to expand USF Poly's reach into France, Asia and Latin America and eliminated several global administrative posts. The chancellor also produced a USF Poly promotional video for $25,000, far less than the $500,000 budget envisioned by Goodman.

Any takers for the Star Wars figures?